My Uniform: An Activist’s Glowy Skin, Long Dress, and Orange-Red Lip

My Uniform: An Activist’s Glowy Skin, Long Dress, and Orange-Red Lip


Jodie Patterson

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Owusu

My Uniform

An Activist’s Glowy Skin,
Long Dress, and Orange-Red Lip

As she travels the country lobbying against the 175-plus anti-LGBTQ bills currently circulating, LGBTQIA rights activist and author Jodie Patterson focuses on finding the words that might help change people’s minds, but she knows how she looks conveys a message, too. “These bills are dense. Sometimes it takes face-to-face contact to get through, which is why we go state by state, person by person,” says the 51-year-old Brooklyn-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation board chair, who’s the author of two books (her most recent, for kids, Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope, was inspired by raising her trans son) and a mom of five. Her secret weapons include a miracle vitamin C serum, a sweaty run (especially before speaking engagements), and a signature orangey-red lip.

In Austin to speak at a 600-person fundraising dinner—roughly the same size as the audience at her TED Talk on gender in Munich—Patterson says she still gets nervous. “In the past, I’ve made the mistake of letting my nerves take over and saying, ‘F*ck it,’ and giving no thought to how I look, and that didn’t feel good. So now I embrace the fact that all these people are going to be looking at me, and I dress and do my makeup accordingly.”

My 3-Step Skin (and Face Yoga) Routine

  1. This exfoliating jelly cleanser gives me a fresh, clean start in the morning, and it washes the day off at night, especially after being on a plane. The texture is light—you get more jelly than grit, so it’s great for people who are scared to exfoliate.


    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Cloudberry Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser
    goop, $28/$25 with subscription

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  2. Even if I’m not wearing makeup, this vitamin C serum makes my skin just glow like I’ve run a mile or two. It’s phenomenal.


    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum
    goop, $125/$112 with subscription

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  3. The all-in-one face cream is so nice and rich—and feels so good on my hands as I’m smoothing it over my face.


    goop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream
    goop, $98/$86 with subscription

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Every day I do five minutes of face exercises. I massage all the pressure points and pinch my lips into a duckbill while smiling—that one’s designed to help lift the mouth area.

My Makeup and Hair

I focus on my eyes and mouth—an orange-red lip is my favorite. I keep my skin fresh and do a middle part with my hair pulled back off my face.

I’m 51 and things are starting to fall, so I have some tricks. For clean, great-looking skin that lasts from cocktail hour till when I’m stepping off the stage three or so hours later, I smooth on glowy foundation mixed with a few drops of face oil. I want to look moisturized and fresh for the whole evening, and the face oil makes the difference there.

    goop Picks


  1. ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation

    ILIA
    True Skin Serum Foundation
    goop, $54

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  2. goop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil
    goop, $98/$89 with subscription

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I sculpt a bit with contour from Kosas and a brush. I trace a Nike swoosh over my cheekbones—so I’m angling up and giving my face some lift. I dust powder bronzer over my cheekbones, going all the way to my temple for a chiseling effect (and to add glow). I also contour around my nose and eye area to make myself look more wide-awake. These little things make a big difference, especially when you’re traveling and you look tired.

    goop Picks


  1. Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick

    Westman Atelier
    Face Trace Contour Stick
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  2. Westman Atelier Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer

    Westman Atelier
    Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer
    goop, $75

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  3. Otis Batterbee Precision Makeup Brush Set

    Otis Batterbee
    Precision Makeup Brush Set
    goop, $120

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My Eyes

I love a smoky eye when I’m onstage, because it looks like something even to the people sitting far away. Sometimes I dust a little purple and emerald shadow onto my lids, smoking them out (not too far out) with a brush. For regular, not-onstage days, I like brown shades.

    goop Picks


  1. Westman Atelier Eye Pods Eye Shadow in Les Nuits

    Westman Atelier
    Eye Pods Eye Shadow
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  2. Westman Atelier Eye Shadow Brush I

    Westman Atelier
    Eye Shadow Brush I
    goop, $58

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  3. RÓEN Beauty 75° Warm Eyeshadow Palette

    RÓEN Beauty
    75° Warm Eyeshadow Palette
    goop, $46

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My Favorite Red Lip

I always do an orange-red, dabbing on balm from Burt’s Bees first.

  1. goop Pick


    Kosas Weightless Lip Color in Electra

    Kosas
    Weightless Lip Color
    goop, $28

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A Great Workout Is Better than Any Makeup

I used to go to events right from the plane—and you could read it on my face and body. Now I make sure to get in the day before, and I make time to run for 30 minutes to an hour before I have to be somewhere. I get lost down streets, sweat, and calm my nerves, and the result is my skin looks great. I do some stretches afterward to decompress and help support alignment. It also helps me get to know the city I’m in, so my speeches end up better—when you know a bit about the area, you can fold in cool personal details.

    goop Picks


  1. Adidas by Stella McCartney TruePace Tights

    Adidas by Stella McCartney
    TruePace Tights
    goop, $150

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  2. Adidas by Stella McCartney TruePace Bra

    Adidas by Stella McCartney
    TruePace Bra
    goop, $110

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  3. Bala The Play Mat

    Bala
    The Play Mat
    goop, $120

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My Style Uniform: Onstage

I like long dresses with nice movement to them that make me look tall and substantial. I go for solid-colored formfitting pieces that show my arms and collarbone. So many brands do it well. The other night I wore a dress by the Senegalese designer brand Tongoro, and the pattern looked like a celestial explosion—it’s amazing.

My jewelry is as much a part of my uniform as my clothes. Even if I don’t leave the house, I’m putting on my stacks of Alexis Bittar bracelets.

  1. goop Pick


    Bondi Born Mustique Dress

    BONDI BORN
    Mustique Dress
    goop, $595

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    goop Picks


  1. Young Frankk Demi Varro Cuff

    Young Frankk
    Demi Varro Cuff
    goop, $136

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  2. Laura Lombardi Elena Bracelet

    Laura Lombardi
    Elena Bracelet
    goop, $180

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There are currently more than 175 anti-LGBTQ bills circulating in 32 states, including 23 aimed at children in schools and school sports. Donate to the Human Rights Campaign to help fight anti-equality legislation.

Recommended Reading

Yes, Say “Vagina”: 8 Ways to Get People Talking around a Table

Love How You Look, No Matter Who You Are: A Beauty
Entrepreneur and LGBTQIA Activist on Identity

How the Equality Act Protects Trans Youth—and What You Can Do to Support It

How to Get a Just-Had-an-Orgasm Glow

Hello, My Age Is: 49 | Makeup Artist Gucci Westman on
Glowy Skin, Sourdough, and Butt-Flattering Jeans

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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