Many people are focused on superficial things like followers on social media, their credibility among their peers and whether their clothes are in style. For some people, these types of things are the only things they care about, and thus they seek out friends with the same narrow-minded approach to life. They look for people that look like them, act like them, do the same things. These people often judge others by the way they look and brush off anyone who doesn’t fit their perceived image of a good friend.
They would be missing out on meeting and befriending people who have all the qualities of a good friend, but don’t fit the mold. Rather, they choose their appearance for themselves without regard for the expectations of others.
Concetta Davis, a junior biology major, is one of the people they would be missing out on.
Davis has been on a journey throughout her life to find comfort in the way she dresses. As a child, she often dressed the way she wanted to, but fell into following the fashions of the people around her during middle school and early high school. Part way through high school, Davis rediscovered her desire to dress the way she wanted and has honed her look ever since.
“It started out with just a little bit of makeup and then it turned into shaving my head, then it turned into having the platforms, and all the makeup and the hair,” she said about the changes she’s made to her appearance over the years.
Though she’s felt pressure from the people around her in the past, Davis believes she has overcome that stage in her life.
“Now, even more than before, there’s pressure to not look like this, because this is the most extreme I’ve ever looked … and that only pushes me to go further, because I don’t want to be trapped in that mindset anymore where I’m afraid of what people are going to think and I’m scared to be whatever version of myself I wake up and want to be that day,” Davis said.
Davis’ signature look includes all-black clothing and intricately and thoughtfully designed makeup.
Most of the clothes that Davis wears are not items you would typically find on the rack at a clothing store, as she alters clothes and repurposes objects to make her wardrobe as interesting as possible. Besides her shoes and her jeans, much of her clothing started its life as something entirely different. For instance, Davis has a trailing skirt that she made from Halloween cheesecloth.
One of Davis’ favorite pieces of her wardrobe is a skirt she repurposed from a batwing-like shawl she wore in her cousin’s wedding.
“That’s got to be my favorite just because it’s so intricate and I feel like a lot of the things I make don’t hold up, because I’m not the best seamstress. So, things definitely have a shelf life. But that’s probably the most quality thing that I have that I’ve made into something else,” Davis said.
As for her makeup, Davis changes up her look from day to day to keep herself from getting bored. Though there are a few designs that she likes to stick with, such as moon shapes and x’s, she likes to make each day’s makeup different in some way.
“I can just sit down and check out and just paint. That’s the part that I love about it. If I did this exact [design] every day, I’d hate it,” Davis said.
She also frequently tests out new designs and comes up with ideas to make her artistic work unique.
“I have different brushes or lots of little — as weird as it sounds — lots of little things that I found, like scraps of different materials that have cool holes in them or something like that and I’ll either stick it in paint and stick it to my face and pull it back off to make a cool thing … Like if I have a pair of fishnets or something and I really like the way they’re crossed together, I’ll put that against my face and then paint through the holes,” Davis said.
Typically, Davis spends approximately two hours working on her makeup every day, using anything from lipstick around her eyes to eyeliner and eyeshadow. She only uses what’s safest on her face, though she does use acrylic paint on her neck.
However, there are some days when she doesn’t dress in her usual outfit and makeup. That’s when she’ll just wear a t-shirt and leggings.
“When I’m with people that I love and I feel very comfortable with, it’s always just like, I want to be comfy and I want to relax, and I want to have a good time,” Davis said.
Davis never expected to be respected and admired for just being true to herself but, as time goes on, she’s experienced people telling her just that.
“I would never think that I’m anything big enough to be an inspiration to anyone. The further I go along in my college career, the more people stop me and tell me those things, which always, of course, feel[s] nice, but I think there’s a part of me that thinks like, no one’s going to look at me, no one cares what I do,” she said. “[But] I would love to be that for people, and that’s something I would aspire to do, although I never thought I’d say that.”
To people who are nervous about dressing the way they want to and expressing themselves: Davis has advice to help you be your true self.
“People are going to look at you however they want to look at you, they’re going to say whatever they want to say about you, regardless of what you do,” Davis said. “And it really just doesn’t matter, because to me, the people that are not going to want to talk to me or that want to make fun of me for looking like this or are going to say rude and nasty things because of how I look — I don’t want to be near those people anyway.”
“And I know that seems like an easy thing for me to say because I’m already here, like, how much further could I go with my look?” she continued. “But really, people that you don’t know, what do you care? That doesn’t affect you, and people that you do know, they’re going to get over it, or you know, what do you need them for anyway?”
As Davis put succinctly, “I want people to like me for me, not for whatever I present as.”
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