- Words Miriam Balanescu
Makeup influencer Jacinda Pender, aka @adultsdrink, chats with Notion about their/her creative journey, what beauty means to them/her and how, as a social media star, they/she experience the best of both worlds.
The name Jacinda Pender may not be immediately familiar to you, but the account @adultsdrink is sure to ring resounding bells. The Instagram moniker of a makeup artist born in Tennessee and raised in Georgia, Pender first became immersed in the world of beauty through YouTube, especially the videos of Jackie Aina and Raven Elyse.
In 2018, the Black queer artist took to Instagram to dish out their most dazzling avant-garde looks and stirred up an instant storm. Ever since, the femme/non-binary beauty expert has been sweeping in an ardent community of followers. She/they have a particular penchant for otherworldly aesthetics, with a dash of sci-fi thrown in. Her/their extra-terrestrial-feel lip looks are among our favourites.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing. Since moving to LA last year in the thick of the pandemic, Pender has lent their voice to issues of race and politics – and experienced the double-edged sword of social media’s fans vs trolls.
Notion chatted to Pender about not getting lost in the sauce, staying genuine and their/her advice to other queer Black creatives.
Your beauty looks are amazing! When did you first realise your passion for makeup and what inspired you to share your creations online?
Thank you! I think it was around junior year or senior year of high school when I knew makeup was something I wanted to do seriously, not even just makeup, but art in general. I’ve always had an acquired taste for art since I came out of my mother’s womb, so I knew pursuing the arts was something I was destined to do. I think what inspired me to start sharing my creations online was hearing a lot of people telling me how talented and gifted I was; therefore, I wanted my work to reach a bigger audience beyond the little, small town I resided in. I don’t try to be an inspiration for folks – that’s not my goal here – but it is comforting to know that my work does inspire and influence.
What does beauty mean for you?
Beauty to me means freedom and vulnerability. When I think of beauty, I think of raw and unfiltered versions of ourselves.
How has the past year impacted your work?
Oh wow, I’m going to be honest, it’s been overwhelming but in a good way. A lot of doors have been opening up for me, so I give thanks to the universe for that. Luckily, I’m not getting lost in the sauce, so I’m able to keep my head straight and really convey what’s most important to me through my work.
Through your social output, you’ve been a strong advocate for movements such as BLM. Do you think it is important for social media stars to speak up on important issues?
I mean, yes to a certain extent because, you know, last summer during the BLM protests and social media suddenly highlighting the injustice Black communities face, some of it came off performative. I feel like if you expect media stars and celebrities, in general, to speak up on social issues, it’s not going to come off as genuine as you expect realistically speaking. I feel in general when it comes to activism and speaking up online, a lot of folks confuse performative allyship with genuine human decency – do not speak up on things only because they’re “trending” during that moment. Your solidarity should go beyond the internet.
What do you hope your followers will take from your work?
That anything is possible. No matter the circumstances you are in, YOU HAVE AGENCY. You are in control of your future and you’re the only one who knows what that looks like, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What has it been like having such a huge social media community?
Woo. It’s been good and bad honestly. I feel like I’m living the “best of both worlds” in terms of having a huge social media presence and people really resonating with my work. I feel like when it first began of me slowly building up this huge audience, I was quite terrified because people love projecting their insecurities onto you, therefore you’re only an idea or concept to them. All in all, I’m grateful that I’m able to share my work and art with the world – that means a lot to me.
What has been the highlight of your journey so far?
Honestly, learning how to say no and knowing your worth. I’ve learned that if you stay silent too long, people will use it to their advantage.
What would your advice be to other aspiring makeup artists, especially those from queer Black communities?
I know this gonna sound cliché as hell, but you can honestly do anything you set your mind to. Whatever you’re striving towards, you’ve got this in the bag. You know, makeup is art and art is makeup and whatever that looks like to you, share it with the world.
Where is your happy place?
My happy place is my car honestly, especially long drives while having my music blasting – that’s where I feel most at peace.
If you could have any superpower, which would it be?
I wouldn’t mind having superspeed because as someone who procrastinates a lot I’d love to be able to complete things in a super speedy manner.
What’s on the horizon?
Not to be vague but a lot of things. I’m working on a few projects right now that I know folks are gonna gag over so… you’ll see it when you see it!