High school senior spends four hours perfecting his makeup for picture day
As anyone who battled teenage acne will know, picture day at school always felt like the most torturous process imaginable. You'd always wake up at least an hour earlier than normal, spend what felt like an eternity in front of the bathroom mirror with a kit full of creams and ointments, before eventually accepting the fact that you were doomed to look like pizza forevermore.
However, if you were a girl, you at least had the option of covering up your perceived imperfections with makeup. But the boys? Well, they just had to suck it up.
As someone who has a long history of skin troubles, however, I've always thought that it was unfair to say that only women were allowed to wear makeup. After all, deep down, I'm sure guys care about their appearances just as much as girls do - they're just told that doing so is too feminine, and so they ignore it.
Thankfully, though, that stigma is beginning to change, with more and more guys embracing cosmetics as a means of self-expression. And one of them is Kevin Kodra, an 18-year-old from Toronto.
After years of not feeling entirely comfortable in how he looked, Kodra began experimenting with makeup - but he didn't always wear it in public. In fact, he says, he felt anxious about picture day for years, as there was always some element of his appearance that he wasn't totally happy with.
But, rather than carry that apprehension with him to the end of his high school career, Kodra decided that his final school picture would be totally flawless. So, he woke up at 4 am that morning, spent three to four hours in front of his mirror, and made sure his face was beat for the gods before setting foot outside his house.
And it totally paid off.
Earlier this week, the teen shared the snap of the result to Instagram, captioning it:
"In honour of my 18th birthday, here’s my senior photo. Really though, 17 was a wild year. I made memories that I’ll never forget. Thank you to everyone who was by my side every single day. From friends to family and even you guys, from the bottom of my heart, thank you."
"All of my yearbook pictures were really bad, like really bad," he said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I either had a bad breakout or bad hair color (because I went through a lot of hair color stages), and it was just really bad. So I said, let me just go all out. Let me do what I love doing the most: glam bronzy looks."
Kodra also explained that the glam look wasn't just something he did for himself, but for any other man or boy out there who has an uncertain or negative opinion about guys wearing makeup.
"My main goal was to use my platform to encourage younger kids," he said.
"A man in makeup is normal. I want my positive experience with my identity to become normal and break the stigma against not only men in makeup but also one's sexuality and identity. And I wanted to have my final hurrah in high school. I wanted to have my makeup on full-glam so that I could [send the message to] people to do whatever you want. No matter what obstacle you have throughout your four years, it’s not going to matter later on. It’s whatever you do that’s going to set your path."
As well as doing conventional high-fashion looks, Kodra also experiments with more avant-garde stuff, too. He currently has almost 70,000 followers on Instagram, and is working hard each day to battle the stigma associated with men in makeup.