Dear Simon Cowell,
You don't know me, but I know you — you're the jerk who recently told an X-Factor contestant, Samantha Lavery, to take off her makeup before she sang for you. Why? Because you told her it looked like "a mask." You felt like you weren't meeting the "real her." Don't recall? Please, watch the entire exchange below to jog your memory. Don't worry. I'll wait.
I get it — acting like a dick is kind of your thing. You could even say it's become your personal brand. (Congratulations, truly.) We tolerated it when we watched you on American Idol. Maybe it even made us laugh a few times. But this recent outburst wasn't funny; it was just plain mean.
In case you forgot where you were for a second — multiple hosting gigs can do that to you — this is The X-Factor, not a beauty pageant. Lavery's makeup has absolutely nothing to do with her singing ability. And I can't point to any scientific studies proving foundation and bronzer inhibit the vocal chords. So I'm more than a little confused as to why you felt the need to berate her about her makeup — in front of the other judges, no less.
You told her it looked like she was wearing "a bit of a mask." As a woman who puts on makeup every morning, I can tell you that it's less of a mask and more like armor. You see, we live in a world where people like you feel like they can claim ownership over our looks. They'll tell us to take it easy on the eye makeup, drop five pounds, or cover a zit. But in the end, it's our choice. Not yours.
For many, putting on makeup in the morning gives them the confidence they need to go out there and face the world. For others, scrubbing their faces clean has the same effect. But it's certainly not your job — or anyone else's — to determine which side of that line we fall on.
Once Lavery returned with her face scrubbed free of cosmetics, you called her brave and finally allowed her to sing. I've said this before, but there is nothing brave about going makeup-free, and there is nothing cowardly about wearing makeup, either. Yet you sat there smugly like you had just invented fire, and applauded yourself for helping this poor girl "find herself." You didn't help her find herself — you just opened her eyes to a world where she'd be judged by her looks and not by her singing voice. You mansplained makeup to her. And the women to your left and right sat there just as stunned as we were.
So do us all a favor, Simon. Keep your mouth shut when it comes to makeup. You've never been forced to wear it (though, as a television star, you probably do), and you've never been told by a man that you're not wearing it correctly. Instead, maybe turn the criticism back on yourself and remember that you're there to judge the sound coming out of a singer's lips, not what they're putting on them.