In her cover interview with Dazed, the rapper opens up about her big beauty transformation
Doja Cat has been carrying celebrity beauty on her back this year. There was the No Face-esque painted look she wore to the Mônot’s SS23 show in Paris. There were the swirling white patterns that spread across her face like a sea creature in New York. There was the orange Teletubby look, the intergalactic spaceship eyeliner, the apple, flowers, and sperm motif eyebrows. Aside from Julia Fox, she’s been a rare bright spot in a sea of boring make-up and pretty (plain) hair, fearlessly breaking down the boundaries between editorial, IG and IRL beauty trends.
Now in her cover interview with Dazed for the Winter 2022 issue, Doja has opened up about her beauty transformation this summer, which saw her shave off her hair and eyebrows and start experimenting with increasingly expressive make-up looks. Like many of her actions, Doja says the decision to buzz off her hair was sudden but inevitable; she doesn’t understand why people were so against it. “They’re like, ‘Oh, this can’t possibly be her simply having fun,” the artist tells Dazed’s editorial director Kacion Mayers. “She has to be out of her mind. She has to be cuckoo.’”
But against it they were. The new style not only shocked her friends and family who had spent time trying to talk her out of the bald new look but it also caused a lot of people online to lose their minds – many, it seems, believe the only reason a woman would shave her head is as a cry for help during a mental breakdown. In response, Doja has spent the last few months reiterating that the sole purpose of make-up, and women, isn’t to look “fuckable”. “I wasn’t trying to look sexy or attractive. All of my make-up has a story and there are absolutely 0 rules,” she tweeted in response to one critic.
Despite some negative reactions – and an initial feeling that she looked like a “wrinkly penis – I looked like I had an exposed brain” when she first shaved her head – Doja says she has never felt more beautiful in her life. “I felt beautiful when I had long hair. I definitely felt like a hot girl then, but I always do. There’s something so exhilarating about change; (it) showed me a different side of myself. I feel so new, fresh and sexy. I also feel better without make-up: having this bare head and so little make-up is a fun experience. It’s new, and I love it.”
Shaving her head has given her a feeling that she is more in control and also brought her closer to her old playful style, her early days online when she says she was at home and “would just have fun on the internet.” As Buzzfeed’s head of culture Ada Enechi reminded one person on Twitter who was complaining about Doja’s new style, “Doja Cat that made a song called ‘Moo’ dressed as a cow? If you don’t know her well just say that.” As an artist and a person, Doja has never been afraid of getting a bit weird. “I would take pictures in my room all day, do crazy make-up, put paint on my face and flaunt it on the internet. I loved getting those reactions; it was just my favourite thing, looking like a freak. I really enjoyed that.”
Like the rest of us who exist in this culture of constant and toxic beauty standards, Doja isn’t immune to the pressures to look perfect. She spent years yearning for the distorted, idealised vision of beauty forced on us all, though her hectic touring schedule laid potential plans for surgery to rest. Now, however, she is learning to write her own narrative when it comes to beauty and happiness. “Now, to me, beauty is going against it. I love when you take something that is maybe classically beautiful and twist it and make it your own,” she says. “For me, it’s more of an ‘are you happy?’ kind of thing. I want my fans to learn they don’t have to be like anyone else and the thing they want is already there. They just haven’t found it yet, and once they do they’ll be like, ‘How the fuck did I not see it? How did I miss this?’”