How to Create a “Modern Mod” Look




Today we’re going put together a “modern mod” look. The mods were on the cutting edge of fashion in the 60s. They were known for their chic, geometric haircuts, bold yet easy-to-dance-in fashion, and dramatic makeup and accessories.


Nancy Kwan

Step 1. Mod-ify your hair

The mods wore their hair in bold, geometric shapes – think bobs and blunt bangs. I opted for a wig, since my natural hair is more California boho than Vidal Sassoon. This wig is originally below-chin-length with bangs past my eyes.


If you have bangs, give them a clean, neat edge or pull them aside. I trimmed the bangs to just above my eyebrows, arching slightly down below my temples.


Treat the rest of your hair similarly – just get it all organized and geometric, however that works for your hair. I reshaped my wig so that it was slightly shorter in the back and longer in the front, like Nancy Kwan’s iconic mod cut by Vidal Sassoon.

2. Prep your skin

When mods wore makeup, they often wore matte, opaque, full-coverage foundation and powder. Stick to whatever coverage level you normally like to wear, but do aim to get your skin looking smooth and even-toned so that the attention stays on the dramatic eye makeup.


I used Boscia BB Cream for all-over, sheer coverage, covered up redness around the corners of my nose and a couple spots with this Makeup Forever Concealer Palette, and set it all with a light dusting of Neutrogena Skin-Clearing powder.

3. Create Your Dramatic Cat-Eye

Prep eyelids with a primer, which will keep your makeup in place and help prevent it from melting or smudging off. I used a Laura Mercier primer sample across the top lid.

Then draw your cat-eye. I used a black Almay Liquid Liner to draw a thick line across my top lashes, which I then extended to a point beyond the edge of my natural brow.


Tips: Start small, and add on. You can always add more – it’s harder to remove excess and try again. Step away from the mirror and check yourself out frequently to make sure the cat-eye is flattering from all angles. Use a pointed cotton swab (I got mine for $2 at Muji) to clean up the cat-eye as you go along.


Donyale Luna

Then draw in a crease to enhance the look. Donyale Luna, above, filled in her natural crease with a dark powder shadow. Chin Fei, below, opted for a solid black line.


Chin Fei

My eyelids are more like Chin Fei’s than Donyale Luna’s, so I drew a crease where there was none, about halfway between my natural crease and my brow. You can use the same liquid liner, but I opted to paint in a softer line using a pointed cotton swab dipped in an apparently-discontinued rich gold eyeshadow by Tarte.


Notice how the gold crease line kind of follows the arc of the eyeball. I later went back in with a pointed cotton swab dipped in primer to “erase” the outer edges of the gold and redraw them as wings.

Now at this point, if you’re going to wear a wig, put it on so that you can be sure to choose colors for the rest of your face that will complement your hair color.


Carefully use another pointed cotton swab to add any contrasting color to the lid and brow bone around your lines. I decided to keep the look simple and focused on the gold and black lines by using the lightest shade in my Makeup Forever concealer palette to define the eye.


4. Add Subtle Color to Cheeks & Lips

Next, apply a subtle blush and lip color.

Many mods wore a matte nude lipstick, but I prefer to keep the rest of the look low-maintenance since the eye is so complex. I used a coral-pink blush by Tarte and a sheer pink Baby Lips lipgloss.


5. Add Dramatic Fake Eyelashes


I got my eyelashes and eyelash glue at the same shop where I got the wig. I always seek out non-toxic products but I haven’t been able to source any non-toxic eyelashes (these contain formaldehyde) or eyelash glue anywhere. Any recommendations? Please tweet me or leave a comment if you’d like – I’d love to hear from you.


To apply the eyelashes, add a thin layer of glue to the seam and let it dry for about 30 seconds, or until tacky to touch. Lower them onto your lash line. Use a cotton swab to gently push the tacky edge as close to your natural lash line as possible.


6. More Is More: Add More Cat-Eye


The key to keeping this look fresh and attractive (as opposed to overdone and sad, lol) is to keep everything as seamless, blended, symmetrical, and crisp as possible.

