How to Build Your Best Self (Ft. The Coolest Girl in the World)

In Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade, 13-year-old Kayla Day is navigating her final week at middle school while carefully cultivating her online identity and offline survival kit. To understand what makes her tick, we offer our own tutorial on how to get the look of the coolest girl in the world.

Hey guys! It’s Ella, back with another article! So a lot of you have been asking me what new movies to watch. There is SO much to choose from. You want to see something that’ll change your life as much as your watchlist, right? So I thought I’d answer that as well as the question you guys ask ALL the time: How To Build Your Best Self.

Basically, we have to try to look like ourselves but also change the parts that make us not really like ourselves, without anyone noticing, so we can just fit in. I saw this movie called Eighth Grade and thought today’s tutorial could be inspired by the girl, Kayla, in that.

If you enjoy this article, don’t forget to like and subscribe to my life, and definitely tag me in any hot takes you have about your new look. Ready? Ok! Gucci!

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STEP 1: Figure out your annoying hair (but DON’T break it)

Heat: To get hair like Kayla’s, you’ll want it to look straight, but with waves. It’ll look effortless to everyone else, but don’t worry about how long it takes you to style (maybe do it while watching a movie? Or more tutorials just in case?). Blow-dry in the morning (HEAT PROTECTOR!!) but leave it a bit wet like Kayla’s, so it looks shiny.

Colour: Maybe you could get highlights like Kayla? Honey is hot and you(r hair) will look the same as everyone on Instagram.

Style: If you part your hair to the side, you can tuck a piece behind your ear. Fringes aren’t cool anymore, but if you can work with that weird frizz and just hide it away, it’ll look great and will cover your forehead too. Which leads us onto...

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STEP 2: Fix bad skin (Makeup and skincare (AND WHAT NOT TO DO))

Makeup to hide acne: Kayla starts her day with one eye on the mirror, one on a tutorial. She uses a Beauty Blender to dab both cheeks and her forehead with thick concealer. You need to completely cover your blemishes so all the imperfect bits you hate will at least be the same colour.

Makeup to distract from acne: Trace two thick lines with a kohl eye pencil. If you’ve got one line on the top and the bottom of your eyes, it’ll make them look so big you could win ‘Best Eyes’! The pencil might run around your face, like Kayla’s, but it’ll just make it seem more casual. Never look like you’ve tried too hard.

Skincare to cure acne: Honestly, I wish I knew. Kayla washes her face with water so I guess you should do that too?

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STEP 3: Dress to impress yourself (but also feel comfortable (but also impress other people too))

Wearing all black is a huge statement (unless you’re an adult or a goth but do they actually still exist?) so be confident and find colours that suit you. Kayla has blonde hair so it’s really cool she wears yellow a lot.

At school: You can’t go wrong with T-shirts and shorts, blue denim is genius. If you’re not sure about bright colours, try a slogan instead? Go for a grey (less dramatic than black) print? Kayla’s Hollister top is different to her yellow one but hangs in the same shape. And again, denim FTW!

For parties: If you don’t want to talk to people but want them to be impressed – Colour with a capital C. Kayla’s neon green swimsuit is iconic, nothing less. Take note and conquer.

Accessories: Chokers are IN (make sure they’re not too small, those marks on your neck are a NIGHTMARE to lose), clear phone cases are a MUST (don’t worry if your charger cable is pink, those ones are cheaper!) and get a backpack that WON’T get dirty. Blue will match your denim! Get a blue one!

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STEP 4: Show the world! (Do you have Twitter?)

This step is super important. We watch movies to see who we are, or who we want to be. We make tiny movies of ourselves on Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube to show the world how much better we’ve become. Every notification gets us that bit closer to feeling like our best selves.

Kayla is really smart about how she looks online – which matters way more than whatever happens IRL. On Snapchat, she loves rabbit filters (they make your face, like, so skinny) and is so good at captions – a bit sad but still funny to her followers. On Instagram and Twitter, she’s the one doing more following, scrolling through everyone else’s lives so she can figure out how to fix her own.

Get Twitter and follow people you think are funny, people you want to be friends with. Get Instagram and follow people you think are beautiful, people you wish would like you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have great posture, if you don’t smile loads or if you don’t say many words out loud. Kayla doesn’t always, and that’s ok. What matters is finding the look that makes you feel like you’re being you. It can totally look like Kayla, but from then on it’ll just be your own true version of, well, you. And that’s the coolest person in the world right there.

[Words by Ella Kemp]

Eighth Grade opens Friday 26 April in cinemas.


Ryan Hewitt