Famed Tattoo Artist Mira Mariah Finds Power in Her Extensive Beauty Routine

Mira Mariah When experiencing a breakout, Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Mira Mariah jokes that she, first and foremost, posts an Instagram Story about it. Then, she cries.

This response to my query about how she treats breakouts is essentially why we’re sipping coffee together on a Tuesday morning. About 127,000 people follow Mariah under her alias GirlKnewYork on Instagram not only to see her latest whimsical body-art creations but to also pick up skin-care tips. Because of her profession, people seek out her advice — no matter how unapologetic, honest, and hilarious it may be — and take it seriously. "I’m not an aesthetician, but I’m helping people heal wounds with ink under their skin," she tells me. "I am, at least by trial-and-error, learning about skin." Skin Care as Identity

Although Mariah jests about acne, skin care is, in her words, a cornerstone of her identity. Mariah’s job may revolve around our body’s largest organ, but she has always had a personal dermal connection. Growing up, she threw face-washing parties with her younger sisters before bed, complete with Taylor Swift tunes and face masks. Now that she’s 27, she still approaches her complexion regime in the same amusing way. It gives her agency, entertainment, and peace of mind. Mira Mariah/Instagram "As a disabled person, my relationship with my whole body is complicated," Mariah shares, alluding to the fact that one of her legs was amputated when she was 17. "I can be really controlling of it, because I face alternative challenges that force me to investigate my body at all times. For a while, skin care became a way for me to investigate everything . Then, I remembered it’s fun." And Mariah does whatever she can to make sure it stays that way, she adds. Her focus has shifted away from the visual result of skin care and toward finding happiness in it. "For a while, skin care became a way for me to investigate everything . Then, I remembered it’s fun." Mariah apologizes for repeatedly saying she’s a disabled person, but this fact is the reality of the situation. Her interactions with everything in her life are policed because of the way she walks through the world. However, Mariah finds loopholes anywhere she can, especially when it comes to beauty. "As a disabled person, I often feel pressure to just take care of myself up to surviving," she explains, "so every bit of luxury and indulgence feels like a protest."

Her rebellions against expectations of a person with disabilities come in the form of face mists , biweekly blowouts, scrubs for every part of her body, and "life-changing" eucalyptus steam rooms at the gym she belongs to. Seconds after I sit down, she notes that she only washed her face with a cleansing cloth the night before — already, she defies the norms of the average skin-care lover. Embracing the Art of Effort Via Ariana Grande

Mira Mariah Typically, I’d cringe at anyone who starts and ends their nighttime skin-care routine with a single face wipe , but the circumstances made Mariah’s instance excusable. After attending the first stop on Ariana Grande’s Sweetener Tour in Albany, New York, Mariah got back to New York City at 5 a.m. She wasn’t there merely as a fan, though. Over the past year, Mariah and Grande have bonded over tattoo sessions that take place at all hours of the day. Mariah even inked a sprig of leaves along the bottom of Grande’s ribcage at 3 a.m. earlier that week. The singer later debuted it on Instagram with a photo that’s since received over 3.1 million likes.

In fact, Grande helped Mariah embrace her beauty routine for all that it is. "The reason I get blowouts all the time is because of Ariana Grande," Mariah declares, using the singer’s full name for the first time almost 10 minutes into our interview. "Who’s Ariana Grande without her ponytail, right?" "As a disabled person, I often feel pressure to just take care of myself up to surviving, so every bit of luxury and indulgence feels like a protest." Before befriending Grande, Mariah felt embarrassed about having an extensive beauty routine that helps her feel like herself. "But then, I saw her, and she doesn’t feel bad that she needs all this effort to be herself," Mariah explains. "She doesn’t feel bad that she needs 40 pounds of extensions to be Ariana Grande."

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