The artist hopes to inspire young girls by showing them what stars look like without makeup
Colbie Caillat and a crop of other celebrities go without makeup in the artist’s music video for her new song, “Try.” The song is about the pressures of modern womanhood: “Put your makeup on, get your nails done, curl your hair, run the extra mile, keep it slim so they like you.”
Calliat wants women to reject these rules, and uses her lyrics to drive that point home: “You don’t have to change a single thing. You don’t have to try.”
“‘Try’ is written from my personal experience having so many insecurities, as people do and I think women especially do,” Caillat told TIME. “We see people looking perfect on TV and compare ourselves to them.”
This is first video Caillat didn’t prepare for physically. “Hair and makeup is usually about a two and a half hour process,” she says. “For this video, there’s not any editing or retouching or covering up any blemishes. Nothing like that. I didn’t diet beforehand. I didn’t go and get my hair done or my nails done. I didn’t get my eyebrows done or tinted. I didn’t even have a stylist for the video. It was a really nice feeling to go in there and show the way I look without fixing it.”
Celebrities like Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Kelly Osbourne, Sara Bareilles, Natasha Bedingfield and Hayden Panettiere all join the singer in stripping off their makeup in the video. Caillat says the experience was emotional, especially as someone who grew up in an industry that places a premium on physical perfection. “It was scary at first. But I have these nine beautiful women who are in the video with me who are not wearing makeup as well, and some of them were crying during the performance, like it was a liberating experience.”
The video for ‘Try’ highlights a recent trend of wearing less makeup, or going completely natural. A few months ago women posted natural photos of themselves using the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie, with the goal of raising money for breast cancer while influencing societal expectations of beauty for women. And while several waves of the no makeup movement burned quickly on Facebook and Twitter—even the female TODAY show hosts went without makeup for a day and are included in Caillat’s video—celebrities are still focused on getting glam for the camera.
Caillat says movements like this one take time to influence Hollywood norms: “The more you see something is okay, the more comfortable you feel doing it and being a part of it. I was on TV today, and I didn’t feel comfortable not wearing makeup, but the point is to start doing this little by little.” For herself, she’s trying to look in mirrors less. “I think it’s important to be a role model,” she says. “I remember when I was a teenager, I was so confused about how I should look, and I tried changing every single thing about myself…If girls at that age were just comfortable in their own skin it will benefit them for the future.”