This week’s #PolishedProfessional is biochem PhD student Tayler Catherine! Catch her on Instagram sharing glances of her lab life and educating her followers on different drugs & chemicals. Read below for my interview with her.
I’m a PhD Candidate in Pharmacology at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, and my research focuses on the effects of supposedly ‘fertility-boosting’ herbal supplements on sperm cells. I also love science communication (especially squashing pesky pseudoscience myths!), fitness and pizza!
For you, does beauty play a role in being a scientist? If yes, how?
I think that we need to perpetuate the idea that anybody can be a scientist. For me (and a lot of others), we are not always taken seriously as a scientist because of our appearance, because the notion of ‘beauty’ (or taking any pride in one’s appearance, through makeup, clothing or something else) is correlated with a lack of intelligence, though of course most of us know this is not true. So I guess the role it plays for me is to not let other peoples’ idea of beauty dictate what kind of scientist (or human) I am, and not change or downplay my appearance or habits in order to please them or prevent unsolicited comments because that is not on me.
Do you have any experience with being treated differently in your professional life for beauty habits or routines that you participate in?
Yes! When I started in my lab I got told, “we need to get you looking the part of an actual scientist”. If I wear makeup (especially noticeable eye make up) I get asked “how I even have the time to do that, I must be so patient” or “who are you wearing that for?” It isn’t just beauty- if I wear a dress or something colourful (or basically anything other than scrubs) others in my department always comment. They even comment on the days I wear activewear instead of dressing nicely/professionally, so I can’t win! Like, who cares what people wear? Why comment on others’ appearances at all?! I don’t comment on the fact that you showed up to work without even brushing your hair…
If you could formulate one product what would it be?
Something that ACTUALLY minimizes pore size, like a lot of products claim to do (FYI: it is not possible). I have huge pores so that would be the dream! (yes girl yes!!)
Desert island beauty product edition! What 3 products do you need to survive?
- Alpha H Liquid Gold – it has a cult status for a reason!
- SPF50+ moisturizer (I use Alpha H but if I were actually on a desert island I wouldn’t be a brand snob…). I don’t even leave my house without some form of sun protection (can I take a hat to the island as well?).
- A cleanser that also exfoliates, so I can at least have clean skin whilst trying to signal to passing ships.
Any favorite beauty hacks for the lab, desk, gym, traveling, or anywhere else?
Not really a hack because I think everybody knows this but chooses to ignore it, but don’t wear makeup on planes or to the gym!
Follow Tayler on Instagram – @taylercatherine