For Author Arielle Twist, Eyeliner is a Supply of Power and Expression
Welcome to My Story, our sequence devoted to creatives of color and their paths to success. By championing these various tales and backgrounds, we hope that our understanding of the cultural conversations round magnificence and vogue will develop and that respect for our variations will flourish.
Arielle Twist is a significant cat-eye connoisseur. The Halifax-based transgender poet, intercourse educator and visible artist has been sporting black feline flicks ever since she started experimenting with make-up. “I’ve all the time gravitated towards a cat-eye and a crimson or nude lip; I haven’t strayed removed from that blueprint,” she says, including that what has advanced is a punctuation of her exaggerated winged liner with wealthy, dynamic shadows.
For Twist, it’s all a manner of accentuating her Indigenous id. “The options I select to reinforce are sometimes the issues I discover most stunning about Cree ladies: the form of our eyes and mouths, the best way that our cheeks are distinguished. My eyes and lips are my two favorite options on my face, so why not spotlight them?” she expresses. Reaching for her staple eyeliner and lipstick additionally connects Twist to her mom and her grandmothers, or kokums as she says in Cree. “I can see the divine femininity that my mom and my kokums have handed on to me,” she explains. “That may all the time be the very first thing I see after I do my make-up. I’m actually fortunate to have been blessed with a canvas that sings to all the ladies who got here earlier than me.”
This deep connection to her make-up stems again to 2013, when Twist began transitioning. “Make-up gave me entry to creating my options look extra female to me,” she shares. “It was like a method to problem my very own gender dysphoria.”
Since then, cosmetics have been highly effective instruments for serving to Twist stroll via the world as a transgender lady. “Make-up feeds me confidence to be on the market,” she says. “It’s the kindling to the fireplace in the whole lot that I need to do as an artist.”
Final yr, Twist gained nationwide notoriety with the discharge of her first e book, Disintegrate/Dissociate, a set of 38 poems that talk to a few of her most intimate lived experiences: transitioning, intercourse, love, violence, displacement and extra. The paperback is rife with grief and resilience but additionally holds an area for pleasure and neighborhood. “I imagine that my work is sincere,” she explains. “Even when it appears brutal at instances, that’s simply the truth. I exist as an Indigenous brown trans lady in a world that’s devoted to debating and questioning my humanity, so it’s typically painful but additionally a supply of hope, deep love and kinship. Individuals describe it as confessional poetry.”
Born in George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan, Twist spent most of her time as a younger little one within the metropolis of Regina earlier than her household moved to Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia. It was a transfer spurred by bigotry, she believes. “I really feel just like the Prairies have a type of gratuitous racism towards Indigenous those who performed an element in why we left. My mother wished to get us out of there.”
Saskatchewan will all the time be a spot that Twist cherishes, she says— “George Gordon First Nation is my beginning nation, the homeland of my ancestors”—however she is aware of she wouldn’t be the lady she is at the moment if she had stayed. “After I give it some thought, I take into consideration how precarious it could have been for me to be an Indigenous trans lady in Regina. I don’t know if I’d have transitioned. I don’t know if I’d be alive proper now. Rising up, I bear in mind Saskatchewan being a tough place to be an Indigenous individual.”
From Sipekne’katik First Nation, Twist finally made her method to Halifax and in 2017, her life and profession modified.
Whereas working as a intercourse educator at Venus Envy, an award-winning LGBTQ+-friendly intercourse store and well being information-based bookstore in downtown Halifax, Twist sparked a reference to a trans Canadian writer who was visiting for a e book launch, which led to mentorship. “We obtained to chatting, and he or she requested me if I had ever considered writing, which I hadn’t,” she reveals. What occurred subsequent felt like a whirlwind.
That very same summer time, Twist’s former mentor invited her to Toronto—a go to that may steer Twist into taking part in Bare Coronary heart, Toronto’s annual LGBTQ+ literary pageant, that fall. Lower than a yr later, she had a e book take care of Vancouver-based writer Arsenal Pulp Press.
Twist counts her 2019 e book tour as her proudest second inside her quick writing profession to this point. The chance allowed her to journey throughout Canada, and the younger poet was amazed by the viewers she was capable of attain via her phrases—Indigenous trans youth specifically. “It was essentially the most eye-opening expertise,” she says. “I used to be capable of go to Saskatchewan and discuss to youth from my dwelling—youngsters who seemed like me, talked like me. Youth who’re doing what I by no means thought I might do: They’re transitioning in Saskatchewan. I all the time thought that was unattainable. They had been speaking about my work and me.”
And you’ll make certain that alongside each cease on her e book tour, Twist rocked her signature eyeliner flick. As a result of as a lot as make-up is about celebrating a powerful self-image, Twist feels that it additionally makes it simpler for her to slot in with long-held stereotypical norms round female magnificence. “I can positively see how make-up impacts how folks discuss to me, method me and see me—particularly in knowledgeable manner. I believe it makes folks take me extra significantly.”
In Her Equipment
These are the go-to staples in Arielle Twist’s make-up bag.
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