Becca Ask was born with a vascular birthmark, and she currently lives in Minnesota. She discusses how found her purpose and herself over time.
“I have a port-wine stain, which is a vascular malformation of my veins. Basically, my veins are dilated, and they’re close to my skin’s surface. I also have a blue pigmentation on my neck. I used to hide it a lot with thick makeup.”
“Right before Christmas of 2017, I decided that I was done hiding my birthmark. When Nikkie Tutorials was doing the half and half makeup look as a part of “The Power of Makeup” series, I did it too, and I posted it. That’s also when I announced that I was an esthetician. When I went through esti school, I met a whole new group of girls, and at first, I was really nervous. Because you practice on each other’s faces, you don’t wear makeup. So, to have to come out day #1 with my birthmark around people that I didn’t know was really nerve-wracking. But, that experience really boosted my confidence because I had to walk around the halls with no makeup, and a ton of people that I didn’t know could see me. This experience helped me feel way more comfortable.”
Although this experience was initially stressful, Becca describes how it propelled her into embracing herself and her life. “I grew up in a small town, and I went to a predominantly white school. Although I was lucky in some ways to grow up in a small town, I definitely felt different, especially in middle school. That’s when I started wearing makeup. We had two elementary schools that merged into one middle school, and kids that didn’t know me or about my birthmark now went to school with me. I didn’t know how to react. That’s when I started to wear makeup. At that point, I felt different, and I began to feel uncomfortable talking about my birthmark and with people seeing it. People said mean things so it was hard for me to open myself up. I didn't want anyone’s judgment.”
“With being Asian, I also was stuck with being compared to my friends who were primarily white girls. I loved them, but how they looked was the standard. So, I was dealing with that plus my birthmark. And then, I was in that awkward stage where I was starting to like boys, and it was hard to see all my friends getting guys who liked them. I felt like - “Why won’t they like me? Is it because I’m Asian or because I have a birthmark?” In college, I got even more into that mindset. During that time, you feel like you’re supposed to find your boyfriend and who you’re going to potentially marry. For me, it was really intimidating to put myself out there. I didn’t get out of that phase, and I didn’t stop feeling like I had to wear makeup until I got out of college.”
Becca continues, “When I was younger, I used to hate makeup because the makeup that I used was for the sole purpose of covering up my birthmark. It was really thick, it was not cute at all, and it would wear off throughout the day. I was like - there’s got to be a better way to cover this up, and I started getting more into makeup as a creative outlet. Once I got the hang of it, I thought it would be really helpful for me to share that with other people who are like me. That’s why I went to esti school and eventually started my Instagram page. It’s true that everyone’s different with how comfortable they are in regards to their birthmark, but I wanted to create a sense of community with other people like me. I wanted to help people who didn’t know what makeup techniques worked for them. Growing up, I didn’t have the privilege of social media, seeing someone who looked like me, or anything like that. I just wanted to share my story, be open about it, and give a voice to the community of people who looked like me.”
When I first posted, I knew that there were going to be comments made. But I felt like - “if people are going to say rude things, it speaks more to them as a person than it does on me. I was fully prepared for that. I was still nervous, but I actually got such a positive response from my peers. Having a community of people in my life who don’t care what I look like was a huge support in getting me to where I am now. I can now say that makeup is definitely a creative outlet rather than a security blanket.”
“Now, I’m also a makeup artist. I love making other people feel beautiful. I do a lot of wedding makeup. My favorite thing is doing the makeup for the mother of the bride. Moms often put others first, so when they look in the mirror after I do their makeup, they’re like - “oh, my gosh. I didn’t know I could look like that!” I love seeing it.”
Becca continues to convey how making others realize their beauty has given her great joy. She’s also committed to fighting against the negativity that surrounds people who feel different.
“When people don’t understand something or they think something is different, they are impolite sometimes. But, a lot of the time, people who make rude comments are in a place where they’re hurting. There’s maybe something about themselves that they don’t like. When people make rude comments to me on Instagram, people always say ignore them, but I actually respond to them sometimes. I respond because I feel like people don’t always realize that I’m a real human, not just someone behind a screen. People need to be reminded of that. I try not to be rude, and sometimes it’s hard not to go off on them. I mostly respond in order to stick up for people who aren’t as confident. When people say things like that, not everyone can handle it.”
Sometimes, I’ll just say - “This is a really disgusting thing to say to someone. Think twice before you post. Who has the time to sit there on the internet and say rude things about someone? Who wants to sit there and do that? Who? To me, you’ve got to be in a really sad place or really hurting to sit there and bash people on the internet that you don’t know.” When I stand up for the community, people reach out and say “thanks for being so real.” Over time, I’ve learned that being genuine really encourages others to do the same. Anyways, why wouldn’t I be? God did not create me like this on accident. It was for a purpose.”