Going makeup free for International Women’s Day was a bold move made by Fifi Box, and also an incredibly imperative one, says the Australian radio presenter.
The 40-year-old Hit Network radio personality recalls being told to make cosmetic changes to her appearance in her early twenties, and believes the standards of beauty imposed on women in the media industry, are not forced onto men.
“If I could feel good and acceptable the way I am, I’d love that, but I don’t and I probably never will because I’ve been institutionalised from such a young age,” she tells Be.
“When I started radio, it wasn’t a visual medium but now [it is] more than ever,” she says. Having said that, the bubbly mother-of-one has still copped her fair share of pressure to look the part for the job.
“It was always, ‘Fi do you want hair and makeup for this shoot’,” she explains.
“I’m fair and blotchy and I’ve got moles and there’s always, ‘Do you want a spray tan? You should get a spray tan’.”
Fifi, who launched her media career in radio in the 1990s, recalls her self-esteem being rocked dramatically by comments made by others in the field.
“In this industry I have been exposed to that. From a young age, I can’t believe at 26, I was looking at these lines in my face,” she says, pointing towards the corners of her mouth.
“They’re marionette lines. You need them. They make your jaw work. But I was thinking, ‘Oh I’ll have to get rid of those”.’
“We’re just susceptible to it because it is everywhere and mind you, we’re not changing this overnight,” she continues.
Speaking of changes and making a difference, that’s exactly what Fifi hoped for when collaborating with Em Rusciano to host the Hit Network’s International Women’s Day breakfast show on Wednesday.
In an Australian first, she fronted the all-women’s national show, with other female presenters including Carrie Bickmore and Abby Coleman, also joining in on the broadcast.
Fifi chose to wear no makeup on the day, letting her raw and real complexion speak for itself.
“If you want to wear makeup, wear makeup. If you don’t want to wear makeup, don’t wear makeup,” Fifi tells Be.
Fellow presenter Em agrees, admitting she was baffled on Wednesday morning when crew members asked her if she would like her makeup done before the show.
“I did it,” 38-year-old Em admits, before Fifi acknowledges, “it’s a pattern you fall into”.
While Fifi admits she struggles with her appearance due to the pressures placed on women like her in the industry, she hopes she can help inspire the next generation be more resilient to the gender inequality still at play.
“I’d love to change that for the women of the future,” she says.