Lauren Luke's YouTube subscribers are used to watching the self-taught makeup artist cheerfully demonstrate how to do a smokey eye or match their makeup to their look, but they were in for quite a surprise when they logged on and saw the 30-year-old visibly battered on camera. Although the bruises were fake, the PSA video that's appeared on her site has sent a clear message to women across the globe: Don't hide domestic violence.
Luke maintains a calm demeanor throughout the mock tutorial entitled "How To Look Your Best The Morning After," claiming that she's had a "rough time." She proceeds to demonstrate how to cover up fresh bruises with the proper foundation, even explaining the particulars of covering up injuries from "getting pushed against a coffee table" and instructing viewers to wear their hair down for more coverage.
The video depicts the domestic violence situation in an eerily realistic light, ending with onscreen copy that reads: "65% of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden. Don't cover it up." London agency BBH handpicked Luke to act in the PSA to reach her 439,8930 subscribers and the many other women who routinely seek out her online content. Luke said that she felt a personal attachment to the project from being in an abusive relationship herself. The makeup artist told AdWeek:
The bruising on my face for the video wasn't real, but my emotions in that video were. I had a bad experience in the past with a previous boyfriend. He never physically hurt me but I did sometimes fear what would happen next if I said the wrong thing. He could be overprotective and embarrass me in front of my work colleagues or friends because of his aggressive behavior. Sometimes it was like living with a volcano which could erupt at any second—I felt I was walking on egg shells just to keep him from exploding and smashing something across the room.
Luke seems like a very apt spokesperson for the cause, not only because of her own experience, but also because of her influence in the global beauty world. Magazines have been accused all too often of glamorizing domestic violence by featuring spreads with models made up to appear bruised and beaten. Just last month, Bulgarian magazine 12 was harshly criticized for a shoot that depicted models as well-dressed but severely-injured victims of abuse.
Agencies are beginning to see an opportunity in these YouTube makeup artists with large followings. Just last weekVolkswagen and ad agency DDB Berlin tapped Nikkie of NikkieTutorials to post a mock tutorial that warns women of the dangers of applying makeup while driving.
The PSA that Luke posted also includes a URL for her "Don't Cover It Up" campaign as well as a Twitter hashtag #dontcoveritup."To open up and be honest about something like this makes us feel weak among our friends and family, but in actual fact there is nothing weak about it," Luke told AdWeek. "Back then I knew the whole situation wasn't normal, but I didn't know about the help that is out there. And that is why I wanted to work with Refuge—to get the message out to anyone who may need help and support that it's time to stop covering it up."
Click over to the Refuge website for more information.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.