The conflict of Russia and Ukraine stopped her from Eurovision but it also embarks her career with a distinct style
MARUV is a Ukrainian singer who was meant to represent the country at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv but after the contractual disagreement, she decided not to participate. Her single ‘Siren Girl’, with which she was meant to perform, however, has gotten a second life on Tik Tok - a relatively new app that is favored by Gen Zers. The users post short videos where they mostly lip-sync or dance quite complex choreographies to songs available in the app’s library.
Apart from providing an addictive form of entertainment, the app has launched the careers of a few artists too. Lil Nas X and Stunna Girl both enjoy popularity, label deals, and media attention after going viral on the app. The most popular videos are the ones, which incorporate some sort of routine: for Lil Nas X it’s the cowboy theme, for Stunna Girl - the makeover transformation. In the case of MARUV, it’s the seductive hip movement, swaying from side to side, with hands mimicking a gun.
Her catchy tune isn’t the only aspect that plays into the nature of Tik Tok. With many of the Gen Zers growing up on YouTube makeup tutorials, the app has birthed a new subculture focused on the beauty of the Internet era. The aesthetics of the so-called E-girls and E-boys can be compared to the emo phase many of the Millennials went through. But instead of the side fringe, there’s hair dyed in all colors of the rainbow and instead of the pitch-black smokey eyes, there are bright eyeshadows, dramatic eyeliner, and lots of blush.
Although not a teenager, MARUV’s makeup looks fit into the trend in a more elegant, but no less quirky way. Her eyeliner game is always on point with the highly pigmented eyeshadows in the palette of calmer tones, from copper to burgundy. MARUV goes for braver options as well, with her look in the music video for ‘Between Us’ being of particular notice. Created by a makeup artist Alisha Zablockaya, the artist rocks a double eyeliner with a modest black line that highlights her eyelashes. A carefully shaped red stroke that goes almost underneath her eyebrow.
Leather, latex, and dark lipstick - a big part of MARUV’s aesthetics hints to BDSM culture. This finds reflection in the elements of the Gen Z style, or in other words, the form of people in the future. They are ultimately inspired by the 90s, an epoch marked by the release of ‘Sex’ - a coffee table book written by Madonna. Indeed, the passing decade has had an infatuation with a kink, from Rihanna's popular track ‘S&M’ to E. L. James’ bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. The rise of the LGBTQ+ rights movement can be credited with the liberation of the mainstream and the youngsters’ sense of fashion spiced with the layers of freedom of expression as accessories.
The experimental and courageous MARUV may come from a non-Western, largely conservative country but her looks are non-generic. The artist shows a lot of promise and has millions of views on her YouTube channel, gaining popularity far beyond Ukraine. ‘I live in Berlin and yesterday I heard this song in a club’, says one of the comments under the video ‘Drunk Groove’, hailing from the European capital of free expression. Another one dubs her as a ‘Ukrainian Madonna’. The singer might as well be the one who helps rid the Russian-speaking world of puritanism, shocking the society into open-mindedness.