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How to do Your Makeup Like a Chola


Start with the foundation. Because a steady one has never existed
in her life, this part is easy. Apply a base ready to handle any bumps
in the road that may occur in the future, such as: welts from slaps in
the face in the form of stereotyping before she even has a chance to
grow up. A good foundation can conceal any hardships you’re bound
to endure in the future.

Apply the blush. Brush it on in a manner maximizing the sharpness
of the cheekbones highlighting the refinement of the face: exotic,
brilliant, like ancestral Mayan carvings. Avoid using too much, as
this will give people the wrong impression: Clown. Slut.

Use the pencil to shape your eyebrows, thin and arched. This will
create an exaggerated look of bewilderment which may come in
handy should you ever decide to visit the most upscale department
store in the mall. You can actually look the part rather than just play
dumb, when the saleswomen follow you around as if you stole some
sparkly earrings say, and shoved them into your purse (also presumed
stolen). The scarce hairs (mostly drawn on) will also serve as a barrier
to people looking you in the eyes, easing any guilt you may have for
sins committed that would cause your mother eternal grief if she knew

Put on the eyeshadow base before the eyeshadow so the shadow
will set better. Use a shimmery silver to compliment the golden
crucifix hiding deep in the cleavage peering out from the fitted
white tank top. Then blend in the eyeshadow on your crease
to create depth. Otherwise you’ll be seen as shallow, incapable of
accomplishing anything meaningful in life (Having children while
being a teenager doesn’t count as an accomplishment.).

Guide the eyeliner across the fringes of the upper lid slowly advancing
all the way around the eye. Repeat the process. The thicker the better.
Don’t neglect the corners—where the liner should harshly extend
pointing away from the pupils as if accusing the ears of betraying the
rest of the face.

Curl the lashes. Perfecting the art of eye-batting is vital because
you’ll need to use your sexuality like a lasso, roping potential suitors
(most likely cholos) who will show everyone how much they love you
by giving you an assortment of hickies on your neck like a raunchy
connect the dots, and in turn get your name tatted in cursive on his neck
forever displaying the bond you share. Because why waste money on a
ring of any sort when nothing says I love you heina more than a neck

The mascara should coat the lashes like an oversized Pendleton. Drape
it on as if protecting the eyes from any sort of illumination that forces
the chola to examine her current lifestyle. She doesn’t need to be reminded
being a mother is more than making sure Jr. has the freshest baby shoes.
That dropping out of high school maybe wasn’t the best move. Or that
picking and choosing your battles will give you and your loved ones a
longer life span. Because in this mi vida loca world of barrios and bandanas,
it’s all about respect, and every day is a battle.

Finally, trace the lips with lip liner. Lipstick isn’t needed. It would only
rub off from your kiss my ass FTW attitude. But the liner will still be there.
The last trace of any hope you’ll have at making something, out of

Buy my book? This Chola poem is in it!


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

33 responses »

  1. Perfect when trying to explain to my mother what a chola is!

  2. Best article I read all day. You remind me why it is good to live in SoCal, and why proper lip liner application is critical.

  3. Reminds me of 4th and griegos in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    • Not familiar with that place. But Cholas exist all around us. And if we’re lucky, we may find ourselves in the position to actually interact with one someday.

  4. Sorry but to me the chola is looking more like a transexual. I’m glad everything i don’t need to see is covered by its shirt. Kind of scary really……but interesting. u need pics of the face in progress with each step!

  5. She looks like a absolutely tacky cheap hooker. Face only a mother could love. Ghetto rat.

    • As opposed to a classy, expensive hooker, right? Why so bitter Sambuca Jack? Your name sounds like you’re a 70’s action hero living in Borneo. Are you a 70’s action hero living in Borneo, Sambuca Jack?

      • I literally just laughed out loud after reading the above comment.

      • Pretty funny, huh Tanner. But according to Google and your Twitter: your name is Tanner, you like NASCAR, and you live in Hicksville. Perfect. I’m not so sure you have any room to laugh, Boss. All good though. Carry on.

  6. i love how ur makeup looks

  7. I hope the chick in the photo doesn’t find out where you live, Dude.. LOL..

    I think you look cute, Chica.. 🙂

    I am traceable on the net.. too much foursquare..

    Nice article.. :p

  8. very awesome! im gunna forward this to some friends.

  9. Oh, this is so good it made me sad…even though I didn’t know what a chola was (I’m from Melbourne, Australia and had to google the term).

  10. lmao way to piss people off mr.romo

  11. I think you got a comment from a real life chola! Speaks a lot about your poem, que no? That’s funny and firme. Simon. haha 🙂

  12. mija diz shiet dont help nobody yew just gota be ur own dont try to fit in wit other cuz real cholas dress the way they are and alway keep ther head up

  13. Not a big fan of the chola look — thought I’ve seen some drag queens that pull it off great — but this is a wonderfully nuanced, layered expose of the process. And so much more in it than just makeup…

    Favorite line: “pointing away from the pupils as if accusing the ears of betraying the rest of the face.” Awesome!

    • Thanks. I really like that line too. Glad to hear the layers work. At least on the page, not so much on the chola’s face.

  14. Thanks Alejandra. I actually googled the subject, got the steps, and took it from there.

  15. Wow…I really like the break down of makeup application and how you related that to all aspects of that life (the chola life). Kudos!


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