Magnificence would not have a singular definition, however for years, Amber Liu believed it did. Between rising up in Los Angeles and transferring to Seoul at 16 to coach with one in all South Korea’s high leisure corporations, she could not assist however equate magnificence with typical femininity. Magnificence wasn’t about self-expression or caring for herself. As a substitute, Liu’s definition centered on becoming a stereotypical picture of what a lady needs to be: long-haired, skinny, delicate, and poised.
Preferring to maintain her hair quick and to put on garments with an athletic aesthetic, Liu felt alienated by the standard definition of magnificence so many ladies are raised with. “To be actually trustworthy, I hated magnificence,” she admits whereas visiting the Attract places of work in the course of the New York Metropolis cease of her “Gone Rogue” tour. “I hated all the pieces about style. I simply wasn’t ‘that’ lady, so I used to be like, This isn’t my place.”
After debuting in 2009 with lady group f(x), a then 17-year-old Liu* shortly grew to become Ok-pop’s beloved tomboy. She stayed true to her private fashion, usually styling her hair into lengthy, edgy pixies and slipping on menswear-inspired clothes whereas her fellow members had hair flowing previous their shoulders and sometimes styled in mini skirts.
As a self-professed valley lady, the tomboy label did not resonate along with her, although, as a result of that in itself felt like one other stereotype to abide by. “Persons are like, ‘Oh my gosh, Amber, you are loads girlier than I assumed,'” she tells me, groaning. “I am like, ‘Nicely, did you’ve expectations for me to be actually [masculine]?'”
Over the previous decade, Liu, now 26, encountered this expectation time and again. On the similar time, Liu repeatedly felt stress to adapt to the picture of typical female magnificence, too, on picture shoots and in commercials. No grey space appeared to be left for her between hyperfemininity and masculinity. “Again then, there have been very restricted visuals for ladies to be,” she remembers. “I believe now, slowly, it is opening up and persons are embracing the completely different sides of femininity and masculinity. It is a spectrum.”
Liu is specializing in solo initiatives and really greedy the truth that magnificence would not must have one, slim definition. It, too, is on a spectrum, with many alternative, complicated types of magnificence past the constraints she as soon as knew.
Magnificence Is a Little Assist From Your Associates
All through our interview, Liu peppers in references to a handful of mates, together with mannequin and photographer Stefanie Michova, and mannequin and influencer Irene Kim, who Liu lovingly refers to as “Mother.” She credit them for serving to her really feel comfy with the way in which she presents herself, and now works with lots of her closest mates.
“Generally after I do sure appears, I do not need the intention to be taken out of context or expressed within the fallacious approach,” she explains. “Being with my group, I am absolutely assured that nobody will take my imaginative and prescient and twist it into one thing detrimental. It is enjoyable.”
Wow, the world’s altering, and I believe I will be accepted.
The truth is, Michova is Liu’s go-to director, producer, and photographer for her music movies and promo shoots, together with her newest single “Countdown.”. One among my favourite photographs from one in all their shoots is of Liu with glitter and stars flecked onto her face — a glance she was satisfied by Michova to strive. “She’s difficult me,” Liu says. Due to their friendship, Liu feels comfy taking Michova’s options and calls glittery moments like that small victories.
Kim, however, opened Liu as much as completely different aspects of the style and wonder industries. Via seeing individuals mixing and matching historically masculine and female garments and realizing make-up will not be a approach to cowl up your imperfections however to focus on who you’re, Liu acknowledged she was solely uncovered to at least one specific facet of femininity. Wow, the world’s altering, she remembers considering, And I believe I will be accepted.