Words by Tue Elkjær
All pictures courtesy of Annastasia Yasmitha Nyvangstjerne
We met up with makeup artist and model Annastasia Yasmitha Nyvangstjerne – who we’ve proudly featured on Ugly Fat Magazine – for a chat about her modelling and makeup looks.
The first thing I want to talk about is the shoot you did with Asmus Koefoed, which we featured here on UFM. You were both model, makeup artist & stylist on the shoot, so you were very involved in the concept behind the shoot.
Exactly, but which shoot are you talking about? Because your feature combined two different shoots: One with the cat-like makeup & one outdoors, with the crazy makeup.
Lets start with the outdoor one, on the cemetery.
Well okay, that shoot happened last year. We met up at the cemetery in the evening around 7 & as soon as we walked into the cemetery it started snowing. So, we thought, okay, this is going to be cold as fuck, but it’s going to be an opportunity for some gorgeous, gorgeous photos. The idea behind the shoots was really just to do something glamorous, like a 60’s glamor, a mix of pin-up & goth. I wanted to do that, because of this dress I bought in a second hand store in the UK, a few years back. I really love this dress, I call it my Elvira Dress, because it really reminds
me of this gothic pin-up model Elvira. She has these gorgeous curves & gorgeous big breasts & she always dresses in a way, that shows off her body. I’ve always loved how she dresses, because I think it’s glamorous & classy, but still really sexy & with some pretty, gothic makeup, instead of just dark makeup, which I’ve done in a lot of my past shoots.
I do really like the dark gothic makeup, but I just wanted the makeup for this shoot to be a bit more light & just a bit more glamorous, instead of all-dark-gothic. Because, with the cemetery,
the shoot already have these gothic vibes. So that’s kind of the thoughts behind the looks.
Asmus & I had only been talking about doing a shoot together, for a few weeks, we barely knew each other at that point. So, the shoot was the first time we met together in private, but it was
such a fun shoot & he was so kind. I was literally freezing my ass off during the shoot, so he lent me his jacket between takes & made some hot-water-things, that I could use to warm up my hands, because they were turning blue – that’s how cold it was. Asmus was running to & from the camera & me, between snapshots, to make sure that I was all right. So, he kept warm just from moving around the whole time.
You mentioned the 1960’s as a style inspiration, but the 60’s is a very diverse style period. Is there any specific style from the 60’s, that inspires you?
More the pin-up style & rockabilly. I’ve always liked that, how women showed off their curves & it’s a style, where it’s okay not to be a size 0 or 2. I’ve always really admired that.
Of course, there were many skinny women at that time, as well, but it seems like the dresses were just made for women with curves.
You’re thinking of rockabilly clothing today?
Yes, but some of the old styles, from back then, are also gorgeous. I really love it. Sadly, I don’t have that much of that type of clothing.
Well, if you’re thinking original pieces from the 60’s, they’re quite pricey, you’ll need a fortune if you’re a collector.
Exactly, that’s why I don’t have that many pieces, but I’ve always been a fan of mixing & matching different styles.
When I was 12, I started being ‘alternative’, wearing all black makeup, all black clothes. I threw out anything that wasn’t black, because I started being all black & all dark. Then I had a few years, where I really tried to be gothic, but ended up looking more emo.
I tried so hard to be gothic, but I just didn’t know how. In the end, I finally got a hang of it, the gothic style & the gothic makeup. I also learned how to apply makeup correctly. Damn, I can really show you some horror pictures from before then, it was all just big, black panda-eyes & lipstick smudged all over my face, without any foundation or powder – no dimensions or highlighter or anything.
I’m guessing this was sometime before makeup tutorials were everywhere online?
Makeup tutorials weren’t there until I was like 15 & this is from I was like 12-14. It wasn’t available to me, my mom didn’t really do makeup, back then, she did when she was younger,
but not when I started being interested in makeup, so she didn’t really teach me anything about it.
So, I learned about makeup, by doing my own.
So, from age 12-16, it was pretty, fucking obvious that I didn’t have any idea about what I was doing (regarding makeup). It’s so clear, when I see pictures from back then, I can see all the flaws.
I’m so thankful for how far I’ve come with my makeup skills, but I wouldn’t have come so far if I hadn’t practiced & practiced throughout those years.
