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With shades named “Chuuk,” “Yigo” and “Pwipwi,” makeup artist and former Guam resident Eddie Nathan Winis shows his island pride in his new eye shadow palette.
The former Yigo resident just debuted his makeup collaboration with Allyson Rubin Cosmetics, featuring 35 eye shadow colors with names inspired by Micronesia.
“Every color represents me,” Winis said. “A lot of them were inspired by who I am, where I come from and the things I love.”
Micronesian-inspired eye shadow names
The blue glittery eye shadow in the “NateGlamz” palette is named “Micronesia,” since most of the islands’ flags are blue, he said. Several of the other colors are also named after different Micronesian islands.
“I named the gold color ‘Kimpa’ because that’s what we call gold teeth in Chuukese.”
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All colors are highly pigmented, to radiate beautifully on brown skin tones.
The shade “Stone Money” is named for its similar color to Yap’s famous ancient currency. A red-hued brown is named “Yigo,” after the makeup artist’s home village on Guam.
The glitter pink “Jen” is named for Winis’ cousin, who is the first person he came out to as gay.
Growing up with prejudice
Although Winis takes pride in where he comes from, his upbringing held him back from expressing his true self until he left home.
“I loved makeup my whole life,” he said. “But I couldn’t do it because being Micronesian, being homosexual is frowned upon.”
Winis dreamed about attending beauty school while growing up on Guam, but didn’t feel safe or comfortable showing that part of himself.
He said in the Chuukese community, “you’re not supposed to be gay. And when you’re homosexual in Chuuk, everyone around you, your own family mistreats you. They don’t respect you if you’re homosexual.”
Finding success expressing himself
“Growing up with that, it was hard for me to be more open,” he said. “And now that I’m out here, with this mentality that I have, it’s so much easier.”
He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to live with his aunt Francy Lewi, who has accepted and loved Winis for who he is.
“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I’d be where I am today,” Winis said. “She pushed me to be who I wanted to be. She told me not to worry about other people and their opinions. That’s one thing that stopped me from being the person I am. I could’ve been a makeup artist a long time ago.”
He’s spent the past two years working as a makeup artist and posting review videos on YouTube. His reviews and caught makeup brand owner Allyson Rubin’s attention, which led to their eye shadow palette collaboration.
Empowering young Micronesians
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In 2014 on Guam, Winis began the Micronesian empowerment group Natewined, in response to Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio’s statement that immigrants are “gaming the system” to work just enough to file income tax returns to claim thousands of dollars in tax refunds.
At that time, he was fighting stereotypes. Now he is using his platform to inspire others.
“I’m trying to aim on shedding light on the deeper issues that no one’s going to talk about: the LGBT community in Chuuk, FSM,” Winis said.
His goal is to empower and inspire young Micronesians to follow their passion, despite the prejudice they may face.
“It’s hard to be gay and to be part of the Chuukese community,” Winis said. “There’s Chuukese kids that tell me about their problems. If you’re from Chuuk and you can see that I’m doing well, and I’m Chuukese and I’m gay, I hope this inspires them.”
Winis said Chuukese youths are often encouraged to take jobs in construction or food service, rather than seek success in unconventional ways.
“If you want to be a makeup artist, do it,” he said. “There are so many talented Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Marshallese kids and none of them pursue their careers or the arts because they were told they can’t do anything because they’re Micronesian. I wish there was a way we could just tell them it’s OK to be different. If any other person could do it, you can do it too, and you can do it better.”
Reporter Chloe Babauta tells the stories of perpetuating culture, accountability on Guam’s land issues, and island life. Follow her on Twitter @chloebabauta and Instagram @mestisachamorrita. Follow Pacific Daily News on Facebook/GuamPDN and Instagram @guampdn.
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