So add another layer of eyeliner over the dried glue, which will otherwise very likely reflect light differently than the eyeliner, ruining the seamless effect. Clean up the edges as needed by dipping a pointed cotton swab into whatever background color you selected for your eyelids (in this case, a very pale, matte cream concealer) and “erasing” any stray makeup with short, gentle strokes.

7. Put the Final Touch On Your Lashes

Carefully curl the natural and fake eyelashes together. Start at the very base, as close to the lash line as you can, being careful not to pinch – and gently “pump” your mascara wand along the lashes at regular intervals until you reach the tip. This will give your lashes an elegant, gradual curve.  Repeat until you’ve achieved the curve that you want.

My lashes are naturally short and sparse, and my eyes are wide, shallow-set and taper downward slightly – elongated rather than rounded. I used to curl my eyelashes a lot more to make my eyes look rounder and bigger. But I’ve grown to love my eye shape and have learned that my lashes look best when they complement the shape of my eyes. So I usually only curl my lashes gently, one time.


And that’s it! Congrats, you’re a modern mod. Read on if you want some mod fashion inspiration to complete the look.

8. Wear with vivid colors, clean shapes, and bold geometric patterns - stripes, polka dots, black and white, all black, whatever, if you want to stick to the 60s mod look. A modern mod can wear whatever they want, obviously. I personally think this would look awesome with any look, from tshirt and jeans to floral-prints to leather leggings to a dress suit. Here are some of my favorite looks from past and present that embody the mod aesthetic:

Nancy Kwan in her iconic Vidal Sassoon cut



Peggy Moffitt4

Peggy Moffitt

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae


Donyale Luna


Karen O

Thanks for reading, hope you had fun! Feel free to tag your mod look with #ModernMod on Instagram and Pinterest, and/or say hi on Twitter anytime!


Good news!

My first published article

Remember #GawkingAtRapeCulture, which I mentioned here, here, and here? In short, tech-centric publication Valleywag wrote a really crass joke about the Comfort Women of WWII – mostly Korean women, 200,000 of them, who were forced into sex slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army.

Surviving Comfort Women hug the Memorial Statue in California

I was so upset by the piece that I joined forces with another Asian-American social justice advocate, Mike Kim, to create a hashtag campaign, #GawkingAtRapeCulture, calling on Valleywag (and its parent company Gawker) to issue an apology.

During the height of our tweeting at #GawkingAtRapeCulture a few weeks ago, Mike and I were contacted by our new friend Dorothy about submitting a proposal for an article to Model View Culture, a fantastic publication that offers a progressive, critical look at the tech industry. We did, and the article finally went live this morning. Check it out here. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this process.

I’d also recommend reading these three articles:

Some poets I love

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’d like to share the work of some of my favorite contemporary poets:

Career change: I’m going to beauty school!

Here’s my face immediately after I left my supervisor’s office last week after putting in my 2-weeks notice:

photo of kiriko kikuchi

I’m going to cosmetology school! I can’t wait to get started at the end of this month after a week-long surf trip (our last vacation for at least the next year :P). I’ve blogged extensively for my love of cosmetics, hair care, and well-being, and I’m so excited to expand my creativity and love of service to others into this new field of study.


Dear St. Dawkins Dudebros: No Means No


One of my fav twitter folks, Jay The Nerd Kid, made some great observations about how your theism/atheism does not make you a better or worse person:

And then the dudebro Spidey Senses started tingling – women were voicing their opinions about atheists! Dudebro does not like!:

So let me recap what just happened here: Jay the Nerd Kid made the point that a person’s a/theism is IRRELEVANT to whether they care about human rights. In other words, a/theism does not automaticlly make you better or worse at respecting others’ human rights. And I responded in agreement, making a JOKE that atheists often act just as fundamentalist and dogmatic as religious folk do.