Practice makes perfect, obviously.
So how do you come up with looks, where do you find inspiration?
Sometimes I find inspiration on Instagram or just Googling makeup looks I’m interested in doing. Like that Darkness-themed Autumn Equinox party, where we met, I’d done a makeup look inspired by spiders.
My look was inspired by three different spider-themed makeup looks, that I’d found on Google. I just took things, from these different looks, mixed it together & put my own spin on it.
So, no copy pasting?
I never copy a whole look, I prefer to make my own makeup looks, so it feels like my own.
To me, makeup is all about originality, about creating.
My looks are my own creations.
You mentioned Instagram, do you have a favorite Instagrammer?
I’ve been following Jeffree Star, of course he is an amazing makeup artist, very talented, but I mostly follow him because of his lipsticks.
Jeffree Star is my favorite lipstick brand.
Basically, all my lipsticks are Jeffree Star, because they’re vegan & they last perfectly on your lips & they’re eye-proof, so I also use them as eyeliner. I also love his highlighters. I just love his brand.
You mentioned the lipsticks are vegan, but what kind of ethical values do you look for in your products?
Well, I prefer that my products are both organic and vegan, because that shows me the manufacturer has thought about the production process. It shows they’ve thought about ingredients, that they haven’t used any animal products or bi-products and that
means a lot to me.
Plus, I know vegan products are better for my skin, because I have really sensitive skin, so if I want to look good in thirty years, then I have to think about the makeup products I use today and I need to take care of my skin.
Personally, I also think vegan makeup products look so much better, than for example drug store makeup. I mean, some drug store makeup is okay, it’s good, but for me, high end products have just always worked better. I’d rather invest money in high end products, than instead of just spending the same money on a lot of different things. I would rather have 1 or 3 good products, instead of 10 products, that aren’t decent.
In my experience, high end products lasts longer too. With a cheap foundation I have to use four times as much, but with a really good foundation I can just dap a little bit and it’ll be enough for my whole face.
So, I really look for quality.
We’ve talked a lot about looks and how you try to find your own style, but we’re sitting here in Copenhagen, which is a very conservative place, style-wise.
So how do you navigate the city, what sort of reactions do you get, when you’re just walking around in Copenhagen?
Well, it’s funny, because when I started finding my style, when I was 12-13 years old, I got a lot of dirty looks.
Really negative looks and comments.
I had people saying all sorts of things to me on the streets, whenever I was outside.
It was very, very hurtful, because I was so young and I was just starting to find myself.
It’s a sensitive age.
I was pre-teen at first and then just a young teenager, so I was bloody sensitive… and I was extra sensitive.
I’ve always been a sensitive person, but back then I was really sensitive. It’s like, if you said my shirt was ugly, I was probably gonna go home and cry about it.
That’s how bad it was.
(Laughs) I like your shirt!
Yeah, well, I’ve evolved.
I talked with my mother about this, not that long ago.
She’s a person that just doesn’t give a fuck.
She’s a person with very strong beliefs, she’s an activist, she’s a rebel and a lot of people had said she’s crazy, because she’s just a person that does not give a shit about other peoples’ opinions of her.
Since I was like 5 years old, I’ve been fighting to get to there myself.
When I was younger, I went to this small private school, which was very small. We were like a family. Then, when I started experimenting with my style and became more extreme, I sort of pushed myself out of that community and they started pushing me away, because they saw my style as something dark and negative.
Then it became dark and negative, because that’s when my depression peaked and I started self-harming as well. But for some reason, I don’t know why, I’ve just always felt at home in these extreme looks.
So, I just got through it, no matter how much negative attention I got and no matter how many ugly looks I got out on the streets.
Then last year, I suddenly didn’t give a shit any more. I just decided, that some people are not going to like me and that’s okay. I can’t please everyone, I can’t be someone everyone likes.
Everyone can’t like the way I look.
The only thing that matters is, that I like the way I look and I like my dress and my makeup – That’s the only thing that matters.
When I made that decision, which took me a long time, it took me like 6 or 7 years, then I started walking with confidence. When I started walking with confidence, instead of walking with my head down, then people looked at me differently and it’s very rare today, that I get any dirty looks. When I do get dirty looks, I just laugh and smile, because I think it’s fucking hilarious, that they’ll give a dirty look to someone they don’t know or have any idea who is.
