When you meet Muriel for the very first time, you understand right away that she is a girl of high sweetness, sympathy, and, above all, courage.
Muriel, activist and spokesperson for the LGBT community in Italy, but also in the world, speaks candidly and instructively on topics such as being non-binary or the new concept of family. She speaks with those who have suffered from cyberbullying and, among all these subjects with which she is educating a new generation, she can also talk about makeup: how makeup makes her feel, what are her favorite products and how she likes to use colors on her face.
In all this, Muriel also talks about body positivity –a topic that we care a lot about– how she decided to put herself out there also in regards to her body, how she wanted to show it to the world, and how she began to respect it. She spoke to us about how important it is to be self-aware and to take a path that leads us to understand that our body is not the problem and that in life, we can do everything, no matter the size.
For these reasons and many others, Muriel is our August Cover Story, a cover made of strawberry-colored lipsticks, intelligence, desire to work on oneself, and many freckles.
What is your earliest beauty memory?
So, I have two: the first is that I would always ask my mom to buy me the Lelly Kelly shoes because at the time, buying them meant that they would gift you with an eyeshadow palette full of pastel colors. Or I would find eye palettes together with newspapers, and I always liked playing with colors. The second memory is from when I was at my grandma‘s house once, I went to her bathroom, and I stole her makeup: she has a darker complexion than me, so I had a line under my neck… but yes, I would often play with makeup as a child.
What is the first product that touches your face when you get up in the morning?
I immediately rinse my face as soon as I wake up, and then I use the refreshing and moisturizing water by Jowaé, especially in the summer: it wakes me up, refreshes, and hydrates my skin.
“…I always liked playing with colors.”
What is the thing that makes you stay in bed, and what makes you get up? Especially in these times when we can say the bed has perhaps been our best friend.
What makes me get up… My dog because he is small and he is a trouble-maker; if he is awake and I’m asleep, it is the end [laughs].
What makes me stay in bed… I’m a sleepyhead, and I like to sleep, I’m a lazy girl, I love watching movies with my boyfriend, both in the evening and the morning, we want to chat a bit in bed before we get up and start the day. Now we are in full Marvel marathon-mode.
What was your first beauty obsession instead?
A black pencil. When I was in middle school, the emo phase was a bit on-trend and, therefore, the beautiful black eye, with the black pencil under the eye; the black line was fashionable. I bought a lot of them. I purchased the kajal, and it made me a very small eye: terrible, terrible.
Your makeup looks, which I love, are super creative: is there a process, or do you get inspired from the moment, from what you wear or from a particular product?
It’s a series of things: surely what I wear and my hair are crucial because just having pink or blue colored hair and not just brown influences me a lot more. But I go by the mood of the moment: if that day I feel orange, I use orange colors, if I feel pink, I use pink colors and pink glitter. Then there are days that I feel nuder, but it goes a lot according to my mood.
When you have more time to dedicate to yourself, are there treatments or masks that you like to do?
I like the Sephora sheet masks because they are comfortable and fresh. Then I like bathing with salts and essential oils that relax me.
Do you do masks for your hair?
Yes, I do them a lot. Every day I apply an oil, but then I do a mask every time I take a shower, I tried the papaya one from Garnier, the Hair Food, it is very good. I have a lot of them, in fact, every day I say, “Which one should I use?”. I have a lot of them, and I try to do them every time I wash my hair.
“…if that day I feel orange, I use orange colors…
…if I feel pink, I use pink colors.“
You have been talking about Body Positivity for a long time now, and in my opinion, you do it in a brilliant way, which is not so obvious: what was the thing that pushed you to talk about it and what does it mean for you now to feel comfortable in your skin?
I started talking about it about a year ago after I participated in an underwear fashion show in Piazza Duomo (Milan), I forced myself to do it, even though at first I didn’t want to do it. Still, I said to myself, “Maybe this thing can help you somehow to overcome some stigmas” and so it did. The response from my community was tremendous, both in terms of support people confiding in me. It was so liberating that I said, “If I did it in Piazza Duomo, in underwear, with people taking pictures and so on, I can do it anywhere.” And from there, it all began.
For me, feeling comfortable with myself means many things, first of all, in my opinion, it is a path that never ends: based on the moments that you are experiencing it changes what it means for you to feel comfortable, therefore, despite the positive change, I can’t consider myself 100% at ease because I know there is always work to be done, there is still room for improvement, this is an essential message for me.
Feeling comfortable also means having respect for my body. Because before I used to blame it for everything, it was always its fault, it sucked, I would say to myself, “Because of your body, you will never do anything in your life.” I learned to talk to myself a lot and to try to respect myself more. The moment I started this change, my mindset automatically improved. Thoughts are more positive, I am more serene. Before that, everything was negative to my eyes.
What you say is beautiful. I remember the video you made in response to some stupid comments you had received. I found myself very much in what you said, so I think what you are doing is very important.
