OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
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By Nicole L. Gratson
It was a matter of time, but the mob has come for makeup, of all things.
First it was sports. Next came entertainment and comedians. Then, they came for your beloved box of cereal, can of beans, and your favorite bottle of pancake syrup. Now, we can’t even bond over beauty! It seems our mutual love for the latest lipstick obsession or hottest highlighter is no longer safe from the cancel culture connoisseurs and sanctimonious moral arbiters of the tireless woke Left, as they’ve successfully managed to creep into our beauty bags. Is it just me or are conservative shopping options becoming scarcer by the day?
Another day ending in “y,” another outspoken conservative unwittingly finds themselves on the cancel culture’s chopping block. This time, the ax came down on 29-year-old YouTuber and beauty influencer Amanda Ensing who was unceremoniously canceled by cosmetics conglomerate Sephora for her unabashed Christian and conservative views and staunch support for the MAGA movement and President Donald Trump. The Nashville native who boasts an impressive 1.4 million followers on her Instagram account by the same name/handle @AmandaEnsing and who has worked as one of the most sought-after influencers in the beauty biz, creating makeup tutorials and paid partnership videos for some of the biggest brands in the industry, came under fire early last week after the indefatigable, disgruntled Twitter mob and squad of sullen Sephora followers found her comments on Trump, MAGA, God, and the recent riots at the nation’s Capitol that left five dead and countless others injured and/or arrested, utterly intolerable, unforgivable, and just not very pretty. And at their behest, they demanded the beauty giant cast her to the deepest depths of the cancel culture dungeon where other disgraced, deplorable right-wingers now dwell for committing the sin of expressing their First Amendment right under the United States Constitution. The salty leftist tears were flooding Sephora’s Twitter and Instagram pages respectively with decries of Ensing’s outrageously immoral and “hateful rhetoric” as she dared to do the unthinkable – speak her mind. Naturally, the mob threatened with trending hashtag #BoycottSephora as they demanded – not asked – the immediate removal of Ensing’s latest Instagram video where she promoted Sephora-brand products and terminate their affiliation and partnership with her forever.
Admittedly, it was deliriously delicious to witness – until it wasn’t.
As expected, the shopping mall retailer succumbed to the insufferable onslaught of ultimatums and pathetic pleas, publicly ending their business partnership with the social media sensation, including removing her video and, reportedly, rescinding the payment deal for said video. How this is even legal is beyond me. In case you’re not exactly a well-versed beauty guru with a penchant for pretentiously priced products, Sephora is the go-to for “all things beauty,” the mecca of high-end makeup, skincare, hair care, frilly fragrances, and self-care accessories and has experienced an uptick in revenue in recent months despite the interminable Covid crisis. As a self-professed beauty buff, product junkie, and professional beauty editor and blogger, Sephora has been one of my highly-anticipated, weekly stops for well over a decade, a place I would excitedly visit to peruse the perfectly stocked shelves showcasing the latest and greatest in must-have beauty, all in a modest quest to perpetuate my youth – something everyone could get behind, political ideology notwithstanding. Or, at least one would think. Now, even blush and mascara are tainted by the polarization of politics and the on-going effort to suppress free expression, especially if that free expression is swathed in conservatism, Christianity, or MAGA. Oh, the reprehensible horror.
Here’s a little backstory on the big beauty retailer for those not in-the-know. Sephora’s highly- recognizable tagline amongst its consumers, “Let’s Beauty Together,” has been their brand identity from the very beginning. Their store staff impeccably reflects their progressive, inclusive approach with bearded boys flaunting a flush of rosy cheek tint and sparkly shadow, while gals of all ethnically diverse backgrounds flutter the brand’s fabulous faux fringes while enthusiastically serving you up a bag of free samples with every visit. Sephora was life for any beauty lover, akin to a Disneyland destination.
So, what exactly landed Ensing in hot water with the self-righteous woke? She had the temerity of committing the cardinal sin of tweeting the following: “The Left: I hate it here. America is embarrassing. Only we can riot and loot. Defund the police. Just do what the government tells you and don’t ask questions. The Right: Let’s fight for freedom. We love the USA. Defend the Constitution. We support our Military and Law Enforcement.”
This “hateful” rhetoric provoked the woke mob to collectively lose their shit, unleashing the bloodthirsty cancel culture vultures in the subreddit BeautyGuruChatter group to post #BoycottSephora until their demands of Ensing’s termination of her contractual relationship with the legendary beauty retailer was met. They cited Ensing as “an open Trump supporter and racist” for her “damning” Twitter post. Sephora finally capitulated to political peer pressure and responded with the following to one of their hysterical, panic-stricken followers: “Thank you for reaching out and bringing this to our attention. We were made aware that Amanda Ensing, an influencer contracted through one of our external vendors’ campaigns, recently shared context on social media that is not aligned with Sephora’s values around inclusivity. As soon as were informed, we made the decision to cease all programming with Amanda and will not be engaging her for future partnerships.”
