Make-up Artist & Fragrance Maker
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
My Mother & my Aunt. When I was little, we lived in midtown Manhattan. My mother was a dancer and my aunt was an opera singer. Their careers in the creative arts appealed to me. It seemed like a normal direction to take. On the flip side, in the early ’60s for many women, ageism, marriage, and motherhood seemed to curtail performance careers. I think it was really difficult for women who had to “put aside their art” for domestic life.
Around age 5 or so I recall being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Usually, whoever was asking would offer just 3 choices. Nurse? Ballerina? School Teacher? The concept that women could have jobs at all and not just marry “prince charming” and have a family was still a novelty. Then came amazing feminists like Gloria Steinem offering a very different philosophy. In her own words,
“Breaking the Boundaries of Gender”. Radical ideas. jobs, equal jobs, equal pay.
Also, I was inspired by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It’s all about the search.
Women who inspire you now?
The fearless Malala Yousafzai, an activist for education and women and children. It is painful to think of how many are denied basic rights that we take for granted.
“I rely on the tribal wisdom of female friends. Young and old. I am inspired by the energy of hard-working women. The mother carrying her toddler weighted stroller up endless subway steps.
The dedicated, thick-skinned women in politics.”
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother or any other women growing up?
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
No. Our society tries to de-sexualize and sequester women as they age.
Have you made career changes over the years?
I have expanded on my makeup career in the fashion world by collaborating within the art world as well. Makeup, dance, performance, olfactory arts…
Through the decades!
20s: I wish I had completed my formal education. I also wish that I spent more time with my father. I started my makeup career.
30s: I was very fortunate to travel to several countries for work. I still love to explore new places.I wish I had children and invested less time on unfulfilling relationships.
40s: I guilted myself about not having children. It always felt awkward when people asked “Do you have children?” and when you say no, they follow up with “Why? Don’t you want any?” I began dance performing and created an artisanal perfume line.
50s: I sometimes feel I don’t take enough personal, leisure time. The upside of my 50″s owning my own home. Writing and directing short films. Working on my own art projects.
Deflecting the negativity of others.
What are you most grateful for?
Has there been a significant circumstance good or bad that changed your outlook on life?
Yes, so many early deaths around me. Family and friends. It really makes you put age and time into proper perspective.
Thoughts on aging,
The downside…The inevitability of poor health. The upside…Savviness.
Your advice to young women of today?
Don’t let anyone tell you, “You Can’t”.
-Regina Harris xoxo
Images courtesy of Regina unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
Book/Novel: Madame Bovary (1856) by Gustave Flaubert.
Also, I love to read history particularly Ottoman/Byzantine, Mythology.
Film: La Belle et la Bete (1946) by Jean Cocteau
Scent: I make my own Regina Harris Perfume oil. I have always been attracted to woods, resins, spices. I started blending perfume oils when I was a teen after being unsatisfied with commercial brand scents.
Flower: So many but …. Foxglove. The fairytale like beauty and the mystery of it’s medicinal/poisonous properties
City or place: Venice, Prague, Marrakech, London for cities. Atacama Desert in Chile. Delos Greece.
Skincare product you can’t live without: Jojoba Oil
Lipstick: Tinted lip balm
Food/Meal/Cuisine: I love to cook for myself and others. Global cuisine. I can live and cook without meat. But, I couldn’t live without vegetables. A favorite thing is to explore various Ethnic markets, discover new fruits and vegetables, Mamey Sapote fruit from Mexico, Parwal gourd from India…
Song: I listen to everything but I love classical and world music.
A favorite is Ederlezi, a traditional Romani song.
Style Icon: I like anyone with individual style. I try to find my own way. Fashion from film, theater, paintings and the street are my tastemakers. I try and combine fantasy and functionality when possible and dress for my mood.
Artist: Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Josef Sudek.
The darkness with a hint of light always takes my breath away.