In the fall of 2018 WGSN (World Global Style Network) ran a report on the emerging “alien beauty” trend, which they defined as “an otherworldly aesthetic inspired by extraterrestrial life forms … signifying a new rebellious attitude towards quintessential beauty norms” (Bailey). Instagram is one of the largest platforms to represent the trend of alien beauty, presented by a thriving community of makeup artists pushing the boundaries of conventional beauty practices. These artists are developing otherworldly and exaggerated makeup looks created through the combination of makeup, fashion, technology, and social media. The following research attempts to outline elements of beauty that are engaged with through alien beauty, and through creative practice presents them on conventionally beautiful bodies to demonstrate new, challenging version of beauty. Alien beauty selfies shared via Instagram can be re-contextualized to challenge existing examples of art, nature, and beauty. Through practice-based methodology and theories of posthumanism, this piece explores the changing ideals of beauty manifested with the support of technology and social media as well as how the term “alien beauty” manifests as a current trend. Considering the re-imagined paintings created to explore alien beauty, they reveal how beauty has been traditionally constructed through a colonial, heteronormative, hegemonic gaze and how “alien” is therefore a form of escapism and rebellion.
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