Marian Keyes: 'Make-up is an act of self-respect that may seem frivolous but is quite profound’

The Women’s Podcast discusses the power of make-up and the magic of creativity with best selling authors Marian Keyes and Elizabeth Gilbert

Also on the podcast, journalist Anna Carey talked to Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert about her new book about harnessing creativity, Big Magic.

Also on the podcast, journalist Anna Carey talked to Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert about her new book about harnessing creativity, Big Magic.

 

“I love makeup, it makes me incredibly happy, and it’s been a great friend to me at very dark times in my life,” said Marian Keyes, bestselling author and guest presenter of the latest episode of The Women’s Podcast.

She spoke to Irish Times beauty columnists Aisling McDermott and Laura Kennedy about their new book About Face and about how makeup can provide solace during difficult times.

“There was one time in New York when I was in the horrors with depression, and I saw the most exquisite nail varnish from Chanel … and it was something that actually broke through the awful miasma of feeling like the world was a smoking, post-apocalyptic landscape,” she said.

During the interview which Keyes described as “very raw, very real” McDermott talked about the pain of living with an aggressive and progressive form of multiple sclerosis. She was first diagnosed with the disease 20 years ago but before now has never spoken openly about her illness.

“I know that some people would think that makeup is shallow, but it’s not at all. It says, ‘This is me, I’m here and I care about myself,’ even when you’re depressed or ill or someone close to you is ill. If you can get up and put your lipstick on, you will feel a little bit better,” she said.

Keyes said of applying makeup: “It’s an act of self respect that may seem frivolous but is actually quite profound”.

Kennedy spoke about her mother’s terminal cancer and a recent “good day” when she felt well enough to leave the house.

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“She said to me, ‘Laura, we’re going to go for a walk and you’re going to put some makeup on me because I want to face the world.’ She felt better and she wanted to reflect that on the outside, but she also wanted to transmit a message to the world that she’s able for today, and I think that’s what makeup does.”

Also on the podcast, journalist Anna Carey talked to Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert about her new book about harnessing creativity, Big Magic.

“I think of a creatively lived life as any life where somebody is consistently following their curiosity more than their fear,” she said.

Gilbert said everyone has the capacity to be creative, but many people hold themselves back.

“They think this is something for other people, special people, trained people, tormented people, professional people…when in fact I think of creativity as our shared human experience.”

She also spoke about the importance of following her curiosity even when she does not feel particularly creative.

“I consider myself a very passionate person, but I’m not passionate every Thursday morning at 10am. There are seasons of my life where I lose track of that, and in those moments I return to the more modest, humble and accessible instinct of curiosity to ask myself, ‘What are you a little bit interested in today?’ Trust that. That’s the trail of breadcrumbs that can lead you to very interesting places,” she said.

“If you’re waiting for the lightning strike and a fugue state you might be waiting a long time. I’d prefer to work on things a little everyday and then every once in awhile you fall into the zone. And it’s so worth it.”

Ahead of next week’s discussion about women in sport, The Women’s Podcast wants to know: What was your favourite sporting moment involving women?

Listeners are invited to tweet their answers to the question of the week @ITWomensPodcast, post to our Facebook page or email thewomenspodcast@irishtimes.com.

Individual episodes of the podcast are available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Stitcher.

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