Yamazakichō-nakabirose How did you come up with the idea for Mr Eyeliner?
The idea behind Mr Eyeliner is that the eyeliners are truly created for all individuals.  Many years ago, when I was a performer, young guys would come up to me after a show. They would tell me their stories of how they had to wear their sister’s or girlfriends’ eyeliner because they didn’t feel secure going to the store and buying eyeliner because they would be made fun of at the store. The original reasoning in creating Mr Eyeliner was to give everyone the freedom to purchase, wear and express themselves with eyeliners. Truly show that you can be yourself.

resoundingly How did you become involved in the anti-bullying cause?
It was about four years ago. I started noticing bullying situations everywhere. No one seemed to have an outlet or safe place to discuss it. Too many just ignored it. I started searching the internet for anti-bullying information and to learn as much as I could. I took online courses but most of the information was not up to date. The internet lists many bullying scenarios. With my years of being in the beauty and music industries, I had many relatable stories to compare and personal experiences to share. I now wake up every day with purpose. I want to speak with anyone and everyone on how to  identify a bullying situation, how to react to it whether you are the recipient or an observer, and how to best handle said situation.

Why is anti-bullying an important cause for the brand?
I want to make the world a more suitable place for individuality and acceptance through our brand. I mean, anyone who would like to wear eyeliner should be able to! With that being said, our brand culture is about supporting anyone who decides to be themselves. The brand will always be associated with our anti-bullying message and cause. Every shop that markets Mr Eyeliner will be educated on the meaning of Mr Eyeliner. Anti-bullying education is just as important as the education on our message. Mr Eyeliner is here to provide a service: anti-bullying education and awareness training. A huge part of the education and training program is to have everyone add our Zero Tolerance “No Bullying Policy” into every business, shop, studio, pro event, salon, retailer and more. Let’s change the culture together and be accepting of everyone

How does Mr Eyeliner support this cause?
Mr Eyeliner spreads our message everywhere we go. We offer safe forums for people that would like to discuss bullying. I also offer my services as a public speaker. I speak at schools, businesses and shops. Anywhere our anti-bullying message can be helpful. A percentage of the speaking engagement are donated to Stopbullying.gov. Mr Eyeliner is also planning to introduce our own non-profit organization. It will help train educators on our anti-bullying message.

How has the brand made a difference in this cause?
Our message presents ways to encourage self-expression, offer sound advice and meaningful help. Our social media platforms encourage dialog and exchanges of ideas, stories and problem solving. The team is available wherever and whenever they are needed to discuss all types of self-expression topics. For the last two years, every person whether in our industry or not is extremely receptive to our message. They want to know how they can help. Our social media has been growing with shared stories and incredible support. Parents have been reaching out for advice at the beginning of the  school year too. I personally offer my full attention to anyone that wishes to speak with me.

Can you speak about some of the events that you speak at about this cause?
We represented Mr Eyeliner at the Vans Warped Tour, on podcasts, web shows and local school events. This past year, we held the first ever official “Stop Bullying in Our Culture” panel at the The Makeup Show NYC. We also platformed our message of
“Stop Bullying In the Workplace” at Barber Con NYC. This summer I was invited to speak on Bullying at the A Great Day In Harlem event in front of hundreds of people. It was incredible.

Do you have any statistics about bullying that we can share with our readers?
Statistics are based on what’s reported so the numbers can be skewed. I obtain my information from StopBullying.gov and from my own experiences and conversations.

Take schools for example. 90% of students from grades 4-8 have reported that they have been harassed or bullied. 28% of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying. From grades 6-12, 9% of students have experienced cyber bulling. 70% of students
report having witnessed bullying in their school.

I’ve learned in my travels that large percentage of female barbers have reported being bullied or harassed within shops and while obtaining their licenses. About 30% of makeup artists both male and female, have reported cyber bullying from a coworker or other artist. In several cases this bullying has led to losing out on an opportunity or not getting a job they were going for.

Bullying is a major culprit to inhibit individualized style and freedom to express oneself. Too many of us are picked on, abused and ridiculed or made to feel inadequate, afraid to be proud and express oneself freely. It can make one feel safer hiding in the shadows, not being true to oneself and definitely not enjoying life. Bullying is ruining too many lives.

Words Michael DeVellis
Artwork Madison Garfinkel