Wearing Mental Illness Through Make-up: An Interview With Yasaman Gheidi

Popular make-up artists across the globe have been teaching young women how to wear make-up for several years. For many women make-up is used as a tool to make women feel good about themselves, but sometimes it can be used as a mask to cover who they really are. Instagram influencer and make-up artist Yasaman Gheidi decided to challenge this notion and instead used the art of make-up to depict how mental illness can look on the outside. She encouraged many users to wear their mental illness on their face with art, using just make-up. This prompted her movement ‘Inside Out Challenge’ using art as a way to evoke change.

We sit down with Yasaman and chat about her struggles with mental illness, what prompted the Inside Out Challenge and how she plans to continue to use art as a way to evoke change.

Tell us about the Inside Out Challenge?

I created the Inside Out Challenge because I wanted to start a conversation about mental illness using makeup and social media. I find that using makeup or visual art to illustrate emotions can be therapeutic. It’s difficult to explain to someone how you’re feeling using words that already have so many implied meanings or stigmas attached. Art, in my case makeup, is a way for people to illustrate their emotions using their creativity. The Inside Out Challenge is project that seeks to start a conversation about mental illness bringing it from the shadows to a safe platform. 

How did the Inside out challenge start?

I think the best way to describe what started this challenge was in the caption I posted for the first Inside Out Challenge post I did: 

A few weeks ago my partner and I attended my Christmas staff party. After dinner I experienced an anxiety attack and we decided to leave. I chose to disappear quietly without drawing much attention to myself. I spent the rest of the night holding on to my partner and crying, mentally battling the anxiety until it went away. The next day I was incredibly worried that my workmates were going to question my quick disappearance. I asked my partner what to say when faced with these questions, and without much thought she said to say that I had a headache. I agreed but quickly questioned my decision. Why did I have to be ashamed and lie about my anxiety attack? So many wonderful and amazing people suffer from the same mental illnesses that I do on a daily basis. Why can’t we just talk about it openly? This experience along with many others inspired my “Inside Out Challenge”. Mental illness shouldn’t have to be hidden away, let’s start to talk about it.

Do you suffer from depression/mental illness yourself?

Yes, I do and it’s an on-going struggle. This challenge helped me to express what I sometimes feel deep down and I knew it would bring others together so that we knew we weren’t alone. 

You use make-up as a form of art, other than make-up do you paint or?

I’d love to spend more time painting or creating different projects. Fashion has always been a love of mine and would love to invest more of energy into that as well, but as of right now i’ve been pretty busy with my Instagram projects. 

What has the response like?

The reaction has been absolutely incredible. I have been so moved by so many of the participants creations as well as the stories that they have shared. Many people have used the Inside Out Challenge as an opportunity to let their friends and family know about their own struggles. This is the type of conversation and awareness that I am so happy to hear is happening. To be honest, I was surprised by how many people have participated so far as well as the attention this is receiving. 

You managed to use your art to make a change, what else is next for you?

Thank you. I definitely plan to continue to use art as a way to evoke change as well as a social commentary. You’ll have to keep an eye on Instagram account as I have a few ideas up my sleeve that should come to fruition in the next month or so. If anyone is interested in collaborating on more social initiatives or mental health I’d love to get in touch. 

Follow Yasaman Gheidi on Instagram: @lilmoonchildd