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Painted: The Politics Behind Every Red Lip

A Black woman wearing a bright orange shirt and red pants applies makeup in a mirror.  Below text reads: Painted.
Charnel Hunter
The act of painting our faces is far from trivial. The history and culture of products like red lipstick and blue eyeshadow tell us a lot about power and politics.

Anita applies herself to learning the fascinating history of her favorite item of makeup: bold red lipstick. Experts and aficionados tell her about influencers who have shaped makeup throughout history, from Rosie the Riveter to Rihanna, and how the cosmetics industry has evolved over time.

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Kaia Findlay is a producer for Embodied, WUNC's weekly, live talk show on health, sex and relationships. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Audrey Smith is a writer, educator, and temporary producer of "Embodied" based in Greensboro, NC. She holds a Master's degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2018) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Oregon State University (2021).
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.