Doesn’t sound too inclusive to me.
And, so Twitter’s right-wing users (whatever is left of them), along with Ensing’s legion of loyal fans rose in defense of the bold beauty buff, attacking the mega makeup giant for claiming their purported “inclusiveness” clearly excludes conservative voices. “Let’s Beauty Together?” More like, “Let’s Beauty Together, Unless You’re Conservative, Then You Can Beauty by Yourself Away From the Rest of Polite Society.”
Ensing appeared on Newsmax’ Greg Kelly show stating her legal team is in direct communication with Sephora as to why the beauty influencer was disaffiliated and booted from the cosmetics company after her candid conservative and Christian values were made public. She tweeted: @Sephora how does disaffiliating with me because I’m conservative fit into your core values of diversity, equality, or inclusion? How do you cultivate diversity if you silence voices that don’t fit into your political agenda? Words mean nothing if you don’t stand behind them.” My thoughts precisely. Sephora has yet to issue a follow-up statement.
But, isn’t that what the Left is all about? Words without any backup or substance? Think the way we do… or else.
Ensing told Kelly not only was she woke-scolded by the merciless Twitter mob and called every moniker listed in their handbook – racist, homophobe, xenophobe, even a WHITE supremacist – but her Hispanic heritage denunciated and brought into question. Fellow beauty influencers even reached out in an attempt to “educate” Ensing. Why not just throw her in a gulag for some good, old-fashioned “de-programming?” The Latin beauty assures she will keep her fans and followers updated and urged them to visit her upcoming beauty brand’s site, fittingly named MakeMakeupGreatAgain.com, to sign-up for details on the brand’s official launch date. A truly inclusive beauty brand that celebrates and empowers ALL voices, including all races, all creeds, all colors, all religions, and, yes, ALL political views. Now, that’s beauty I am blushing over.
Meanwhile, a long-time Sephora fan myself, I found myself turning the tables and rebelling, personally canceling the company without hesitation after news broke of cancel culture’s latest casualty. Then, I went to Sephora’s Instagram page to voice my unadulterated opinion and, as expected, was met with a barrage of woke-scolding harpies and keyboard cowgirls passionately advising me to take my hate off Sephora’s page and go spend my money at ULTA Beauty. Thanks, but no thanks. ULTA Beauty, Sephora’s lesser-known competitor, openly supports the Anti-American, Marxist organization known as Black Lives Matter. I need Sephora and other anti-conservative cosmetics companies to keep their political paws out of my makeup bag. If there was one place women (and men, too) could all come together sans judgement, and yes, exclusion, it was beauty. Exchanging tips and tricks and sharing product reviews offered a welcome respite from the dirty, divisive world of politics and cultural discontent that dominated news cycles and infiltrated social media feeds on the daily. The Left ruins everything and it needs to stop.
So, as I sit here tapping away at this piece, I’ve resigned to the idea of procuring all my beauty needs directly from the brands themselves, completely eliminating the once-convenient middleman that made Sephora so special in the hearts of beauty lovers everywhere. The Right and independent thinkers alike need to rise and revolt against this dangerously polarizing climate that incessantly seeks to obliterate those who they don’t agree with off the planet, into complete obscurity. Seemingly unbeknownst to the Left, however, cancel culture works both ways. Alienating half of your consumer base can negatively impact your bottom line. Hitting them where it hurts most – in the pocket – is an effective way of fighting back and gaining control of the culture that is quickly slipping away from conservatives’ grasp. This is America, where freedom of speech and self-expression have always been the fundamental values that make this country so exceptional and unequivocally incomparable. It’s why the impoverished, the subjugated, and the hopeful flee their native lands in the chance of capturing the great American experience. It’s not enough to stay silent and be suppressed into submission. It’s not enough to “let someone else” sort it out. We ALL must fight back before it’s too late – before we no longer have a country to fight for. It takes two wings to fly a plane – left AND right.
I commend Amanda Ensing for standing tall against the predatory cancel culture activists and courageously NOT caving to the woke mob. It’s not easy when everyone else is surreptitiously hiding in silence, safely tucked behind their screens, while simultaneously sliding into your DMs expressing their lackluster appreciation and blatant lack of participation. That’s simply just not good enough if we’re going to win this cultural war once and for all.
About the Author
Nicole L. Gratson is a columnist, essayist, freelance copywriter, beauty blogger/editor, and Lead Staff Writer and Editorial Content Manager for GoGirl Worldwide Magazine. She’s an unapologetically conservative, free-thinking American who identifies as a freedom-loving female who loves President Donald Trump and her age-defying skincare stash.