When I say Megan Rapinoe is everything, I mean it. The soccer star and two-time World Cup Champion for the U.S. Women's National Soccer team blessed me with her time and energy to talk about her work with Shiseido in honor of their 150th anniversary. We touched on pretty much everything, from sunscreen and gray hair, her identity and cultural influence, to why male athletes get involved in NFTs.
Refinery29: What are your favorite beauty things? What are your favorite sunscreens?
Megan Rapinoe: Favorite sunscreens: Shiseido, this is literally for ten years. I'm not even trying to plug the brand. I've used the sunscreen literally since college. I have very fair skin, I'm out in the sun all the time. I wish I was never out in the sun — not going to happen.
Other products I love: I have a great toner from Biologique Recherche. The Shiseido Ultimune serum, for me, is just bomb; it's like got this thickness without being funky, but I feel I can goop it on. I love Aquaphor, I have a huge tub right next to my sink that's on my hands, it's on my lips. I haven't ventured it on my face, but I've been hearing from people and the young TikTokers that's a thing.
Refinery29: Slugging, it's very popular. Okay, so we’ve got to talk about hair. I love it. It's giving, like Lance Bass in the '90s.
Megan Rapinoe: Right. I know. I'm like, wait, am I going back to my hardcore 1970s lesbian roots? Am I just a lesbian or what? This is so good. It's almost so bad, it’s good.
Refinery29: How does Megan Rapinoe do her hair?
Megan Rapinoe: Well, she doesn't do it enough, I'll tell you that much.[...] I definitely do a bit of DIY with the hair color at home because it falls out so quickly. After a week or two, it fades, but I like all the different stages. I like when it's bright; I like when it's brand new; I like when it's all faded and it gets a little funky and there's multiple colors in there. So, I try not to be too precious with it.
Refinery29: I wear wigs, I am not ashamed of it, and yet people think it’s shocking I choose to wear silver hair. Like, I cannot wait to go gray.
Refinery29: What about your beauty routine brings you joy?
Megan Rapinoe: I feel really taking care of the skin on my face brings me a lot of joy, and sometimes I'm like, “Are you just shallow? You just care about what your face looks like." But to me, it's like getting dressed, or doing your hair differently; I want it to look fresh and healthy, that's what's important to me. That's what makes me feel beautiful.
I think being out in the sun a lot, way more than I want to, playing a sport, I'm constantly battling the damage that I've done. I'm trying to repair it. That brings me a lot of joy[..] But doing my beauty routine, or doing my face routine, it's getting out of the shower and feeling fresh. My actual skin feels good and looks healthy, and that makes me glow from the inside out.
Refinery29: Can we talk about Sue [Bird, Rapinoe’s fiancée and basketball star] for a second? I'm sure Sue has taught you so many things in general, but in terms of your beauty routine or even your thoughts about your idea of beauty, how has she impacted that and vice versa?
Megan Rapinoe: Having someone just love you the way that you would almost want to love yourself is just amazing. It's like, if I want to wear makeup, great; if I don't, great. If I want to do my hair great, if not, it all just doesn't matter. She's just like, “Do you like what makes you feel good.”
Being gay has allowed us a little bit — required us, I guess — to think about a little more what actually does that mean? If we're going on a date, we don't have to dress up in heels, [It's] traditional, which a lot of people are ditching, not just gay people or non-binary people. I think that license to be like, I just think you're sexy all the time, whether you're in sweats, or naked, or in a suit, or getting out of the shower. So, what is it that actually makes us feel beautiful? What does that even mean? And kind of getting down to that and then supporting each other.
Refinery29: As a disruptor, what do you think about the crossover between fashion, social media, and sports? We see it with male athletes — but female athletes like fashion, too.
Megan Rapinoe: The math ain't math-ing. This is how I look at it: Sports, and fashion, and culture, and all of it has always been a mashup because sports are meritorious. It'll never be this elite thing because people are always going to be coming from everywhere. Male sports has the advantage of [athletes being] assumed cool, assumed culture setters, because they have money to buy shit, [to] have stylists. Everyone just assumes they're cool. I think, especially in the NBA, that's the gold standard of cool. Some of them are very cool, are very fashion forward, have a very strong style sense. Some of them, I'm like, all that money...
Refinery29: All that money.
Megan Rapinoe: What a tragedy. With women's sport, we have to be entrepreneurial. We have to be creative. We have to have a sense of ingenuity and we have such a stronger sense of ourselves.
But there's also a sense of knowing of who you are that translates into the style. I even look at a lot of the women around the league and their style, and you can tell, if that person had 10 million more dollars, you would see that reflected in their style. But the same sense of style would still be there. Maybe they can't afford a luxury brand, or they just have one or two pieces.
I feel like it's been something that we've owned and grown into over time, and now it's been a way for us to get into the upper echelon of culture and media — because let's be honest, when people think you're cool, you are cool, and then brands think you're cool and then brands think you're worth giving money to and then the media. That's what makes the NBA so popular.
But it gets into everything: Now all of a sudden they're into wine and golf and tech and crypto and NFTs and style and doing their own businesses. It's all part of the growth and breaking down the barriers for women's sports. Oftentimes we're just seen as, 'Oh, they don't really have a lot of money and they're just grinding.' Well actually, that's not true and that is a function of status-quo society that aims to keep women, people of color, gays, non-binaries down.
So, we're actually breaking the system with ingenuity, creativity — and by way of necessity — making a new world for ourselves.