My biggest regret of the Total Request Live golden era is not being old enough to really do makeup or be trusted with a flatiron. I will loosely estimate that this brief but beautiful period in MTV’s history began around 1998 and ended around 2001, high noon for frosty eyeshadows and taupe gloss and feathered bobs. I missed it, and the FOMO has not faded with time.
Realistically, Doja Cat — a 24-year-old pop star — missed it too, but her appreciation for the genre is obviously vast. On Thursday, Doja Cat released a new music video for “Say So,” a song reportedly made famous by a TikTok dance. That’s all very exciting, I’m sure, but what really gets me about this vid is its total commitment to a vibe — specifically, a “retro” vibe, if retro means 1999 doing the 1970s. “Say So” is the visual embodiment of the lava lamp section at Spencer’s Gifts, an exuberant index of disco style filtered through TRL beauty trends. Let’s lean in for a closer look.
Just once in my life, I would like someone to teach me a workable tip for blue eyeshadow that does not leave me looking recently dead. Doja Cat does not look remotely dead, or ill; she looks like she’s about to assume her rightful place amongst the Number Ones. Maybe the secret is actual sea foam? A professional-grade winged tip? I do not know, but I do approve.
Total Request … hair
An interesting thing about the hair in “Say So” is that most of it actively evokes the styles I wistfully selected for my Angel Fire avatars as a 9-year-old. I never really figured out how to make my hair do anything like what Doja Cat’s does in this video: micro-pigtails with a self-grown headband made of bangs; the gentle feathering of a long bob. How? These questions linger.
A nude lip to rival J.Lo’s
Doja Cat’s lip look of choice appears to involve both liner and nude lipstick, the latter of which I am imagining as the thick and slightly chalky “liquid” lipstick of yore — you know, the kind that smelled slightly of crayon (i.e., of Robert Pattinson). It is a look perfected by Jennifer Lopez, and it pairs especially well with emphatic bronzer (more on that here) and a spiky gate of lashes.
All Destiny’s Child everything
I am aware that an outfit is not a makeup look, but also this one is. You may have seen it in any number of Destiny’s Child music videos, either the matching set made of sparkly butterflies or the glitter suit. I will accept both for the club.
Eye glitter is the most chaotic makeup choice of all, because it sticks to everything and stays there forever, and because it actively impedes basic vision. Suddenly everything you see is speckled with blurry little spots, as if you are about to be sabotaged by a migraine and not merely your own aesthetic choices. However! I would still like to turn my eyelids into individual mirror balls, as Doja Cat does here, just to see how it feels. Probably disorienting, and probably also fun.