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Strange New Worlds: Why Does La’An Wear Make-up to Bed?

Last week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was a time-travel story (mild spoilers) featuring La’An Noonien-Singh and James T. Kirk going back to 21st century Toronto to do something something.

This isn’t an episode review, or even, really, a commentary on the new Star Trek series—except to say that, from the beginning of Star Trek: Discovery, these basically struck me as “Y.A.” shows, which really aren’t to my taste.

And I know a lot of older fans really loathe this direction, which seems to be a continuation of the J.J. Abrams films in an attempt to reach a broader and younger audience.

But that’s what they’re doing with Star Trek—and I don’t need to add to all the complaining or counter-complaining or whatever else people do online.

Except to ask this... Why was La’an wearing makeup to bed?

As you can see from the above pic, La’An and Kirk stay overnight in a hotel (after Kirk makes money hustling street chess)—La’An takes the bed, and he’s on the couch.

And she’s in her full eye makeup and lipstick.

Aside from the occasional television appearance or Halloween costume, I don’t wear makeup, so I don’t know a lot about it.

But I do know that women take it off to go to bed.

Or, if La’An were to wear it—due to the necessity of being on a crazy mission, 200 years out of her time period—it certainly wouldn’t look so fresh and touched-up...would it?

Is this, possibly, magical 23rd century makeup that always looks amazing—like a tattoo? That explanation would get you a Marvel Comics “no-prize.”

Logically, Kirk and La’An would have also bought toiletries and she would have taken her makeup off to go to bed. I mean, they had to eat somewhere, right? And I hope they brushed their teeth.

Now, I can answer my own question: they didn’t do this because it would interject a certain naturalism and reality that would take the audience out of the story.

The producers of these shows like them to move fast, fast, fast—and if she’s suddenly out of make-up, the audience would see how human and vulnerable and different she looks...and it would jolt them out of the narrative. It would certainly slow it down for that kind of intimate revelation.

I’m pretty sure that’s the answer.

I would bet, however—and I’m just taking a guess—that Christina Chong, who plays La’An, at one point in filming this scene, asked, “Why am I wearing make-up to bed?”

Which reminds me of the anecdote when making Star Wars and Mark Hamill asked why his hair was suddenly dry on the Death Star right after getting dunked in the trash water. Harrison Ford quipped, “Hey, kid, it ain’t that kind of a movie.”

Anyway, I thought it was ridiculous.

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First time watching television?


Sean Nethery
Sean Nethery
Jul 02, 2023

It is absolutely typical that women in bed in Hollywood TV shows and movies wear makeup. Can be more or less obvious, but it's the standard. It's been true my whole life, which, um, predates color television. Says a lot more about cultural expectations of how women are "supposed" to look than it does about Star Trek.

Sean Nethery
Sean Nethery
Jul 05, 2023
Replying to

Sounds familiar, I'll revisit, thanks

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