back to top
Style

See How Puerto Rican Beauty Trends Have Changed In 100 Years

Muy hermosa.

Posted on

"100 Years of Beauty: Puerto Rico" is the latest installment of WatchCut Video's 100 Years of Beauty series. This time, the looks of each decade are separated into trends from Puerto Rico and New York.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

"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," Christopher Chan, WatchCut's visual anthropologist, told BuzzFeed.

"By putting two histories together side-by-side, we see how complexly they are entangled. 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. It's time to start complicating the idea that one people come from one place, when many of us in the diaspora feel like we always float between two."

In the 1910s, the Puerto Rico look of a loose, "undone" updo was inspired by Luisa Capetillo, while the more regal look in New York was inspired by Isabel Gonzalez.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

Capetillo was one of Puerto Rico's most famous labor rights activists, while Gonzalez was an activist who helped to pave the way for Puerto Ricans to gain U.S. citizenship.

Advertisement

In the '20s, women in Puerto Rico wore their hair out of their faces in an unfussy manner, while those in New York went for coiffed curls.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

The people living in Puerto Rico were slowly migrating out of the country, while those living in New York were working toward civil rights.

In the '30s in Puerto Rico, Julia de Burgos was the inspiration for the tightly curled hair, pencil-thin eyebrows, and dark lips. The "girl next door" look in New York was inspired by Diosa Costello in the musical Too Many Girls.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

Julia de Burgos was a poet who also served as the secretary general of the Daughters of Freedom, the women's branch of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

In the 1940s, the Puerto Rico look was inspired by women working in factories, while the New York look was a nod to singer Myrta Silva.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

"We're sure to include factory workers as our reference for the 1940s: a reminder that Puerto Rican women have literally been sewing the fabric of American society—first as parachutes, but then garments for Sears and Maidenform to be sold stateside. NYC and Puerto Rico are forever entangled by transactions like these," Chan said.

In the '50s, the curly hair and dark brows in Puerto Rico were inspired by activist Lolita Lebrón, while the more natural-looking beauty standards in New York were taken from actress Míriam Colón.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

"In the 1950s, we style the model to look like Lolita Lebrón, the Puerto Rican nationalist convicted for attempted murder after an assault on, and occupation of, the House of Representatives. We are showing you a very different women's relationship to the U.S. administration of Puerto Rico: at times asking to belong, and at times demanding independence," Chan told BuzzFeed.

The straighter hair and bangs look in Puerto Rico in the '60s was inspired by actor and singer Lucha Villa. The New York look took after Rita Moreno in West Side Story.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

West Side Story marked a time of Puerto Rico getting the spotlight and attention from the pop culture world.

Advertisement

In New York in the '70s, the headscarf and braid were a nod to poet and graphic artist Sandra Maria Esteves.

WatchCut / Via youtube.com

The '70s saw the beginnings of the Nuyorican Poets Café, a stage for the expression of art from the often underrepresented.

In the '80s, beauty trends in both Puerto Rico and New York were characterized by colorful makeup and big, curled hair.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

Both looks were taken from singers — Puerto Rico's from Iris Chacon and New York's by singer-songwriter Irene Cara.

The straight, brushed hair of the '90s in Puerto Rico is a nod to the Miss Universe Pageant, while the curly-haired New York look is inspired by actor Rosie Perez.

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

In music culture, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez both had hit songs in 1999.

Puerto Rico won two Miss Universe titles in the 2000s, which is where this look's inspiration was taken from. In New York, the red-carpet-esque look was inspired by Rosario Dawson.

As for the 2010s, the smooth hair and smoky eye makeup in Puerto Rico was inspired by 2016 Miss Puerto Rico Brenda Jiménez. The New York look of a Yankees cap, fur hood, and lip gloss was inspired by Jennifer Lopez's music video look for "Same Girl."

WatchCut Video / Via youtube.com

"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 told BuzzFeed.

"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. We are challenging our audience to look into the eyes of the present and see the soul of the past; that past is always riddled by politics."

Promoted

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss