Victims of domestic abuse need our support more than anything. It's important to encourage them to come forward and leave their abusive relationships. The problem is, it's difficult to even identify them. Many victims have learned to cope by hiding their scars and bruises to avoid being shamed. Sometimes, they hide to protect their abusers, which we all know should not be the case.
To attack this issue directly, the No More Hiding campaign came up with a brilliant idea. They filmed a makeup transformation video advocating against the camouflaging of abuse, with makeup artist Cuckooh Calsado as their model.
Below, we find out more about the campaign from Cuckooh as she shares her own story with domestic abuse.
Hi Cuckooh! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
"Hi, my name is Cuckooh Calsado. [I'm a] full time mom, a print/TVC model, and a freelance makeup artist. I am based here in Metro Manila, but I [learned most of my] makeup artistry skills in NYC."
Can you tell us more about the No More Hiding campaign?
"It was a campaign [to encourage] women to speak up about their abuse."
What's the purpose behind the video? Do you have your own history with abuse or friends that you are standing up for?
"[The video] was actually an infomercial campaign job I did as a model for Philippine Commission on Women or PCW [made in partnership] with No More Hiding.
"[However,] the people who did this shoot didn't know that I [was] a victim of psychological abuse by my ex and the people around him. I was mistreated and he put words in my head that [made] me question who I am. I never thought [how powerful] words [could be and] that even a strong woman [like myself could be] affected, and [how] the person whom you love could [have that effect] in your life. I thought I was strong enough that I could dust off whatever he was saying, but those words [kept] running in my head."
What kind of message were you hoping to share with the video?
"Most of us [who are victims], we try to cover up the abuse. We put [on] makeup to cover up the bruises. We fake smiles to cover up the tears and the pain inside. But behind those cover-ups, we are very vulnerable. We are used to faking it because we are afraid that we will lose that person we love, or we are afraid that we're not going to be heard, [or we just don't] know that we have rights.
"[We want women to know] that there [are laws that protect] women, [like] the R.A. 9262 or Violence Against Women and Children Act, and the Magna Carta for Women. There are also groups that [can help us] like Gabriella, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), [and campaigns like] No More Hiding. We need to know our rights [as women, and as] a partner."
What do you want to say to those who are victims of domestic abuse but are hesitant to speak up?
"If you don't speak up, the abuse will never stop. Try to Google R.A. 9262 so you know what your rights are and ask help from [the organizations listed above] or the nearest Barangay Hall."
As a makeup artist, makeup is usually used to hide the signs of abuse, but in your video, you used it to fake bruises and scars to create awareness. Where did you learn to do this kind of makeup?
"I was happy to be part of this campaign as I am also a victim of abuse. I feel that [by] doing this campaign I [created] awareness [that will] encourage women to speak up about their abuse, because really, if you don't speak up, the abuse won't stop.
"The SFX makeup in the video was done by another makeup artist, but I am actually an SFX makeup artist myself. If you check my Instagram (@cuckoohcalsado), I have some of my SFX makeup works there. I studied SFX makeup at TemptuPro NYC."