By Catherine Wang
With profit-driven businesses constantly striving for new technologies to develop our world, STEM careers have become ever more attractive to the incoming workforce. As our horizons look towards ads of the new iPhone 11 and ideas for artificial intelligence, art and self-expression in the workplace have been placed in the background. Despite the increasing pressure to choose a strictly STEM-oriented career, many Wellesley students use proactive and unique ways to add color into their lives.
Meiya Sparks Lin, a sophomore and English-major at Wellesley College, finds artistic expression and empowerment through self-designing makeup looks and wearing them to class. Students as well as teachers at Wellesley often compliment Meiya on her personalized look of hand-drawn constellations and her inspiring Instagram account filled with makeup posts of Meiya’s beautiful looks involving flowers, clouds, stars, animals, and more. Meiya has even painted acrylic onto her face one day for a look that portrayed Japanese koi floating on the waters, which was “painful to remove,” Meiya says, laughing.
Sparks Lin revealed that she’s been playing with makeup since high school, but only until her freshman year at Wellesley did she become serious about wearing makeup. After stepping over societal standards and exploring various ways to use makeup as a form of art, Meiya discovered that makeup grants her the freedom of self-expression and power over her own body.
“I’ve always had a habit of doodling on my hands, and my teachers would make me go to the bathroom and scrub it off and mark off essays that I doodled on,” Meiya recounted. My whole life I’ve been told what to do and not to do with body. Making the choice to do something so visible on my face is a way of reclaiming it and saying, “This body is mine.”
From her freedom of expression, Sparks Lin has also formed stronger connections with not only herself, but also her peers. Sparks Lin’s makeup is an embodiment of her interests, moods, and loves, one of which is her passionate love for the stars. Having found the importance and power of art, Sparks Lin strives to help others see the beauty and freedom of wearing art in the form of makeup.
“I love it as a way to connect with friends. I love doing other people’s makeup, or having them do mine. When I do someone’s makeup, it’s a way for me to share something that’s important to me. It’s an act of trust and love and creation, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to have stars on their face!” Sparks Lin explained. “Makeup is kind of my love language.”
Sparks Lin has used makeup as a platform to give her life dimensions of vibrancy and color that would not be manifested without makeup. Embodying her feelings into art and growing in her ability to connect with others, makeup has become a fundamental part of Sparks Lin’s life. And with the help of technologies such as Pinterest for occasional artistic inspiration, Sparks builds a bridge between STEM and art, emphasizing that art never has to be placed in the background.
“Art is so important to me-- it’s what I live for. And when someone says, “stop doing that,” it only makes me want to do it more and do it more visibly.”