Leslie Torres

Behind the Thick Eyeliner: A retelling of intergenerational Chola culture

Faculty Mentor: Allison de Fren, Media Arts & Culture Department

Major: Media Arts & Culture, Critical Theory & Social Justice

Funding: Arts and Urban Experience Mellon



Over the past decade, chola makeup has become increasingly popular in mainstream media due to its adoption by A-list celebrities, musicians, and actors like Lana del Rey, Nicki Minaj, and Gwen Stefani. Despite its presence in mainstream media, there has been a disconnection between the origins of this makeup style and its significance within chola culture in Chicanx diasporas in Los Angeles. During the course of the following project, I conducted a total of 8 interviews were with womxn and men within the Chicanx community to speak about the intergenerational and intercultural dynamics and shifts drawn out by chola make-up in their own lives, within the Latinx community, in media, and in American society at large. The questions revolved around their relationships and associations with chola make-up, the politicized history of the chola and the Pachuca culture, and also questioned the evolving role of small Latinx-owned make-up businesses in the movement towards reclaiming chola make-up. Further, it examines the interviewees’ thoughts on the cultural appropriation of chola makeup into mainstream media and the increasing shift towards Eurocentric cosmetic styles in local Chicanx communities.


Watch my research presentation below.

Questions or comments? Contact me at: ltorres3@oxy.edu

View the presentation slideshow