To clarify: I know that atheism is not a religion. Doubting Thomas and Darth Skeptic’s attempt to correct me is beside the point. I said “No” to their attempts to engage me in this line of questioning, not only because their questions were irrelevant, but because I had a suspicion, based on observations of other literal-minded dudebros, that engaging with them would only lead to an abusive conversation. Unfortunately, I was proven right immediately when Darth Skeptic responded to my “No” with an insult to my intelligence:

This last tweet translates loosely to, “My friend @weakSquare is too noisy.” Shortly after this, Darth Skeptic’s minions arrived with more abusive words:

Right…I … that’s what I’m saying? Okay. Moving on.

Gotta love the ableism there. No Jen, any man who ignores a woman’s boundaries and punishes her for expressing them – in this case by insulting my intelligence – is exhibiting misogyny. “No means no” applies everywhere, not just in cases of sexual consent.

Cute rape joke! From a “feminist.”

This guy is a gem of a man, BY the way. You should read his blog. We’re working on #GawkingAtRapeCulture together, which you can read about here. Okay anyways -

This tweet, which I found in my mentions this morning, is well-intentioned but still besides my point. I appreciate that he’s expressing supportive emotions. But I don’t want anyone to walk away from this conversation thinking I was trying to make an analytical, definitive statement about What Atheism Is Or Isn’t:

I was making a comparative, even poetic comparison to draw attention to my actual point which is that atheists often behave just as abusively as the religious fundamentalists they condemn.

So my takeaways from this conversation: You can think you’re a feminist but still act a misogynist jerk. It’s possible to engage with women without insulting them when they say no. Knowing the dictionary definition of words doesn’t make you a better person. And this one is for the liberal dudebros who even publicly call themselves feminist, like Darth Skeptic here: “No means no” applies ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE, not just in relation to sexual interactions. Respect “No” when you hear it: when you’re horny, when you want something, when you’re angry, when you’re rejected, when you think you’re just being nice and logical and justified in whatever it is that you’re doing. No means no.

“Can’t a joke just be a joke?” [TW: rape, violence]

Last week, Gawker’s tech-focused gossip blog “Valleywag” posted an article comparing a dating startup to Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during WWII. In response, I wrote Letter to Valleywag and Gawker Compares Startup to Korean Rape Victims, @SaySoju created a Storify called Gawker: Sexual Slavery is Funny, and @EC wrote Nitasha Tiku’s Apology.

Korean comfort womanThe following is an excerpt from the comments section to @EC’s post, featuring a comment from “Greg” and a response to his comment by myself:

Greg said, on March 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Can’t a joke just be a joke? So what if the joke is about some horrible event in the past? If something is funny, it’s funny, and even if you don’t personally find it funny, shouldn’t others be allowed to do so? Why must the joke-teller apologize?

Making a joke comparison like the one in the article doesn’t mean anyone telling or laughing at the joke in any way believes the joked-about event itself was funny or justified or good. It’s simply acknowledging that while we can’t un-do the past, it’s okay to laugh about it in the present. Caren, whose family comes from Korea, thought the joke was funny and inoffensive, as did another Korean friend of mine.

Kiriko said, on March 11, 2014 at 4:40 am

Greg, I agree with EC.

The reason I find jokes in this vein (containing rape; racism; other types of abuse) problematic enough to speak out against is because it creates fear in the subject of the jokes while perpetuating a cultural atmosphere that ranges from dismissive to silently tolerant to openly appreciative of rapey, racist, abusive culture. While I can imagine why a mere “joke” could appear innocuous to someone who has the privilege of not being subject to constant threat of rape, racism, and abuse due to their gender, race, political beliefs, etc, those of us who are perceived as “lesser” by dominant (ie male, white, elite, protected, etc) society do not have the same privilege of casually brushing these jokes aside.

In my experience, a carefree/dismissive/jovial/accepting attitude toward abuse (“What’s the big deal? Can’t a joke just be a joke?”) is frequently used either as an anesthetic or a stimulant: either the person considers themselves liberal/progressive and uses humor to numb themselves to the trauma that they are trying to pretend isn’t happening/that they are possibly complicit in, or they are conservative/openly racist/sexist/abusive and use humor to stimulate themselves to aggressive action. A good example is in American Hustle, when the leading men snort coke as preparation for violence. Another good example can be seen in the documentary The Act of Killing, which portrays the men who were responsible for slaughtering thousands of Communists in Indonesia in 1965. In one scene, [TW: rape] a man laughs about how much he enjoyed raping 14 year old girls during massacres. [end TW]. This is a prime demonstration of how humor can be used as a social/psychological lubricant en route to/in the aftermath of overt physical violence.

