Why Hari Nef Supports Alicia Keys Wearing No Makeup to the VMAs

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Hari Nef.Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFA.com

Hari Nef applauds Alicia Keys for going without makeup to the VMAs and even tweeted that she was ready to hop on that train.

“I think that it should be every woman’s choice, depending on how she feels comfortable,” Nef said at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons gala on Friday. “I can’t think of any objective reason why you should wear makeup, unless it makes you feel good.”

“It’s definitely political,” Nef said of Keys’s bold move. “I’ve done red carpets before without makeup, and I felt very vulnerable after, looking at the photos. You know, it’s hard to break the norm like she is; it’s difficult. But I think that the fact that she’s doing it, and the fact that she looks so good doing it, is a great statement.”

Nef, who is transgender, says she has struggled with society’s ideals of beauty all her life, and particularly the last couple years, as she has come to live as her authentic self. “I think that you need to balance a critique of feminine, patriarchal beauty ideals while simultaneously understanding how they can make you safe, and they can make you feel safe, and they can open up certain doors for you that would have been closed,” the actress said. “I’m not saying that they’re good, but I’m saying that if you look a certain way, maybe people will actually listen to what you have to say. Especially in this industry, it can be a trade-off.”

Despite being in the public eye, she tries to have fun with her looks and says she is constantly learning something new. Her hair is now longer than it’s ever been, which, she discovered on that very hot day, can have disadvantages. “But I feel like a new kind of person, and I feel like you just have to keep trying until you see what feels comfortable. I had my hair up the other day, and when I saw the photo, I was, like, maybe my hair looks better down. Maybe it makes my face look better.” She is still experimenting. “Unfortunately, the experiment happens in public in front of millions of people,” she laughed. “But I think them’s the breaks.”

Alicia Keys Didn’t Wear Any Makeup to the VMAs