Yeah, well, dirty looks happen in Copenhagen as soon as you wear anything else than blue jeans and a sweatshirt.
Yeah, but you should be allowed to wear what the fuck you want.
Personally I couldn’t care less, if you wear something other than that, for example if a man wears makeup – men with makeup can look awesome – or a man is wearing a dress or a girl wears masculine clothes or girl without makeup or with extreme makeup or just a little makeup.
Whatever makes people happy, makes them happy, so they should just fucking do it.
That’s all that matters, making yourself happy by expressing yourself, the way you want to.
It shouldn’t matter if other people like it, because if they don’t, then they aren’t meant to be in your life. Honest to god, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
That’s what I think and thinking that way, is what got me here.
How did you get to thinking that way? What got you to a place, where you could just say ‘fuck it’?
That’s actually a bit of a sad story.
I was in a relationship with a man who hated me, for 3 years. He treated me horribly and he changed everything about me, because he hated everything about me.
He hated my weight.
He hated the way I looked, with or without makeup.
He didn’t want me to wear the makeup or clothes, that I liked.
He forced me to wear makeup all the time, because he thought I looked too young and too ugly without ‘normal’ makeup.
When I say ‘normal’ makeup, I mean a thick, thick, thick layer of foundation and powder, in my natural skin tone, a little bit of mascara and maybe a pink lipstick. He made me wear that every damn day.
I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that look, not at all, it would be fine for woman, who liked it.
You should wear the makeup, that makes you happy, but for me it was just a façade. It was a mask for me to wear, it’s not a look that makes me happy, it was not something I liked to put on, it was just something that cost me 10-20 minutes each morning.
For me, that look was just a mask I had to put on, to make him happy.
I find it interesting, that you call it a façade, is that because it’s a look that just tries to enhance, what’s already there, instead of being emotionally expressive?
Mmm. Yeah, exactly. Definitely.
I think it’s because I have very reddish skin, when I’m not wearing makeup and he didn’t like that.
He thought, without mascara, I looked too young. He was way older than me, he was 25 years older than me.
In the last year of our relationship, I was smoking weed everyday…
…and I smoked many times a day, from I got up in the morning, before heading to work or school and when I headed back from work or school. Still, I managed to do well at work and in school, I got high grades. I did fine, except I was always stressed, without knowing it, but other than that, I was doing fine.
I also drank every day, because he was an alcoholic, so I drank at least a liter of wine every day.
It was all just to be able to stand, being in that relationship.
He made me give up all my relationships, with all the people around me, even with my family, because he didn’t like my family.
When I finally found the guts to leave him, then everything just changed for me. Before I met him, I was the kind of person that faked it till I made it.
I faked not giving a shit, but secretly I cared so much, about what everyone thought or said about me. I was so insecure and I was so upset. But, after being in that relationship for 3 years, where he made me give up on everything that was me and after leaving him, I just reached a point where I don’t want to be dictated by him or anyone else, ever again.
I realized the only person I need to please and make happy, is me.
So, that’s how I got there, to the point where I don’t give a fuck. I’m in a really good place now.
Do you have any advice for people who are struggling to accept themselves and struggle with other peoples perceptions of them?
You have to remember, that you’re not set on earth to make everyone happy.
You’re set here on earth to find your happiness and find a way to live, that makes you happy and makes you want to get up in the morning.
Then you will also make others happy, because if you’re happy all the time and show people, how your life gives you joy, then you bring them joy.
You also need to remember, that you do NOT need a partner to be happy, that’s the last fucking thing you do.
If you think you need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be happy, then stop dating, stop dating immediately. You need to work on yourself, sweetheart, and find out why you can’t be alone, why you think you need someone else to make you happy.
The only one, whose responsibility it is to make you happy, is you. You need to do some soul-searching and find out why you’re unhappy and how to make yourself happy, because it’s not your partners job. It’s your partners job to love and build a life together with you and that’s a beautiful thing.
You should never get a partner, before you’re happy with yourself and actually love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, then how are you going to love anybody else?
Mhm, so it’s the exact opposite of an old school Disney movie?
Yes, exactly, really. Amen!
