“I absolutely love makeup,” says Rand Jarallah, speaking to Vogue Arabia. “It’s my medium to create things,” adds the activist. Actively involved in human rights since she was 15 years old, Rand Jarallah dedicates herself to being an advocate for women and children, using beauty products as a tool to spread awareness. The 25-year-old served in the United Nations Population Fund, where she worked on a series of campaigns and videos (“Reversing the Trend” and “#7DaysofMakeup”, which explored gender-based violence), which were recognized globally by publications including The New York Times and Marie Claire.
The youngest of four, Jarallah recalls how her older sister, nine years her senior, introduced her to the world of beauty products: “When I was 11, I would watch her get ready in the mornings and transform into this different person with makeup. I was so fascinated.” YouTube and Instagram tutorials didn’t exist when Jarallah was growing up, and in occupied Palestine, access to quality beauty brands and tools was very limited. However, that didn’t stop her from experimenting with products. Blogs and Vlogs emerged while she was studying psychology at Birzeit University; she credits Michelle Phan makeup tutorials and Pat McGrath editorials for kick-starting her talent. At the same time, Jarallah admits that her passion for makeup was conflicting with her personal beliefs: “I have always been a feminist, so I was ashamed to admit that I loved cosmetics,” she recalls. “But as I got older, I realized that makeup isn’t inherently sexist or misogynistic. It’s art.”
The 25-year-old went on to develop an online women’s rights campaign called Randistic in the beginning of the year. The campaign is a series of photographs, makeup tutorials and videos, conceived when Jarallah came across a Fight Club Halloween tutorial on Instagram. She mimicked the video by painting bruises all over her face before posting the image on Facebook. “The photo and message went viral,” she recalls. “The responses were overwhelming, so I decided to keep doing similar projects.” The looks, each of which take anywhere from an hour to over six hours to create, explore pressing global crises, including the refugee crisis, gender-based violence, anorexia, child brides, and global warming. To create the avant-garde looks, Jarallah reaches for Mehron makeup, a special effects makeup brand that features latex, spirit gum, and body paint. As for her everyday makeup routine, the human rights activist sticks to cruelty-free favorites, such as Kat Von D, Make Up For Ever, Makeup Geek and Anastasia Beverly Hills—a further testament to her unrelenting desire to make a difference.