Then & Now: Pop Princesses Of The New Millennium

Last month I started a brand new monthly feature here on the blog, the Then & Now series, showcasing artists who have been in the spotlight for a long time and how their looks and styles have evolved from when their careers began to where they are today. It’s kind of like a “Where are they now?,” except that everybody knows where these people are now because they are still in the public eye. Admittedly, I started this series off with more of a “passion project” with the Then & Now: Steps post because, frankly, if you are in the US, you probably didn’t know Steps in their prime, let alone now! So, for this month’s post I wanted to focus on something much more recognizable and all-American. This is, however, also a major “passion project” because it is showcasing artists from one of my very favorite times in music: The Return of Pop.

After a decade of some of the strongest pop music of our generation in the 1980s, the musical landscape of the 1990s was an extremely different place. In the 1990s alternative and rock music really stepped to the forefront, as well as the growth of the Hip-Hop and Rap music industries and a much stronger emphasis on dance music, Pop music kind of fell to the wayside throughout the majority of the decade. It really wasn’t until 1997 with the rise of two power groups in pop music, Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, that Pop made a legitimate return to the mainstream. When Pop music came back, it came back in a MAJOR way. With the success of Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys came tons of other boy bands and girl groups. There were a LOT of pop groups at this point in time but not many solo artists finding major success in pop music. Then came one girl – one of my favorite artists of all-time, Britney Spears. After Britney found such success, there also came a slew of little blond pop singers – the next generation of “Madonnabes,” but they came in a much sleeker, more manufactured package. There were 4 of these girls, though, who found the most success and have all gone on to become among my favorite artists of all-time, including one who is my personal idol and the artist behind my favorite album of all-time. Each of these artists, though, from their manufactured, packaged Pop beginnings have affected me in a really massive way. I am really excited for this opportunity to pay homage to them and showcase each one. So, let’s get right to it!

BRITNEY SPEARS

Britney Spears 1999
Britney Spears 2011

Britney’s career began in 1999 with the massive success of her debut single and album, “…Baby One More Time,” which featured one of the most iconic music videos of our generation, (which you can watch below.) Britney became America’s Sweetheart in many ways, as well as sparking controversy at every turn. She perfectly walked the line between girl next door and full-blown sex kitten, all starting at the tender of 17. Her album and single sales were massive, her music videos defined music videos as a promotional tool and an art form for the period and she built herself into a major pop idol and icon for a whole new generation of pop music fans. I remember sitting with my best friend, Don, and having the longest conversations about her single choices, live appearances, costumes and any element of her career that we could find words on, as well as freeze-framing her music videos to learn the choreography. Britney was always that kind of artist in the early years of her career.

As time went on, Britney’s image began to harden more and more, following her breakup from fellow pop icon Justin Timberlake, quickie Las Vegas wedding to a childhood friend and marriage to dancer, Kevin Federline, popularly known as “King of the Douchebags,” as well as a pile of other controversies. Her music became darker, as well, with much more of an edge and overt sexual overtones and increasingly adult themes and references. Things really came to a head, though, in early 2007 after her divorce from Kevin Federline and birth of her two children, when Britney checked herself into multiple rehab centers, shaved her own head in a public salon, attacked a parked car with an umbrella and just generally had a massive public meltdown. She lost custody of her children after this and began dating and traipsing around Los Angeles with members of the paparazzi and just appeared to be heading downhill fast. It was so severe, in fact, that after an incident in which she held her children hostage during a visitation, she was deemed unfit to make decisions for herself and was placed under a conservatorship by the state of California. Somehow by late 2008, Britney managed to pull herself together and made a really massive comeback with her album, “Circus,” and has returned to the forefront of the music industry, which was only solidified by the release of her absolutely brilliant most recent record, “Femme Fatale,” which featured some of the most brilliant singles of her career, including one of my personal favorites, “I Wanna Go,” (the video for which you can check out below.) Most recently, it was announced in early 2012 that Britney had signed on to be one of the judging panel for the US version of “The X Factor,” alongside Simon Cowell, LA Reid and Demi Lovato.

For my Britney Spears look, I decided to feature the look for the cover and promo images for her album, “Femme Fatale,” which featured a gorgeous brown smokey eye look with a really strong white highlight at the inner corners of the eyes. Let me also say that the images of this look are a little unusual because I had to take them on the go, due to a late morning and having to get a little sneaky and take these pics in a public place that shall not be named! It’s kind of funny, though, because each of the looks in this post have kind of completely different lighting and general appearance because I am still in the process of sorting out lighting in m y new place.