People often think that body positivity promotes obesity, but actually, it has nothing to do with health, it’s more related to the mindset, to the fact that you decide for your body, others can’t tell you what to do; That you have the same possibilities as everyone else: years ago, I was told that if I wanted to work in this world, I had to lose weight. Why? Why can’t I? This is the real problem, it doesn’t concern only with your weight. I get angry when we talk about these things.
“Feeling comfortable also means having respect for my body. Because before I used to blame it for everything, it was always its fault, it sucked.”
You have many tattoos, can you tell me your three favorites?
So… The heart because it’s the same my mom has, and she also has it on the same little finger, so it connects us. Then the one I did when my brother was born, which is the phrase of “Your Song” by Elton John with “Bro” at the end, because I’m 17 years older than him, he is very young. I also really like the piece of the lyrics of a song that I sang in the musical “Hair,” where I played the role of Jeanie: it was the phrase of the song that I sang, and I don’t know, it reminds me of a beautiful moment, I have traveled across Italy on tour, it reminds me of a lovely experience.
What’s the next tattoo you want to do?
I also said it to my tattoo artist: I’m in a stop phase, I haven’t tattooed for two years. I like floral tattoos a lot, a little common I know, or I also like Cupid, some little angels, I don’t know, I’m in a moment of confusion.
What’s the book on your nightstand?
At the moment none, also because I had a hectic month. But what I am most fond of is a bit banal, but I read it with my grandmother about 12 times, and it is “The Little Prince.” It reminds me of when I used to go to Rome to visit my grandma when I was younger, every time I went to see her, we would read it all over again. Then I would go back to Milan and read it by myself, and I would still feel connected to her, and then it’s a book for all ages, and even now, when I pick it up, I reinterpret it in some way.
The beauty product on your nightstand?
I can’t leave the house without mascara. Then I also love an eyebrows gel and a gloss, but if I have to choose one, mascara.
Your favorite body cream?
Sol de Janeiro, it has such a sweet scent, but I like it. I also have their shampoo and conditioner. I have never had an obsession with body cream, only if I truly like it. I’ve been using aloe gel a lot lately. My grandma from Rome makes me buy it because she says, “Even if you don’t have a sunburn, it is so good for you.”
Your favorite texture when it comes to skincare?
Gel. I love gel moisturizers. I also like aloe because it is gelly.
Are there any brands that you particularly like, also given the fact that you use a lot of colors?
There is undoubtedly a glitter brand that I love madly, and it’s called Lemonhead.LA, they are glitter in gel [laughs], so they are easier to apply, I love them madly. I love Nabla’s and MAC’s eye shadows. For the lips, WeMakeup and then BH Cosmetics, which makes these giant rainbow palettes that are very good.
What’s your go-to makeup for this summer?
Right now, I like strawberry lips, and they remind me of a summer mood. Then blush, highlighter, and a black wing.
The last thing that made you smile?
Am I ordinary if I say my dog? Because he is a puppy, he is two months old, so funny, when he runs, he hits the furniture and rolls on himself.
If you could invent a makeup/skincare product that you think is missing on the market, what would you say?
A glittery gel moisturizer that tastes of jasmine.
Which is the product that is at the top of your wish list?
I want to try a lot the GlamGlow masks that I have never tried, and then the Urban Decay Heavy Metal glitter, in a gel formula. But every time I go to Sephora, my boyfriend throws me out, because he knows that I will end up buy them all.
You have too many of?
Everything [laughs]. I have too many palettes, and I don’t know where to put them anymore. And lipsticks.
An epic-fail beauty?
Surely when I picked the wrong shade, and I had a line on my neck, or when I started baking, and I was not able: I would remove the excess, though leaving white patches I couldn’t see.
What would you like to see more and more in the beauty world?
More inclusiveness from the ethnic point of view, even if we are taking many steps forward in Italy as well, it started in America but is coming here as well. But it would be helpful to see more sizes, models that differ from each other, but it is not something that concerns only the beauty world. I would like to see people who are more the reflection of reality, and perhaps in beauty, they could include more boys. We are starting, but most of the time, you only see girls here: so maybe, first of all, I would say “include more boys.”
“…I would like to see people who are more the reflection of reality, and perhaps, they could include more boys. “
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
I think the fashion show in Piazza Duomo, because I forced myself, I didn’t want to do it at all. Still, I said to myself, “just do it,” so it was brave for me. For years I would not go to the beach, or if I indeed would go, I would always cover myself, if I wanted to swim I would take off my towel, throw myself into the water and then to run out and ask my friends to bring the towel back so at least I would go out and immediately cover myself. Shorts and summer dresses were out of the question.
So going from that situation to an underwear fashion show, in Piazza Duomo, on a Sunday afternoon under the sun, full of people, was brave. Then there are other episodes of fears that I overcame, like the roller coasters, but in terms of my well-being, I think of that fashion show, which has somehow also changed my life.