New housewife actress/director/Scout Mommy Kim Fields has been an polarizing and frustrating for addition to the cast. Fans of the show and Fields’ career were taken aback by a Kim's surprisingly homebodied personality. She's a woman who successfully avoided the perils of Hollywood and child stardom when few black women did, but can't bear being away from her husband for more than 12 hours. How does she direct “hundreds of hours of television” and corral petulant, ego-driven actors, but is overwhelmed by the prospect of a day on a boat with accomplished women? Did she even know what she was signing up for?
And while I’ll always lob innocent shade at Kim’s questionable fashion choices, I will forever admire her ability to shut down the bullshit, especially when it’s being spewed by resident crackpot and hypocrite extraordinaire, Kenya Moore.
In this week's episode, Kim hosted a “Beatless Brunch”—or an event that embraces natural beauty by requiring the women, who often won't go to the gym unless they are fully glammed, to arrive sans make-up. She extended the message via an auto-invite: “I wanted to invite you to a Beatless Brunch. My idea was to have us all come together with as little make-up as possible to celebrate our natural beauty. My goal with this is to celebrate how beautiful you all are without all the extra make-up. We have to remember that make-up is to enhance, not to cover up what you naturally have.”
Obviously, the women who have agreed to live their lives on television and therefore making themselves vulnerable to the judgment of millions, immediately balked at the idea. In the age of HDTV and instant memes, who would?
Honestly, I admired Kim’s idea. While the brunch may definitely serve as a coming out party for the next overused hashtag--#Beat is the new #Turnt--it could also work as an launchpaid for her lifestyle brand to market and/or monetize at some point.
Coincidentally, I hosted a birthday brunch on Sunday morning, and while I remembered to don my sparkly rainbow tiara, I was so swept up in preparing the food and decorations, I forgot to change out of my adorable yet mega-casual sweats. And I neglected to beat my face. Is it a big deal? Nope. I’m not a reality star. My catchphrases or shenanigans won't be giffed to be used by millions of people for years on end nor should they be (Do people still say "Cool beans"?).
And I understand the other side of argument. A few months ago, I was featured in an article for my local paper about Thanksgiving Traditions. As a writer, going from the behind the laptop to in front of the camera was a scary move, but a great opportunity. The confidence I had in my normally beatless face suddenly vanished at the prospect of it being seen by over a 500,000 people. Only then did I get the overwhelming desire to slap on the make-up with a putty knife. The birthmark on my face that I always claimed to forget about needed to be covered. My eyelashes, which are obnoxiously long and curly, needed mascara and maybe a fake set. And how haven't I noticed the bags under my eyes? It's easy to fall into a vanity spiral.
So was I surprised when Phaedra arrived in full but “natural” glam? Absolutely not. “Everybody knows a true southern belle never comes beatless, unless you’re talking about the vegetable, which I can extract from every salad,” Ms. Parks easily wins her case.
Phaedra is game enough to play along but not without compromising her principles. And when Kim asked her to “check her lashes at the door,” I almost wished Phaedra would've applied another pair right there in her foyer. Well-intentioned or not, you cannot tell grown women what to do. Once it was clear that the women wouldn't completely comply with the theme, Kim needed to move on.
The only one who arrived bare-faced was Sheree, who rightfully explained, “My face is always beat, make up or not.” And she's not wrong, she looked gorgeous!
Kenya, as usual, was supremely insulted. On the drive to the brunch she attacked Kim’s use of cosmetics and hairpieces. “She had a wig on her head that looked like two poodles fighting…Where does the natural beauty end? Because you’ve had two boob jobs and you’re wearing a wig” (Note: Breast reductions don't count as boob jobs).
Kim assigned Beatless Brunch Homework, asking the ladies to compose a poem about natural beauty with their tiny bedazzled notebooks and pens. And that is the exact moment the entire idea went too far.
“Make-up has always been apart of self-expression. Back in the day to the Egyptians and the Grecians, we adorned ourselves with clay and crayon," Kenya pointed out. I wonder what Crayola shade Cleopatra preferred.
One thing I admire about Kenya is that she always comes with receipts. Even if she has a short memory. Remember when she had Porsha escorted out of her Black Women In Hollywood party for not coming as her assigned character? She doesn't.
The wives spoke honestly spoke about how uncomfortable it can be to go out in public without make-up, especially when fans will take pictures regardless of how they look.
I truly believe that Kim, in her own preachy, passive-aggressive way, was trying to start a dialogue about the ever-increasing pressure on women, especially those in the spotlight, to look constantly look perfect. I can't help but wonder if Kim feels out-glammed by the other wives, and used this event as her way to connect with them on a level that's more in her comfort zone.
The message may have gotten lost in the overbearing execution, but no wine was thrown, no one was kicked or had their wigs shifted a little bit, so I’ll consider the event a success.
In a beautiful gesture of solidarity, new mommy Kandi Burruss took to Instagram last night to debut her beatless face and Ace's always adorable back of the head.
Photo Credits: bravotv.com; okmagazine.com