point of you: claire zhang
i-D asked our readers across the USA for their point of view on beauty. Claire Zhang tells us about embracing her Asian American heritage, the surreal Instagrams that inspire her, and her illustrated alter ego Flower Face.
Photography Micaiah Carter. Styling Shawn Lakin. Hair Kendall Dorsey. Makeup Raisa Thomas.
Earlier this year, i-D asked our readers across the USA for their point of view on beauty, asking them to submit stories to us that encapsulated what the future might look like. The six winners then came to New York to be shot by photographer Micaiah Carter, and tell us all about what informs their worldview. Here, Claire Zhang tells us about embracing her Asian American heritage, the surreal Instagrams that inspire her, and her illustrated alter ego Flower Face.
How long have you been in New York?
This is the start of my second year. I moved here for college.
What do you study?
I study Communication Design and Literary Studies at Parsons.
Do you have any kind of beauty regime?
Recently I've got really into Korean skincare. My Mom got really into it and she sent me a bunch of stuff. I would say honestly, most days I just start from the pants. Then, I have pants, and I just find something that I think looks good with it, and it usually turns out all right.
Has that changed since you moved from the West Coast?
Yeah. I feel like when I was in LA, my regime was always just like... keeping my face out of the sun, and moisturizing so heavily . What I've found in New York is with the seasons, with the cold, I'm now on some sort of like, cleansing, toning, exfoliating regime, because I get home sometimes and my face is like desert.
You're like, "Oh, the cold has done this to me."
What's your go-to look for going out at night?
I'm wearing the fancy lip gloss on my eyes right now. I'm really big into putting lipstick, or lip stuff meant for your mouth on my eyes. I also have taken to wearing blush as eyeshadow . I like that, it's very '80s. And I feel like New York forces you to grow up very quickly and a lot of me is clinging to my old childhood style. The new barrette trend I really love, the really big, chunky barrettes. Also, just really sparkly and shiny.
Is there someone who inspires your creativity?
Pat McGrath. It's just, it's ethereal, whoever is behind their creative direction, with the photos and everything [on her Instagram]. It's so beautiful. Also, I really like John Yuyi, I don't know if you would consider it makeup, really, what she does is more like tattoos and stuff. I think I've seen some of her typical day makeup looks, she's definitely out there. She's definitely much more experimental in makeup looks than I am. There's another I follow called Tsunaina, and I think she has the most amazing face. I've drawn it so many times. It's just like alien beauty. It's like looking at a flower.
What are you excited to illustrate, at the moment?
Well, so for the submission for this competition, I wrote about Flowerface, which is a character that I invented, basically to reclaim my identity. When I originally invented it, in junior year in high school, it really was more of a shameful thing for me. I spent so long rejecting my own culture and my own skin, and my own face as an Asian American, desperately wanting to be just American.
But now I feel like my narrative with that character has changed a lot, so it now I am really proud to look like who I am, and where I come from, what my parents have sacrificed to bring me here. I guess an illustrating that I really want to communicate that. And reclaim what I've been pushing away for so long.
Photography Micaiah Carter
Styling Shawn Lakin
Hair Kendall Dorsey
Makeup Raisa Thomas
Nails Leanne Woodley
Producer Chloe Mina
Production Manager Elina Angel
Senior Creative Emery Coopersmith
Associate Account Manager Sam Mark
Talent Director Andrea Haber
Photography Assistants Nigel So Hang, Rahim Fortune
Digital Technician Victor Tate
Stylists Assistants Nicole Chan, Charlotte Jackson
Hair Assistant Natalia Borgas
Makeup Assistants Keyana Morrisson
Production Assistants Ryan Hall, Tiye Amenechi