Marley Parker on Her Signature Curls, Body Image, and Racial Identity

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

We got to talking about skincare, her signature curls, body positivity, and the consistent and unrelenting questioning of her racial identity. In true Gen- Z form, Parker spoke eloquently about each issue, offering her well-informed opinion plainly and without embellishment. Find her thoughts on confidence, beauty inspiration, and music below.

Products: Dior Glow Addict Edition: 5 Couleurs High Fidelity Colors & Effects Eyeshadow Palette in Thrill ($99); Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star 006 Ultraviolet Blue Eye Kit (not currently available) and Mthrshp Subversive La Vie En Rose Eyeshadow Palette ($65); It Cosmetics Tightline 3-in-1 Black Primer, Eyeliner, and Mascara ($24); Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm in Pink ($34), Addict Cooling Lipstick in White Splash (not currently available), and Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Hologram ($37); Nyx Slim Lip Liner Pencil in Dolly Pink ($5)

On blending different music genres—as well as makeup looks and techniques:

I'm inspired by a lot of my friends, people I meet every day, and my environment! I have a love for so many things, which forces me to find a way to connect and intertwine everything.

On how she thinks Rihanna is spearheading change in the beauty industry:

On her hair journey:

I used to hate my hair. I believe it stems from internalized racism. I wanted to have straight hair—most of my childhood idols had straight hair because of how whitewashed the media is.

I rarely wash my hair, as natural oils are really good for moisture. I started making my own hair products. I combine whipped shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, and black seed oil. This makes my hair so soft because it's all-natural and allows me to forgo supporting large corporations, as I buy the ingredients from small businesses.

Products: Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Cool Down (not currently available), Addict Lip Glow Color Reviving Lip Balm in Matte Pink ($34), and Addict Lip Maximizer Lip Gloss in Pool Blue (not currently available); Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon in Deja Blue ($25)

On questions targeted toward her racial identity:

Every day I deal with questions or comments about race—being racially ambiguous makes people question me and feel the need to assign me a racial category. People are weirdly always eager and intrigued to know my race, as if they can't feel comfortable to exist together or converse without knowing. Yes, colorism is extremely prevalent everywhere in all countries because most nonwhite people feel an extreme burden to look white or do things that our society deems as white. It's subconsciously ingrained in us whether we immediately recognize in ourselves or not.

On the body-positive movement:

The body-positive movement is great, but it needs to be more intersectional, like most activism nowadays. We ask ourselves why it feels like such a burden to exist if you are not skinny, straight, gender-conforming, cis, white, rich, hairless, trauma-free, able, etc.

On practicing self-care and keeping herself calm and grounded:

I meditate quite often—spending time completely away from your phone by yourself is vital. I practice self-care through mental consciousness. My anxiety got way better when I started pushing myself out of my toxic comfort zones, like doing the same things over and over again. Doing things that make you happy (even pushing yourself to leave the house) and taking healthy risks are great tools.

Products: Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow in Electrify ($62); Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Barrow Street ($218; Pat McGrath Labs Mthrshp Subversive La Vie En Rose Eyeshadow Palette ($65); Dior Fusion Long-Wear Mirror Shine Eyeshadow ($33)

On her favorite makeup and skincare products right now:

My favorite makeup right now is definitely Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar ($7). It's a super-pigmented and multiuse product. In terms of skincare, shea butter all day, every day. Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market on 116th St in New York City is a great location to buy from.

On what makes her feel most confident:

DJ'ing makes me confident. I really enjoy showing who I am in that way—people who haven't met me will hear my set, and it's like we're having an hour-long conversation. It constantly allows me to attract other artists, making me more connected, knowledgeable, and confident.

On her beauty icons:

Definitely Grace Jones, Fecal Matter, Sita Abellan, Aaliyah, and my best friend Pauli Cakes.

Production Credits: Photographer: Adrienne Raquel; Hairstylist: Jeanie Syfu; Makeup Artist: Alana Wright; Manicurist: Gracie J.; Stylist: Christine Nicholson; Model: Marley Parker with Muse Models

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