The following is a lover letter to Laura Kraber, inspired by QUILL Editor-in-Chief Tess’ appreciate and admiration for the Fluide founder.
Dear Laura Kraber,
When I started QUILL, I had a mission: to destigmatize beauty.
It was an important mission. My past employer was all about performative activism – post about LGBTQ+ news and products during Pride Month, then include it here and there throughout the year… and delete pitches and “irrelevant” sections in articles referencing the community and the problems we face behind the scenes.
But who would believe in me? Who would see this mission and go, “yes, yes, me too?” I was a beauty editor, but I was, in some ways, a faux beauty editor; I had been thrown into the position, not placed in it.
So, when we had our conversation, and you expressed that you were not a product of the beauty world when starting Fluide, I felt relief. Like I’d found someone who understood: the point wasn’t just makeup, the point was that everyone should be able to feel beautiful without worrying about their gender identity.
You told me that, in a way, you “impose” makeup on the LGBTQ+ community due to the lack of direct connection. It’s a vehicle, but not a natural one.
But with QUILL, I’ve learned that it isn’t an imposition – it’s welcomed warmly, because for some, they couldn’t find a safe space that created products for them. There’s the man who just wanted to try glitter eyeliner in his brows, the enby who’d never painted their nails and wanted to try a large range of colors, the questioning teenager who didn’t know where to start and settled on the subtle Universal Gloss.
So, no, it’s FAR from an imposition – what you have created is a gift to the world, to my community, and we are eternally grateful.
Your wisdom in our interview is immortalized in a transcript. And while I didn’t include every word in the published piece, I’ll keep the unedited transcript to reflect on when I’m having difficult days, days when I feel like what I’m doing is silly or that I’m incapable of running a beauty site. Because you and Fluide? You’re proof that the space needs filling, and it needs filling now. And if it takes being filled by someone who isn’t a beauty guru, who doesn’t do their makeup every hour of the day, then so be it — it needs to be done by someone.
Knowing you has made me better, Laura. More compassionate, more thoughtful. I no longer ask “how does this benefit me?” I ask “how can this benefit my audience?” You’ve ingrained in me that, when you help others in this way, that’s how you help yourself – not the other way around.
So thank you, Laura. I will forever see you as a mentor, and I cannot thank you enough for your kindness (which includes letting me try out so much Fluide makeup — it’s my fav!).
With so much love,