PRODUCTS USED:

FACE : 
Covergirl TruBlend Foundation in Natural Beige
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Covergirl TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder in Translucent Light
Sedona Lace Contour & Blush Palette (deep contour & gold-toned highlight)
Maybelline Expert Wear Blush in Dusty Rose

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Freestyle, Backdoor and Kinky
TheBalm Nude ‘Tude Eye Shadows in Sassy, Sultry and Serious
Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash Mascara in Blackest Black

LIPS:
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain in Honey
Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Air Kiss

CHRISTINA AGUILERA

Christina Aguilera 1999
Christina Aguilera 2012

Christina Aguilera’s career technically began with her debut single, “Reflection,” from the soundtrack to the Walt Disney Animated feature “Mulan,” but she really shot to fame with the first single from her self-titled debut album, “Genie In A Bottle,” the video for which can be seen below. The success of this track and her subsequent singles from this record led to her winning a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. She also took part in the massively successful collaboration for the soundtrack to “Moulin Rouge,” “Lady Marmalade,” alongside Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim, which earned her even more Grammy Awards. She also released Spanish language and Christmas albums that same year. Christina took a very different direction with her sophomore album, “Stripped,” taking full creative control of the record and really establishing herself as not only one of the most incredible vocalists of our generation but also a really fascinating, brilliant and skilled songwriter and performer. Christina was also the first concert I ever went to, on her co-headlining tour with Justin Timberlake, “Justified/Stripped.” I also saw her twice on her “Back To Basics” tour in support of her third album, of the same name, and she remains one of the greatest live performers I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

Between the releases of her third and fourth studio albums, Christina’s life went through some pretty major changes – she married and gave birth, as well as getting divorced. Her fourth album, “Bionic,” took a very different, much more dance-oriented direction than anything she had done before and, unfortunately, it seemed to garner a negative reaction from much of the mainstream media. This coupled with some controversies surrounding her divorce and the lackluster response to her film debut, starring in “Burlesque,” alongside Cher, caused people across the internet to begin referring to her as “Floptina.” Still, Christina is coming back in a pretty major way this year, with her meteoric star turn as judge on one of TV’s hottest shows of the past year, “The Voice,” as well as a brilliant new single just leaked yesterday, called “Fuck Your Body.” You can check out a YouTube video of this new single below.

For my Christina Aguilera look, I decided to recreate the look from the 2012 photo above taken earlier this month at a filming of “The Voice.” This was Christina debuting a “new look,” featuring much stronger makeup than you have seen Christina wear before, as well as purple-streaked hair. As soon as I saw these pics, I knew that I wanted to recreate this look for this post!



PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Calvin Klein Infinite Hydration Moisturizing Foundation in Toasted
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Covergirl TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder in Translucent Light
Sedona Lace Contour & Blush Palette (deep contour & gold-toned highlight)
Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
Covergirl Classic Color Blush in Iced Plum

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Freestyle and Rockstar
Pop Beauty Lid Silver Palette Eye Shadows shades 2 and 4
Smashbox Loose Shimmer in Burlesque
Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Liner in Pure White
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen in Black
Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash Mascara in Blackest Black

LIPS:
NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme in Antwerp
E.L.F. Glossy Gloss  in Sweet Salmon

JESSICA SIMPSON

Jessica Simpson 2000
Jessica Simpson 2012

Jessica Simpson began her career on a very small gospel music label and recorded an album, “Jessica,” but was released from her contract when the label went bankrupt. After this, Jessica made the move into secular Pop with the release of her debut single, “I Wanna Love You Forever,” from her major label debut album, “Sweet Kisses.” On this record, Jessica also recorded her first duet with who would eventually become her first husband, Nick Lachey of the boy band 98 Degrees, (the video for which can be viewed below.) After the couple got married they signed on to star in their own reality series for MTV, “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica,” which catapulted them both into a level of fame they hadn’t experienced before. This also helped Jessica’s third album, “In This Skin,” become her most successful record to date and made Jessica a household name.

It wasn’t too long after “Newlyweds” ended that Nick and Jessica divorced. Jessica went through a few different whirlwind relationships with famous football player Tony Romo, as well as Hollywood lothario and singer-songwriter John Mayer. Eventually, though, Jessica settled into a relationship with Eric Johnson, another football player to whom she is now engaged and has one child with him. After an only moderately successful move away from Pop and into Country music, Jessica hasn’t done much in terms of music since 2008 when she released her debut Country record, “Do You Know?” featuring one of my favorite songs of her career as first single, “Come On Over,” (the video for which can be seen below,) but she has found massive success in other areas, including building a fashion empire with her cute and affordable line of shoes and clothing, as well as the brilliant documentary series she filmed called “The Price Of Beauty.”

