Scene at State: “Euphoria” liberates makeup trends while shining a light on youthful society


Kelly Shea Kerrigan

Makeup trends started by "Euphoria": gems, glitter, bold lips and more. Photos taken on film by a Film AM Camera.

by Kelly Shea Kerrigan, Senior Staff Writer

After finishing the first episode of HBO’s “Euphoria,” my friends and I sat frozen on the couch, our mouths wide open and our minds in shock. 

“What did we just watch?” I asked. 

We spent the next eight weeks counting down the days until the next episode aired. This show had captivated us in a way that no show had before. 


The show follows a group of high school students who face the conflicts of modern teenagers. The title, “Euphoria,” is defined as a state or feeling of intense excitement and

happiness — a feeling that never lasts as long as we wish it would. Just when the teenagers in “Euphoria” are attempting to enjoy their years of adolescence, their euphoric state of being is ripped from beneath their feet and the stress of trying to fit in with society is shoved down their throats. 

Colorful, bright, glittery makeup added in with graphic sex, drug abuse, intense social media challenges, struggles with individual and sexual identity and an incredible soundtrack, HBO’s new, strikingly intriguing television show “Euphoria” has people talking. This show shows the raw truth on controversial topics that are typically watered down to follow T.V. guidelines.

The characters embody today’s Millennials and Gen Z population who fear conforming to societal constructs and who will do absolutely anything in their will to stand out. The show follows actress Zendaya’s character, Rue, who faces a serious drug addiction showing her battle to remain sober. Other characters face abusive relationships, the influences of dominant masculinity, the power of the internet and misogyny. Each of the young teens endures the pressures of their parents and society telling them to hide anything that attracts attention. 

So what do the characters do instead? They do the exact opposite. They load their wardrobe with over-the-top pieces, neon shirts, eccentric patterns, high heels and latex dresses. They adopt every curse word into their vocabulary and partake in a party-centered lifestyle to alleviate the world they face. 

The girls in “Euphoria” make an influential statement with their style. These styles are now trends taking over young girls who watched the show. The characters boldly apply their makeup with neon eyeliner, rainbow face gems, glitter and lipstick. Their style illustrates they are not afraid to express who they are regardless of who they are talk to. The colorful makeup that has been trending on social media doesn’t just serve as a new beauty trend, but serves as a metaphor for self vocalization.

Young girls and especially young boys are trained to believe that wearing makeup is frowned upon, so much so that many schools across the country ban it from being worn. The internet floods girls with messages that wearing too much makeup makes them look like a clown, yet as soon as a girl has a minor imperfection, she is expected to fix it. The double standard society forces onto girls makes it difficult for them to decide what they should believe. 

“Euphoria” changes the definition of what makeup should be used for. It is no longer a mask for imperfections, but rather a form of art and self-expression that allows people to create who they are and how they are seen. 

One of the reasons so many are raving about this show is because we all can find ourselves intertwined with the plotlines and personalities of these characters; the pain in Cassie’s eyes, the anger in Nate’s fists, the lostness in Rue’s mind, the resilience in Maddy’s heart, the euphoria in Jule’s free spirit. These characters remind us of the reality that often television gracefully skips over. Life is not always like the movies, but these characters remind anyone, no matter their age, to keep fighting. 

Growing up in an era where social media plays such a considerable role in our daily lives allows the media we consume to influence and affect us in abundant ways. Not only has the exotic makeup grabbed our attention in regards to the show, but it has captured our attention enough to focus on the important social matters that are represented. These issues are not being accurately represented in other media.

After being told to hold our tongues, follow the rules and walk in a straight line, “Euphoria”-influenced makeup demonstrates exactly what our generation will not do. We refuse to stick with the confinements that have been put in place from generations before. We want to be seen, we want to be heard and we absolutely will not accept “no” as an answer. 

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