From the USA to Kenya, beauty from all over the globe differs, and thanks to WatchCut’s many videos, we’ve been able to see how each country’s trends have evolved. The latest video is unique because it gives us a glimpse into the past 100 years of Puerto Rican beauty on the island and in New York.
Why did they decide to do a side-by-side of the two? As Christopher Chan, WatchCut’s visual anthropologist explains to BuzzFeed, “Two million people live in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan; 1,070,558 million people of Puerto Rican descent live in the NYC area.” He also adds, “We see how migrants to New York bring with them the spirit of the island, but also how styles that emerge in Harlem or the Bronx also recirculate back ‘home’ to Puerto Rico.”
WatchCut devotes an entire Pinterest board to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video in addition to information about each look. The video starts off in the 1910s, with updo styles worn by activists Luisa Capetillo of Puerto Rico and Nuyorican Isabel González. In the 1940s, we see how those who worked on the island for the U.S. Navy in factories and NYC working women donned a more empowered look.
Fast forward to the ’60s, where big, glamorous hair was all the rage thanks to the entertainment boom Puerto Ricans everywhere saw. West Side Story’s Rita Moreno, the first Latina to win an Oscar, and Puerto Rico’s Lucha Villa were some of the biggest influential names back then. Bright makeup took center stage in the ’80s while the 2000s showed Nuyorican Rosario Dawson on the Sin City red carpet in a casual half-up style in addition to Miss Puerto Rico Universe winners Zuleyka Rivera (2006), who went on to win the title of Miss Universe as well, and Brenda Jiménez (2016).
“We may have drawn inspiration from entertainers, beauty queens, and models as well, but these women are also navigating the complex tensions of empire,” Chan says of the inspiration behind each of the decade's looks for the video. “Even Jennifer Lopez’s Yankees cap and hoops in the 2010s is a visual statement about identity, resilience, and the politics of place in the South Bronx.”
Watch the video for yourself below to see how Puerto Rican beauty has evolved over the past 100 years.
Which decade had your favorite Puerto Rican beauty look? Tell us in the comments and shop Jennifer Lopez’s latest fragrance.