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A collage with a lady doing her makeup, lipstick and a blue eyeshadow.

The Beauty Trap

with Marisa Meltzer, moderated by Bridie Jabour

10 March 2024

In the Studio

Sydney Opera House Presents

Talks and Ideas

Join us as we put dramatic changes to the beauty and wellness industry under the microscope and examine how social media has revolutionised the way products are marketed and sold, and why we created the “girlboss” in the first place, only to tear her down.  

It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap.

Dolly Parton

The ugly side of beauty

Beauty often feels like a big contradiction in our lives. We love make-up and all the social media driven hyper consumerism that surrounds it, but we also look at it critically, resenting the pressure about how we should look, rather than totally loving how we already look. 

The beauty trap also plays out in the industry itself. It’s been a way for women to flex their entrepreneurship, establishing some of the world’s most recognised brands, only to later cede control to the blokes (sometimes after a very lucrative sale, but still). And mistakes and, let’s face it, not great behaviour by some girl bosses, have led to a ferocious backlash. When a  girlboss stumbles (even when the rest of us would love such a stumble!) the fall is hard. Join us for what will be a fascinating discussion.

Sydney Opera House Presents


If someone put every myth about girl bosses into a blender and served the resulting smoothie in a café renowned for its avocado toast, the result would be Emily Weiss.

The Washington Post
Marisa Meltzer (she/her)

Marisa Meltzer is a journalist based in New York who for over a decade has covered beauty, fashion, wellness, and celebrity industries for top national publications such as The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe GuardianThe Wall Street JournalVogue, and Vanity Fair. The author of three previous books, This Is BigHow Sassy Changed My Life, and Girl Power, she lives in Manhattan.

Bridie Jabour (she/her) Moderator

Bridie Jabour is the co-host of Cool Story with Bri & Bridie. She’s the opinion editor at Guardian Australia and the author of two books. Her latest is the collection of essays Trivial Grievances.

A white women with short curly brown hair, and bright red lipstick.

Other information

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