So while I agree that a joke is *relatively* harmless compared to the physical violence it evokes, please keep in mind that the people who protest the use of such humor tend to be those who either have experienced trauma or can empathize with the trauma of those victimized. “Jokes” are not harmless; they cause blood pressure to rise, they trigger painful, overwhelming memories and emotions, they create very real fear in the “subjects” of the joke as they are reminded of the broader sociopolitical context of violence in which they live. Even if the joke does not cause a negative emotional response in the listener, the very act of “downplaying” a horrifying historical event into an easily-digested (for some) “joke” is violent because it minimizes the suffering of those who were actually affected, effectively erasing their history from broader consciousness – paving the way for such horrors to be re-created again in the future.


Follow the story and join in the conversation on Twitter at #GawkingAtRapeCulture.

Gawker Compares Startup to Korean Rape Victims

Here are the updates to the Valleywag Comfort Women scandal. For those of you new to this story, two days ago, I was sickened to see that Gawker’s tech-focused media site Valleywag had posted a “satirical” article comparing a new startup, The Dating Ring, to the Japanese Imperial Army’s use of sex slaves during World War II. These women, known as Comfort Women, are a group of up to 200,000 mostly Korean women now in their 80s and 90s. They are now slowly dying without receiving a formal apology from the government of Japan, who has recently been attempting to downplay the horror of this piece of their military history.

In my previous post, I published the letter I sent to the article’s writer and editors, as well as the aftermath of outrage from fellow supporters of the Comfort Women. Here are the latest developments:

I initially reached out to the author of the piece, Nitasha Tik. She responded with a link to the apology that she had posted in the comments section of the original article, which I included in the above post. Today I sent the following response:


Thank you for replying and for addressing our concerns. I would appreciate a more in-depth statement included *above* the original content, so as not to similarly upset and traumatize potential Korean/Korean-American Valleywag readers and other supporters of the Comfort Women.

However, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I imagine that you’re in a tough spot as a Woman of Color in tech, well known for its misogynistic treatment of women employees — especially since your editors refuse to back you up with their own apology. In fact, they’re inflaming the situation by refusing to apologize, drawing further attention to you, despite your apology. This is why I’ve ceased to publicly address you despite escalating my critique of your company as a whole.

I hope you will support, if not publicly then in your heart, our demands that Gawker, Valleywag, Max Read, and Sam Biddle be held accountable for continuing to make light of such a horrible situation.



I also reached out to The Dating Ring, the startup who was slandered in the article, for a response. Lauren, CEO, responded with the following statement:

“I was disheartened, but not at all surprised, by the Valleywag article. It’s par for the course for Valleywag to make disgusting ‘tongue in cheek’ comparisons in the name of pageviews.

But to immediately equate a vacation that involves dating with sex slavery is extremely problematic — especially considering that this comparison was never drawn (and would never be drawn) for the same trip in reverse.”

Needless to say, being stonewalled, dismissed, and ridiculed by Gawker representatives in response to the outrage expressed by myself and my peers has been frustrating. However, my experience is nothing compared to the pain and frustration experienced by the Comfort Women themselves, many of whom have been protesting outside of the Japanese Embassy in Korea every week for nearly a decade, as I learned through this deeply heartbreaking, beautifully made film, Within Every Woman.

I look forward to a public apology from Gawker, Valleywag, and editors Max Read and Sam Biddle for making an inhumane attempt at satirizing the trauma of 200,000 women who were brutally enslaved and raped during WWII, and in doing so, perpetuating misogyny, racism, and rape culture in exchange for page views. Please join our social media campaign at #GawkingAtRapeCulture and #NotYourAsianSidekick to learn more and make your voices heard.