Gyaru, like quite a lot of Japanese fashion styles, is quite high-maintenance. You’ve got the styled hair, the dramatic makeup, the flashy clothes… So how does that come in when you become a parent, when these things aren’t a priority anymore? Today I had a chat with Melissa on how she juggles life as a gyaru mama!
Hey Melissa! Thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s start with the basics – what’s your gyaru story? How did you find out about it?
Thank you for having me! I first learned of gyaru in 2002-2003 when I came across a jfashion magazine that had some gal reader snaps in it. I thought it was weird but interesting at first. I then came back across it in 2007 when I watched the anime Peach Girl. Even though Momo wasn’t actually gal, I was still curious how anyone could hate her for having tan skin and light hair (both of which have always been popular in America). After some research, I found EGG and 小悪魔ageha magazines and started adapting my makeup and style to that of a gal. None of my friends were “gal,” but the party lifestyle and attitude were there, and we were all tanned and had long nails, so I never stuck out.
Gosh, 2002?! That’s amazing! You’ve been in the gal community for as long as I can remember! Has it changed much over the years?
It’s been a long time… Even though I took a 5 year hiatus, I still stayed in touch with the community and not much has changed. I’ve seen circles start and then disband. At one point we all had blogs and YouTube channels and now we’re all on Instagram instead. We got rid of g_s (Gyaru Secrets) which was a good thing, but then lolcow popped up (and then died, it can stay dead). Now we’re on the 2nd issue of Papillon magazine and I feel like we’re in our western gal renaissance. It’s amazing to watch the community flourish like this. A lot of my friends who were considered “og” community members have left gal, but some are coming back. Some others are still gal but don’t participate in the online community much anymore, they just live their lives as gyaru without broadcasting it and I respect that.
I feel like quite a lot of og gals left because they were growing up and out of fashion (which is a shame but hey, that’s adult life!) Did you find that your style changed once you became a gyaru mama?
I don’t think my style changed much because I was 20 when I had my first child. I still love wearing mini dresses and short shorts, but I recently turned 30 so I’m working on adapting my style a little bit. I don’t think that it’s necessary to change yourself after you have kids, but I understand certain things take a back seat.
And how do you juggle between gyaru and a being a mother?
Sometimes it’s hard, when my son was little he would want to get into my makeup and one time he even yanked the cord of my curling iron and it landed on his leg and burned him. My daughter is almost 3 and she sees everything that I’m doing and LOVES it. She wants to wear makeup and do her nails, so I gave her her own stuff to play with and I paint her nails when I do mine, but I’m not trying to influence her into anything she doesn’t want to do. If she wants to wear makeup when she’s older, that’s fine, but if she doesn’t, that’s fine too. There are a lot of other things you have to balance too, like money for sports and activities and school stuff, so I can’t just blow all my money on makeup and clothes like I used to. Being in the beauty industry gives me a leg up in this situation because I can do my own hair and nails and get makeup for a discounted price from professional stores.
Awh that’s so cute that your daughter is getting into it, and I really respect your decision to let her make her own choices. What are the main struggles that you face being a gyaru mama?
The main struggles I face are people judging me for having children at a young age, and my appearance makes people not take me seriously at times. I’m a 30 year old woman! But my son’s classmates’ parents are all in their 40s.
Raising children is also tough, because they’re small humans who are experiencing many things for the first time, and sometimes we judge them unfairly for it. So it’s all about balancing and being understanding and gentle while still being stern and giving them the guidelines to use to make proper decisions for themselves. I’m the more laid-back parent, while my partner is more strict, so I do have the difficulty of the children not always listening to me, but my partner does a good job of backing me up in situations where I have to discipline them. It is hard, though, because there are times where I want to be strict and he wants to be laid-back and it ends up confusing the children.
All in all, even though it’s a lot of hard work, being a parent is also really fun, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Yes! I love that. Would you ever take your children to a gyaru meet? Or meet up with other gyaru mamas?
I have taken Caleb to a gal meet! In 2012 some of the members of Diamond gal-sa had a meet in Los Angeles that I took Caleb to. He wasn’t even 2 yet, so we left before the drinking and karaoke started. Everyone loved him and we had a great time. I’d for sure do it again if it was a local meet, so I could take them home before the adult activities. If it was an international meet, I’d most likely leave them at home with my partner, because traveling as a family is expensive.
I’d meet up with other gyaru mamas for sure if there were some local to me! Like I said, traveling with children can be stressful and expensive, so it’s easier on everyone if it’s a local meet.
What advice would you give to those who are new to parenting?
Advice I’d give to new gyaru mamas would be to try and streamline as much of your getting ready time as possible, especially if you have little and/or curious children. Whether that means picking out your coord the night before or using heat-less hair styling methods. Long nails are do-able, but you have to be diligent in cleaning under them, and 3D deco can scratch them, so flat designs or flat stones work best. I actually took my nails into account when purchasing a car seat! I found that the ones with round buttons wouldn’t work with the length I keep my nails, so I walked around the store trying all of the seats until I found one with the specs and button I liked. An oval or rectangle button works best with long nails.
Other tips include:
- Don’t fake tan your boobs if you breastfeed, it will give baby a fake tan beard
- Coordinating outfits is super cute and easy nowadays with companies making cuter baby clothes.
- Don’t think you have to sell off all your d.i.a and go straight to onee gal as a mom. There are so many tsuyome and kyabajo mamas and mamas of all different styles.
- Don’t buy an ugly diaper bag. If you have a big purse you like, there are inserts available to add pockets and pouches to the inside so you can carry everything you need for you and baby inside your cute purse.
- When they get old enough to walk steadily, take them to pick out a cute backpack and have them carry it as a diaper and toy bag! They love it and it frees up room in your bag.
- Also, make sure to make time for yourself. After I put my kids to bed, I relax with a face mask, a glass of wine, and some Netflix. If I get them to bed early enough, I order myself delivery that I’m not made to share!
- Don’t stress about getting the “pre-baby body” back. Your body created a human, and that’s an amazing feat and you should be proud of the body that did that.
That’s perfect! Thank you so much for those tips, I’m sure they’ll be incredibly helpful for new parents out there. Okay, one last thing before we go… What’s your favourite dessert?
My favorite dessert is matcha cheesecake!
Are you a gyaru mama? How do you juggle fashion and childcare?