This is not the case.
Instead, I am resentful (Is it even necessary for me to be awake right now?), lazy (If I pour the oatmeal straight out of the container, I won’t have to wash more dishes.) and slow (You’ve got 15 minutes to decide what to make for breakfast and lunch, Ansley.). To say that I am flawless when I wake up, with my bad attitude, messy hair, greasy skin and Hello Kitty nightgown, is a stretch.
As I stare at the fridge and will myself to make food, Beyoncé, Kim K and Adriana Lima are taking #IWokeUpLikeThis selfies. The hashtag and the trend that quickly followed started with Queen B. In the newest installment of The Queen Dominates the Internet, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj partnered to make a “Flawless” video. Beyoncé sings, “You wake up, flawless; Post up, flawless; Ridin’ round in it, flawless.”
Because #IWokeUpLikeThis has become a cultural phenomenon, I decided to consult the experts – real, live women with real, important opinions about the real world. Catlin Cade, Katia Nickel and Ariana Saavedra, UF students and my housemates, were generous enough to let me wake them up with a camera poked in their faces. I followed them around; I crouched on their floors to get interesting angles, and I instructed them not to notice me as I invaded their personal spaces.
And I talked to them.
I had them describe their reaction to the queen’s video, how they felt about their #IWokeUpLikeThis selves and what they thought of other make-up free, just-rolled-out-of-bed girls. *To be read in a Law & Order voice*: These are their stories.
When I asked my housemates to participate in the #IWokeUpLikeThis photo project, they eagerly agreed. Catlin, a school counseling and guidance master’s student and my House Manager, asked me if I would also participate, and I quickly refused.
“No, it’s not about me,” I said.
Raw, unedited photos without my beloved Valencia filter are daunting enough, and having those pictures taken before brushing my hair and teeth seemed disastrous. I wanted to show what other people looked like when they first woke up to prove that we don’t have perfect eyeliner at 8 a.m. à la Kendall Jenner. I did not, however, want to disperse my own unattractive photos to the harsh world of the Internet, if for no other reason than that it might scare off
my future husband potential friends.
Not wanting to lose
my mom as a follower credibility, I decided I better practice what I preach.
Cat was my inspiration.
Even though she was tired and uneasy about the process, Cat’s sunny positivity radiated from her.
“I don’t think [taking these pictures] was what I expected because I think I still expected to have woken up, splashed my face with water, fixed my hair a little bit and, like, have on a different shirt,” Cat said, bursting into her signature laugh that sounds like a squeaking, snorting seal.
“Like, that was me in the raw because I did not get up a little bit earlier,” she said.
Throughout her growing-up years, Cat felt so self-conscious that it became necessary for her to always wear makeup, covering what she thought were imperfections. When her friend and former housemate Katelyn Ward wrote, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” from Psalm 139:14, on Cat’s mirror, though, she recognized and decided to embrace her natural beauty.
“From that point on, I just really started to work on how I saw myself and just start to see myself the way God sees me and the way other people see me,” she said.
me other girls, Cat rejoices in compliments; they remind her of how she looks to others. This is why Katia, a biology freshman on a pre-med track, compliments her friends, even when they’re sleep-deprived and makeup-less.
“I think everyone is beautiful in their own way, whether they wear makeup or not,” Katia said.
When B sings of flawless appearances and celebrities post smokey-eyed #IWokeUpLikeThis selfies, Katia said they’re perpetuating an unrealistic ideal, telling women that they are supposed to be flawless.
“We’re not flawless, at all, ever, when we go about our day or when we go to sleep or when we wake up,” Katia insisted. “We’re not flawless; everyone has flaws, and I think it’s better to just accept the flaws that we have.”
Even with our flaws, though, we should recognize our beauty, accepting that as a facet of who we are. Waking up and accepting yourself is the equivalent of waking up to French toast – It brightens your mood and makes everything feel a little sweeter.
“I think girls should feel like that, like they wake up and they’re perfect,” said Ariana, an industrial and systems engineering freshman.
The girls agreed that if there is ever a time to wake up and greet the world fresh-faced, it’s now. UF offers an environment where societal pressures to look perfect are trumped by upcoming midterms. Despite being inundated with photos of celebrities looking gorgeous in their most vulnerable state – when they just woke up – I am confident that Gainesville’s gals are strong enough to feel good about themselves, flawless or not.
Tag #GalsOfGainesville in your next #IWokeUpLikeThis photo. Because the real you – with every flaw – is perfect.
Photos of Catlin, Ariana and Katia are taken by me. Photos of me in the GIF are taken by Ariana.