Earlier in 2012, Jessica shot a cover for Elle Magazine where she was fully nude and VERY pregnant. While I am sure what most people noticed about this image was her giant pregnant belly, I was immediately struck by the makeup she wore in the pictures. I was not particularly a fan of this look and it’s unblended line above the crease but it stuck out to me so much more than the actual naked pregnant image that I knew it had to be the one I recreated!




PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup in Natural Beige
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder in Soft Beige
Revlon Beyond Natural Blush & Bronzer in Peach

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Kinky, Barlust and Backdoor
Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadows in Buck and Naked
L’oreal Eye Highlighter Pencil in Peach Chrome
L’oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara in Black Brown
LIPS:
Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Petal
Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Whisper

MANDY MOORE

Mandy Moore 1999

Mandy Moore’s career began when she was just 14 years old when she released her debut single, “Candy,” from her debut album, “So Real,” (the video for which can be seen below.) Mandy was the youngest of the pop princesses of the time and kind of had the most “squeaky clean” image, which is something she has managed to maintain throughout her career. “Candy” was a moderate hit, as well as some of her subsequent singles, like “I Wanna Be With You,” and “In My Pocket,” but it wasn’t until she started acting that Mandy began gathering a considerable amount of attention. She made her film debut in 2001’s “The Princess Diaries” but had her first starring role in 2002’s “A Walk To Remember,” based on one of my favorite books of all-time by Nicholas Sparks. Mandy has starred in many of my favorite films of all-time, including voicing the main character in my favorite Disney film, “Tangled.”

One of my favorite things about Mandy’s career and a big part of what makes her my personal idol is the fact that when she returned to music after a hiatus to work on films she made the decision to take control of her career and make the type of music she wanted to, Folk-influenced Pop, knowing full well that it wasn’t exactly the type of music that people were clamoring to buy or that radio was going to be quick to play. She hasn’t found much success in that form, to be honest, but she has developed a very loyal following with this sound. It also happens that for years when I was younger, (like, a year younger,) and still determined to live out my dream of music stardom, even prior to Mandy making this move, this was the type of music that I dreamed of making, as well, which made Mandy moving into that realm extra inspiring to me. Also, as I mentioned in the intro, Mandy’s first full-length, Folk-infused record, “Wild Hope” remains my favorite album of all-time. One of my personal anthems in life, which was included on my “personal anthems” Beausic Original Playlist, “The Queen,” is included on that album. It is called “Extraordinary,” and I have included the music video for it below.

Before moving on to the look, I also had to include a little sidenote about the fact that I actually got to meet Mandy on her “Wild Hope” tour. I had just read “The Secret” around that time and was convinced I could have anything I could possibly want out of life, so when I got tickets to two separate dates on that tour, I was determined that I would meet her and through a random series of circumstances, I won a meet and greet with her before the second show! Since I was so obsessed with “The Secret” at the time and kind of credited it with my getting to meet her in the first place, I actually took a copy with me to give to her, which is kind of a dorky move but she was really appreciative and sweet about it! I also got to take a picture with her, which you can see below. Let me just say, though, it was a very different time in my life when this pic was taken and it is really reflected in this picture! Also, the other person in the picture is my Mom!


For my Mandy Moore look, I am not entirely sure where this actual look comes from. I know it was around the time of either the release of “Wild Hope” or it’s follow-up “Amanda Leigh,” but I’m not sure which. It was sometime between 2007-2009. I selected this particular look, though, because I felt like it really personified Mandy’s general style throughout her more recent career. I also filmed a tutorial for this look because I feel like so many of my recent tutorials have been for really full-on or over the top looks, so I really wanted to do a tutorial for a more natural, everyday wearable look and, really, who captures that look better than Mandy? Check out the tutorial below!



PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Covergirl TruBlend Foundation in Natural Beige
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Covergirl TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder in Translucent Light
Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Sierra Sands
Physician’s Formula Multi-Colored Blush in Blushing Berry

EYES:
Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadows in Buck, Half Baked, Smog and Darkhorse
Rimmel London Soft Kohl Kajal Liner in Pure White
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen in Black
Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash Mascara in Blackest Black
LIPS:
Revlon Lip Butter in Gumdrop
Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss in Peep

So, there you have the second “Then & Now” post here on Beausic and I really hope you guys enjoy it! Like I said before, this one was especially exciting for me because it was focusing on artists who came from my very favorite period in music and each of these artists is among my very favorites to this day! They also have all been massive influences and inspirations to me in their own way! I hope you guys were able to find a little influence or inspiration from this post and these artists, as well! In the meantime, I wish you all a beautiful weekend and a beautiful life!

Jason

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