At an event where most celebrities call on their most trusted and highest-paid designers and makeup artists, Alicia Keys showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards completely makeup-free.
We don't mean the kind of makeup you wear when you're going for a "natural" look. We mean actually no makeup.
Keys hit the red carpet in a Just Cavalli dress that covered her from neck to toe, another stark difference from typical flashy outfits seen at events like the VMAs.
But the awards show wasn't the first time the 35-year-old singer went makeup-free. In fact, the singer has been spotted without makeup ever since Lenny published her letter "Time to Uncover" in May 2016. In the letter, Keys wrote that she was tired of women being pressured into thinking they have to act and look a certain way.
"Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you're plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.
All of it is so frustrating and so freakin' impossible."
Keys said it got to the point where she worried every time she left the house without makeup — would someone want a photo? Would they post the photo? She knew these were superficial thoughts, but they were honest, too.
And then, one day, during a photoshoot for her newest album, the photographer wanted to photograph her "raw" face.
"I'd just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn't like) said, "I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!"
I was shocked. Instantly, I became a bit nervous and slightly uncomfortable. My face was totally raw. I had on a sweatshirt! As far as I was concerned, this was my quick run-to-the-shoot-so-I-can-get-ready look, not the actual photo-shoot look. So I asked her, "Now?! Like right now? I want to be real, but this might be too real!!"
And that was it. She started to shoot me.
It was just a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately relating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic circulating. And I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt."
Perhaps Keys, a mother of two, wants to set an example for her sons of what a strong, confident woman looks like. Her husband Swizz Beatz certainly supports her makeup-free movement. Check out his Instagram post of a Vanity Fair photoshoot:
In the caption, he wrote: "You look 19 without make up ... My fav pic ... The fact that this is a new pic".
And although Keys has decided to go makeup-free, she says she's not discouraging other people from wearing it.
"Y'all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn't mean I'm anti-makeup. Do you!" she tweeted.
We love the new makeup-free movement! Share your thoughts in the comments below.