Irene Scaringi, the make-up artist for homeless women

un brush, a lipstick, a mascara: just enough a Irene Scaringi, Apulian make-up artist, to restore the smile to homeless women. The 32-year-old, professor of make-up in various academies, has created the “Street Make up” project aimed at those who have improvised their own home on a street corner.

Irene Scaringi making up a homeless woman Ph. Mary Di Lernia

Attention to the “invisible”

“Imagining how a woman might feel who spends most of her life on the street at the sight of another more well-groomed woman, I decided to make my professionalism available to transform, with a small gesture of love, those gloomy and suffering looks into smiling facesat least for a few hours» he says tracing his attention to homeless people in the period in which he traveled to realize his dream of establishing himself in the beauty world.

«I worked all day as a beautician, in order to be able to afford my studies at a make-up academy which was 300 km away from my home – she remembers – I got up at 4 in the morning to face the train journey. At that time, at the station, I only met clochards still asleep in the warmth of the blankets with which they were trying to protect themselves from the cold of the street. Faced with so much indifference, I stopped and left them a warm brioche to sweeten their awakening».

Seventy years of make-up history in one minute

The birth of the Street Make up project

One day, however, Irene decided to offer them something different from the blankets and food already guaranteed by the more generous associations and passers-by. So, she got in touch with the association Meet of Bari andshouldering her make-up bag, she walked towards a group of homeless women with a load of beauty.

Wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, women who have lost their jobs and homes or violence and illness have taken over their lives. These are the “invisible” who entrust themselves to the hands of the young make-up artist.

Women who reclaim their femininity

«Initially they are incredulous, no one, before, had ever taken care of their faces tired by life’s bad weather. As I make them up, they are mirrored and at times they don’t recognize each other. They finally feel beautiful and pampered. It’s a bit as if they reappropriated that stolen femininity” explains.

Thus, the “Street Make up” project – started not on just any date, but on 17 October last, or rather during the World Day for the fight against poverty – has also reached other Apulian cities, including Barletta, where the make-up artist has established a collaboration with the Caritas.

Irene Scaringi. Ph. Mary DiLernia

Brush strokes of makeup and understanding

In the mobile station set up on the streetnear the soup kitchens or in the spaces of the supporting associations, they come donate brushstrokes of understanding, respect and empathy.

“They have no special requests, they feel intoxicated by the hues of femininity that give them back a little self-confidence. Just some middle-aged lady asks me for lipstick and red painted nails, almost as if she wanted to re-appropriate the habits of her youth » she concludes confiding the hope of being able to consolidate the network and reach with his project also in large cities such as Rome and Milan, where, unfortunately, the “army of the invisible” is constantly growing.