Updated 14:14 PM PHT Mon, March 20, 2017
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Clocking in at 14 minutes and 40 seconds, Kris Aquino’s first “Heart to Heart with Kris” video — a deep dive into the media mogul’s kikay kit — can be considered longer than the average beauty guru’s “What’s in my bag?” vlog on YouTube. Still, it has managed to garner 258,000 views and many a meme in just four days.
What can a video of a bunch of makeup items say about Kris Aquino that we didn’t already know?
The premise of this “Heart to Heart with Kris” episode is paring down the enormous kikay kit she has in tow to just the essentials that can fit into a black Prada pouch for a “weekend out of town.” The video is essentially a rundown of the Queen of All Media’s “Holy Grail” products — products she knows, after endless searching, work best for her.
“Meron akong, ano, obsession. Lahat nile-label-an ko,” Kris says, almost sheepishly, inspecting her makeup items divided by kind into Ziploc bags. “This says body makeup.” The bag contains three MAC products: a nondescript setting spray, and two base products to cover up accidental blemishes Kris attributes to her being lampa. She covers up a burn she got from cooking. “Para hindi makita na may mga tsismis.”
Considering how long she’s been in in showbiz, Kris should know how to do pre-emptive damage control. Image is everything, and the suggestion of troubles in the home could spell trouble for anyone’s career.
Glossing over her eyeshadow selections and her two base products, Kris declares: “Kunin niyo na ang lahat sa akin, dalawa lang ang I cannot live without: kilay and blush.”
Consistent with her longstanding branding, which touches even her video’s subtitles, Kris Aquino’s signature blush shade is pink. She uses a little bit of NARS Laguna for a light contour, happily noting that one good thing about turning 40 is that it made her cheekbones more prominent.
It’s a little unsettling to realize just how image-conscious you can be by being in the public eye, celebrity or not. The rundown of her favorite items, though entertaining, quickly feels exhausting. If you keep track of the show-and-tell, you see it transform into a checklist of things women do to “fix” themselves, so they’re more presentable.
You should curl your lashes, get the right brushes — adjust your lipstick shade in accordance with how you want to come off. MAC’s Pink Nouveau is her signature lip — “parang halos lahat ng endorsement gamit ko, so malaki na ang kinita nito” — and she adds MAC’s Please Me on top, on a regular day.
But the ubiquitous red lipstick is absent from her kit. “It’s because ayaw ni Bimb [her son],” she explains with some resigned disappointment. “Bimb told me, ‘Mama, don’t use red. You look slutty.’ Okay. In-obey ko lang siya.” Even her nine-year-old son has something to say about how she looks.
But, if the endorsement calls for it, on the red lipstick goes.
Aside from all of this, Kris has a stash of powders, too, because according to her, “Oiliness is next to joblessness.” As recommended by Angel Locsin, Kris also started to line her upper waterline. “Be careful, ha,” she tells the viewer, much like a concerned tita who knows the risks but nevertheless abides by the tenets of tiis-ganda. “Kailangan ng pina-practice ‘yan kasi kung masundot mo ‘yung mata mo … Pero maganda talaga kasi.”
Finally, Kris delves into her makeup raison d'être: her eyebrows. She has two Ziploc bags’ worth of eyebrow products. “Diba sinabi ko sa inyo kanina, kunin niyo na lahat sa akin, huwag lang ang kilay ko,” she says. “Basta nakakilay ka, na-frame na ‘yung mukha mo. Maganda ka na. Promise.”
If you started thinking about beautification as a means to feel good about yourself, Kris shoots that thought down and remembers to add, “At huwag kang haharap sa mga boys na nanliligaw sa’yo kung wala kang kilay.” Without any trace of self-consciousness that can only be honed by years of living in the public eye, she says, “Matutulog na lang ako, naglalagay pa ako nito. Kasi, you never know, baka masunog, nagtatatakbo ako, may kumuha ng picture sa akin. O, di nakakilay ako.”
Beauty vlogs are the fastest growing subsection of Youtube, according to The Guardian. “Happiness is makeup,” Kris concludes, closing her pouch in victory, albeit with a disclaimer, more honest than any beauty vlogger has managed to be. “Itong makeup na pinakita ko sa inyo is only 8 percent of the total makeup I have at home. Ayokong mag-lie sa inyo. Kasi dapat truthful tayo sa Kris Online. So ‘yun ‘yung totoo.”
Someone as busy as Kris Aquino probably doesn’t have time to think too much about makeup, so she sticks to what she knows she likes.
For an actress whose brand that has touched on different lifestyle aspects like food and travel, it’s telling that the first video Kris Aquino decides to make is a “What’s in my bag?” video, a beauty vlog staple. This video outlines just a few ways of how pervasive beauty attitudes are in women’s lives, and just how big the beauty market is. Though repeatedly accused of being a shallow, girlish pursuit, beauty — standards, the industry, consumerism — feels inescapable, sometimes even required, for women today.
In January this year, Representative Rodel Batocabe proposed amending Republic Act No. 8424 to include a “beauty tax,” which adds a 20 to 30 percent increase on additional non-essential goods such as beauty and cosmetic products and services, which will more or less hit the female population. Thousands of women were in uproar, as beauty products are already expensive as is, and many jobs require women to use them as part of the office attire. And although the proposed imposed tax is not ideal, the bigger question we ought to ask might be why all this primping and “improvements” are required in the first place.
Even without all of her high-end makeup, and the Prada bag, and her personal makeup artist, Jonathan, in some ways, we all become Kris Aquino: the Kris Aquino who needs to tailor her outward appearance to reflect the image she wants to project, the Kris Aquino who relies on the “correct” kind of makeup to book successful gigs, the Kris Aquino who doesn’t wear red lipstick because someone in her life told her it made her look slutty. “How much makeup is too much makeup?” seems to be the question with an elusive answer. But with the women’s liberation movement, and the recent reclaiming of beauty ideals, and the apparent rise of feminism, it feels wrong to even be asking it.
Still, Kris does exercise a little bit of agency, armed with a tube (or four) of RMK lipgloss, even if, perhaps, she wants to look beautiful for someone else. “Okay, alam ko na uso ngayon ang matte [lip], pero matigas ang ulo ko,” she says, layering it over her lips. “Feeling ko mas maganda ako kapag ganito. So pagbigyan niyo na ako. ”