It’s ridiculous, because you really don’t need a man to be happy.
You need to figure it out yourself, what makes you happy and then go with it.
If you find a partner, if you have kids, then go with it, that’s beautiful.
I want kids myself, but I don’t want kids in order to be happy, that’s not why I want them, I’m happy now. I want kids, because I want to experience that part of life and I want my boyfriend, because he’s good for me and I want a life with him. But I’m fine on my own.
What I hate about Disney movies is, that they’re often about finding the love of your life and living happily ever after.
That just makes my think; why the hell don’t you just go for your happily-ever-after to begin with, you don’t need a man, to have a happy ever after.
You don’t need a man to ‘get saved’, no one can save you, but you.
You’re the only one, who can fucking save you, so just bloody do it!
But they are cute stories too and the only Disney story I really hate is Frozen.
Frozen, really? What’s wrong with it?
I just think it’s pathetic!
To put it as calmly and nicely as I can.
I just think it’s awful.
The one girl, with the powers, she’s pretty cool, in some ways. But, there’s just so much singing and some of it is okay. I think it might be the snowman, I just can’t stand him.
He’s just so, so, so…
Yeah, too silly.
I don’t know if it’s because of my age, but then again I watch new kids movies and I like those, but for some reason I think Frozen should just fuck off.
But is Frozen still going, is it trending with kids?
I don’t know, I don’t follow trends.
I never know what’s trendy or what’s the latest trend. I always find out about trends 4 months too late.
Right when it goes on sale?
I think that’s why most of my wardrobe is from second hand stores, which I think is more fun. I like to find something cheap, instead of going to some high end fashion brand, that costs like a 1000 dkr. I just think; you know how much stuff I could get for that in a second hand store?
Also, I love recycling.
….what about style?
I’m so much more than gothic today, in my opinion.
I do play with different styles now and I’m not always gothic.
I mean, today I’m wearing this purple top and I have no idea, what style that is.
It doesn’t have to be gothic for me anymore. I had a few years where everything had to be gothic, but I’ve reached a point where; if I like it, then I’m gonna buy it and if I like a makeup look, then I’m gonna do it.
So, it’s not so much about social or stylistic categories, but more about just doing it?
It’s about doing whatever makes me happy and doing what I like, that makes me happy. It’s the same with my painting.
Many of my paintings are, funny enough, very colorful. You wouldn’t expect that, when you look at me and see my makeup or the shoots I’ve done as a model and things like that. But my
paintings are extremely colorful and I think that’s because I have a very colorful personality.
I love colors, I just don’t wear them that much, because I think I look great in black (laughs).
What about your modelling, anything left to add about that?
I started modelling when I was like 13-14 and it was really just because I wanted some pretty photos for my Facebook, but it just opened up a passion for me and instead of getting some pretty photos for my Facebook, it just started being a giant ‘fuck you’ to everyone, who said I was ugly, that my style was ugly or I was strange.
I was bullied a lot in school and I was bullied for so many ridiculous things, so I just wanted to say a big; ‘fuck you, I can do modelling, see how many people like my modelling, do you still
really want to tell me I’m ugly’.
I want to say the same to anyone, who thinks I wear too much makeup or that wearing makeup is false advertising or something.
I just want to make it clear, that I can wear as much makeup as I please and if you think makeup is false advertisement, you need a pair glasses, because you can’t seriously think, that I naturally
have fucking purple eyelids and glitter on my cheekbones. It’s obvious I wear makeup, it’s not false advertisement.
To me it’s all about feeling like yourself and loving who you are and how you are and makeup helps me do that. Modelling also makes me appreciate myself and it’s fun, I love it. Every shoot I do, I always laugh my ass off.
So, it’s good fun and your passion should be fun.
You have a lot of other creative outlets besides modelling, with makeup, painting & drawing, but what’s your main passion in life, do you know or are you still sort of searching?
I wouldn’t say that I’m searching, I would say that my passion is just art, different kinds of art, that I can use to express myself.
I express myself differently, in all the different types of art I do. I also do a lot of writing, I love poetry. I also wrote a book, when I was 11 and I want to start writing books again.
I just love art, in all its different ways and creations.
Art, that is my passion, it’s just art in total. It’s what drives me.