Matisse Andrews Makes Peace With The Present

Matisse Andrews, curve model & makeup artist, gets honest about mental health, generational trauma, self-judgement, and our generation’s responsibility to keep talking about all of these things. 



Matisse Andrews Makes Peace With The Present

“If I’m going to be completely honest, some days it’s hard to get out of bed. It’s really hard. Talking about mental health is so important and I’m trying to do more of it. I get apathetic, anxious, sad, and low.”

MATISSE WEARS THE TRIANGLE IN TAUPE

“I don’t have a nine to five job where you clock in, clock out, and get paid every two weeks. In low moments, between jobs, I feel like I have no control and that can be really scary. I’ll start to ask, ‘What am I doing?’ That spiral is very real for so many women in this industry – models, makeup artists, freelancers in general.”

“It can be scary to not have routine. So, to get myself out of that feeling, I create routine. Waking up, journaling, walking my dog. Making sure to get out of the house. Going to yoga, getting my coffee, maybe sitting in a coffee shop.”

Matisse Andrews worked as a freelance makeup artist for eight years, before finding herself on the other side of the camera. Modeling can seem like a glamorous gig, but it comes with stop-and-go schedules and non-stop scrutiny. While Matisse’s career takes off in an increasingly accepting industry, she’s taking the time to examine the parts of herself that she is personally hardest on.

MATISSE WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“On my birthday, I mapped out the perfect day for myself. I woke up, I did hot yoga, I got a massage, and then I met a new therapist for the first time. She had been booked for months and her next appointment was on November 13th – my birthday. ‘That’s divine timing,’ I told her, ‘Sign me up. I’ll be there.’”

“I haven’t gone to therapy in years, and I wanted to start this next chapter on the right foot. To clear my mind, to tap into all my anxieties, to give myself tools for when I’m feeling low. Seeing her helped me jumpstart this new journey to battle my apathy and start unpacking a lot of the trauma I’ve been through from childhood to early adult life.”

“Trauma is a cycle. It’s passed down. It’s generational. Our parents’ generation didn't have [the mindset] or the tools to take control of mental health like we do today. It’s no longer taboo to say you are going to therapy or that you are on medication. Past generations saw these things as weakness. They picked up, kept going, and said they would deal with it later. But they never dealt with it – and put all of that on their kids.”

MATISSE WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“We are so lucky to be in a generation that is extremely conscious and open to tackling the trauma that has been passed down to us. Talking about therapy and mental health is so important. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. No one wants to talk about the heavy stuff. No one wants to answer the question, ‘What did you do today?’ by saying, ‘Actually, I talked about my dead mom,’ but it’s so important to have those conversations and to be transparent about what you are going through.”

Matisse is quick to point out both the importance and the luxury of therapy, citing more affordable options including text-based services that offer 24-hour support. She also advocates, however, that we start talking about mental health beyond the therapist chair. How do we step out from well-filtered social media personas and shine the light on what’s happening off-screen?

“I’m an open book – if you ask me the right questions. But I’ve been trying to be more vulnerable and proactive about talking about mental health on social media. On Instagram, your life looks amazing. In reality, you are on the couch depressed. Social media is a vacuum that creates all this doubt. It’s icky.” 

MATISSE WEARS THE TRIANGLE IN TAUPE

“I’m trying to be more forthcoming. Some days, I’m depressed. Other days, I’m happy – and that’s also okay. I’m a work in progress. I’m nuanced and complicated. I don’t always have the right, perfect, beautiful answer – but that’s my real answer.”

The danger with facades is that they can begin to look like facts. We see the glossy highlights and assume others are not having to do the same work in dealing with their pasts or navigating their futures. That work, Matisse argues, is not weakness. It’s the definition of strength.

“I always thought, ‘Life will just work itself out.’ I see other people who have fully functioning marriages, beautiful relationships and really great careers – seemingly without doing any work in the mental health realm. I figured that would be me, too. It’s just going to take some time, right?”

MATISSE WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“‘Time will heal,’ I thought. Then, it didn’t. I finally realized that I can’t just sit here, do nothing, and expect change. That’s insanity. So I decided to take [my mental health] seriously. I made a list of all the things I want to work on, all the tools I would like to have in moments I’m feeling hateful, stupid, or triggered.”

“The work is still internal and mental health is a long journey for most people. A lot of what [my therapist] and I work on is how I view myself because I’ve experienced so much pain surrounding how I look. I was bullied for being chubby as a child. In high school, every guy I would date would want to keep me a secret. I was that girl. It’s damaging and it formed my self-worth.”

“I was a makeup artist for eight years before I started modeling. I saw the industry changing – becoming more accepting of body diversity – but I never saw it as my opportunity. One day, a model on set said, ‘Why aren’t you in front of the camera?’ I told her she was crazy – and she sent my photos anyways. A few days later, she told me her agent wanted to meet whenever I was ready. It was Wilhelmina. I took the meeting and had a modeling contract the next day.”

 

“If you were to tell 18-year-old Matisse that she was going to be a model, I would laugh in your face. It wasn’t an option in my mind. Even as I started modeling, I didn’t see myself how other people viewed me. The whole thing was hard for me because I’m a control freak. My childhood was chaos, so as an adult, I want to create a world that feels comfortable for me – and try to do that by having my hands in everything.” 

“You have to be vulnerable in front of the camera, though. There are no secrets. I needed to become okay with the idea that people might pick photos that I didn’t love of myself – and to understand that’s because they see something in it; they see beauty that I don’t see.”

“The word ‘role model’ comes with so much baggage, but, the thing is, I get to represent women who didn’t have any visibility in the past. That wasn’t my original intention with modeling, but I’ve been in the industry for a few years and have already seen the impact – on how people view and find value within themselves.

MATISSE WEARS THE TRIANGLE IN TAUPE

“‘They will say, ‘I love your story, I love your background, I love that you didn’t think this was an opportunity for you and now you’re doing it. It’s inspired me to start my own career.’ Just, wow. I can’t believe the reach and impact it’s having on people.”

“At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make it like everyone else. I'm far from where I want to be, but I'm happy to be on the journey. Where do I want to be? I want to be in a place where I feel completely at peace with myself.”

Interview and Article by Molly Virostek. Photographed by Stephanie Lavaggi. Styled by Emily Newnam

Tags: bodytalk , Self

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Comments

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First of all you were absolutely beautiful. I find myself at the other end of the spectrum being almost 65 with my body changing in the reverse. My friends tell me I look 50 but it’s still so hard to except the changes you see every day. It is a youthful world But with all the baby boomers I think there’s opportunity for lots of older models, and less body shaming for all of us. Keep it up and if you ever need an elder female model for your product let me know I still have a pretty good figure

Rosie

Feb 2020


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