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What does it mean to “push the boundaries?” For DJ, producer and LGBTQIA+ activist, Lauren “Kittens” Abedini, that’s pushing past expectations from society and family to live authentically. Kittens teamed up with YSL Beauty to tell this story as part of the brand’s Push the Boundaries documentary series. The first-generation Iranian-American fights insecurities and imposter syndrome as a woman in the male-dominated DJ industry and challenges cultural stereotypes to break the mold right at home.
STYLECASTER sat down with Kittens to find out how she lives her authentic self every day in the face of a society that wants to put you in a box. She also filled us in on her fave YSL Beauty products from her to get her look from her, as well as the Pride playlist to get you in the mood this month.
Why YSL Beauty Was the Perfect Pride Partner
“My first bag was YSL. The edgeness and darkness to it, mixed with the chic vibe, it just feels like my vibe. As far as the beauty brand, before I got into music, I was a makeup artist, so I’m very picky.”
“I’ve always had a close relationship with makeup and beauty. I grew up as a dancer, in competitive dance and ballet. I always did my own makeup because my dad would take me to dance competitions when my mom wasn’t there. Then it because an important part of my identity growing up, how to express myself. Then I got into doing makeup professionally and then being a DJ and performing and doing my own makeup for shows and tours and photoshoots. It’s been this one constant in my life that’s my time every single day to make myself feel grounded and confident and centered and just me.”
Her Current YSL Beauty Must-Haves
“I love Lash Clash Mascara ($29 at Sephora). I really like the Crushliner ($29 at Nordstrom) so I can do a little smoky eye. I really like the Nu Glow in Balm ($36 at Sephora) so much. It’s this primer that’s really hydrating but not sticky. It makes your skin feel plump and yummy. I love the really sparkling eyeshadows, the Sequin Crush eyeshadows ($30 at Violet Grey). I wet them and then put them on and it’s just so good.”
How Being a Part of the LGBTQIA+ Community Inspires Her
“I think being a part of a community that is fighting against norms and societal standards has made me feel more comfortable expressing myself authentically. There are all these expectations in society to look a certain way and be a certain thing and to be part of a community that’s saying ‘fuck that, be you. Whatever that looks like, whatever that means.’ That’s made it more empowering for me to do whatever I want, whether that’s a crazy makeup look or not having anything really visible on and just a clean face because that’s how I feel most powerful that day.”
How She Pushes the Boundaries at Home
“My dad’s Middle Eastern. He was an immigrant from Iran. I’m so in touch with the community and love my Persian culture so much. But there are some stereotypes and expectations, like, you become a doctor and you become an engineer. You get married and it looks like this and this is what your partner looks like and how your life is supposed to go. It’s a controlled path. I was like, ‘yeah, I don’t think that’s going to work.’”
“I had to stand my ground and feel very rooted in the decisions I was making, really understand who I am, what I stand for, what I like, how I want to present to the world, who I want to love.
How She Pushes the Boundaries in Music
“I have my own boundaries I have to constantly push away. I have a new song called let it go. I’m very hypercritical of myself, I don’t know if I’m good enough, I don’t know if this is good enough. Holding yourself back with insecurities and self-criticism. I got to a point where I needed to let all this stuff go, do what feels best and remind myself that being and doing whatever feels right is the move and it doesn’t need to fit any mold.”
Her Pride Playlist
“I’m the kind of person who has 90 different playlists depending on my vibe. I have a She/Her/They playlist. My podcast is called She/Her/They. The first season of it was all focused on musicians who are part of the LGBTQ community and it all started because of this playlist I made that centers queer women and non-binary people who are art artists. Kehlani is on there. We’ve got Demi Lovato, Syd, Hayley Kiyoko, Halsey is on there. We’ve got a bunch of bigger names and up-and-coming people like Azyan, who is an incredible singer.”