She’s not your typical Mary Sue. Mars Quiboloy is a 4’10 supernova with colorful hair, perfectly winged eyeliner, and an incomparable, inimitable style and aesthetic. She’s a quintuple threat – from music, songwriting, photography, makeup, and art, there’s nothing Mars can’t do. Get a closer look at how this star shines bright, and how she’s redefining what it means to be a teenage girl.
Nicole ‘Mars’ Quiboloy is a seventeen-year-old Filipina, currently in her junior year in the Music/Audio Tech Program at High Tech High School. She resides in Jersey City, New Jersey, specifically West Side. She constantly delves throughout the realms of both visual and performing arts, whether it be simply dabbling with clothes-making, or creating professionally with photography and releasing original music.
There’s a story behind the name Mars, rooted deep within the culture of her Filipino nationality.
“The nickname Mars came from a long time ago,” she recalls. “I’m Filipino, so the nickname Mars is really common amongst older friend groups, especially women. Mars is derived from Kumare or Kumares, which means girlfriend in Tagalog. The expression is like, ‘Hey Kumares!’ So as a joke, my Filipino friend group started calling me like Mare or Mares, and I was like, oh that’s really cool, I’m going to take that, and I now am that.”
Her Face is Her Canvas
Makeup is an incredibly ardent and inspired art form. MUAs have gained an immense amount of credibility in establishing solid careers as a true artist, and for good reason. To create a makeup look is to tell a story, with every stroke of the brush, curl of the eyelash, or color on the lip, it’s like you can see inside the makeup artist’s heart and soul.
Mars doesn’t do what she considers to be ‘normal makeup’. She takes inspiration from other artists, such as Madrona Redhawk and Tania/Luciphyrr, and admires how they push the boundaries on women’s beauty, men’s beauty, and anything that has to do with accentuating facial features. But she also is trying to make a name for herself in the makeup community and industry. ‘Outside of the box’ aesthetics, a word that has gained a new definition in our generation, factor into all her makeup looks. From music and art based aesthetics – such as EDM, which incorporates neon colors, metallic details, and glitter, to soft girl, to Kidcore and Glitchcore, to darker aesthetics. Mars finds herself particularly drawn to this E-girl style as a ‘former emo kid’, not just in makeup, but in articles of clothing like chains, chokers, and black clothing. She likes to be extravagant and over the top, applying enormous eyelashes, smothering her face in eyeshadow, and coloring every part of her face.
“When I do makeup, I want someone to look at a post and be like, yeah, Mars would definitely do that, Mars has definitely done that.”– Mars Quiboloy, 2020
Rebelling and Risks
Mars and cliche character archetypes don’t particularly get along. She’s certainly not your bland, generic Mary Sue type girl – come on, she dyes her hair a new color every month. She’s Asian, but she’s no huge nerd with glasses and is obsessed with getting straight A’s. But she’s also not your femme fatale, your lovable rogue, your manic pixie dream girl, your goth-like Allison Reynolds – she’s all of these in one.
In terms of fashion, Mars finds striking, eye-catching articles of clothing and pairs it with casual and ordinary attire. One day in sophomore year, Mars wore a pair of black pants, a silver jacket, and just a bra, despite school dress code.
“It’s ordinary until you see my bra, which is an example of crazy risks that I take. People know that I do this. People know that I’m taking these risks without looking back.” She declared with confidence and pride.
She also takes from global fashion, such as Korean, Japanese, and Midwestern, in which she takes a liking to lengthy dresses. Platform shoes are also a favorite of hers, and it has become a staple in her closet full of pizzazz.
If you thought Mars’ rebellious nature, prowess in makeup, passion for fashion, and influencing Instagram was the extent of her brilliance, you thought wrong. She auditioned for the select, limited-space Music/Audio Tech program at High Tech High School, and got accepted. When she stepped in her freshman year, she expected to play rock music, complete with headbanging and high energy. For the majority of her performances, however, they were instead slow, low-tempo, more chill songs.
For Music/Audio Tech’s 2019 end of year concert, Decades, her wish came true. She played “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, and Mars describes it as “the first time that I was able to do something that has never been done.” Her musical advisor had said it was the most amount of energy he’d seen out of any performance.
Mars also has her own SoundCloud, under the name Mahrz Music. It was created many years ago, likely in middle school. She dislikes her old albums, Home and Static Minds, as she wasn’t as educated or skilled in terms of writing lyrics and which chords sound good together.
However, she has definitely improved over time. The motivation for her most recent album, Nothing Matters, wasn’t love or heartbreak, it was written out of pure spite. Her middle school, which she describes as “bland and so boring, where no one could really see themselves doing something crazy”, had classmates that didn’t believe in her musical aspirations. She dreamed of pursuing music, but her friends believed it was a dead end. Instead of getting discouraged, she used these hurtful words as the fiery fuel to composing Nothing Matters.
Music is escapism for her. Mars uses music to vent about other and vent about the world. Asides from writing music, she plays music to keep herself busy, and she is fascinated by learning about guitars and basses and violins. Even simply listening is therapeutic, because everything is curated to how you feel and can instantly soothe any tough situation.
“I think it’s the beautiful thing about music and genres and songwriters and bands and anyone out there that writes music,” Mars remarked. “They’re just writing about how they feel and what they want the world to know about them.”
Master of All Trades
The list doesn’t stop there. Mars also has a knack for photography; it has been her hobby for almost three or four years. Her business and personal photography account on Instagram is @holyspvces, displaying white-bordered, high quality photos with teens posing as models.
She wasn’t interested in photography at first. When her dad offered to give Mars his old camera, she was nonchalant and indifferent about it, merely accepting it as a gift. However, when two of her friends with an expertise in photography graced Mars with their knowledge, she was riveted. She learned how to properly take photos, edit, and photoshop to create digital masterpieces to share.
“It’s like visual poetry. You can take pictures of anything and everyone will interpret something different from that photo. It’s a good way to vent.”– Mars Quiboloy, 2020
In addition, Mars has just started out in making her own clothes. Although it’s difficult now, she’s already shown prowess with painting abstract faces on thrifted jeans, and has made some sweaters and shirts in the past.
Protest to Perform
On November 1, 2019, students at High Tech held a sit-in by the entrance of the school in protest of the firing of a beloved Music/Audio Tech teacher, Mr. Jacob Lawson. Mars’ role in the protest was the official photographer, in which she captured powerful moments that were shared all over social media. Mars didn’t expect for the protest to receive amount of hype and word as it did. News outlets asked her for the photographs she took, which she felt incredibly honored to do so.
She found a great sense of unity and courage from both the protest itself and the people involved. In hindsight, a bunch of students standing up to important school authority is pretty scary, but there was strength in numbers. Mars felt good about how everyone in High Tech’s arts community worked together for this cause, despite some having rocky relationships with each other.
“To see this kind of thing happen in such young people’s lives, it’s crazy,” Mars recalled on her experiences from last year. “I also think it affected the history of High Tech a lot. Like, if someone were to bring this up in a couple years from now, saying ‘Remember that protest at High Tech?’ Many people, even future freshmen, would remember hearing about it or reading it on the news.”
Not only did this protest affect High Tech’s history, but it was a win for the performing arts community as a whole – even though technically, the board meeting didn’t go as expected.
“I feel like it’s still a win for us because we worked hard to save Lawson’s job, even though things didn’t really work out as planned. It’s still good for us.” Mars said with a smile.
The Gen Z Poster Child
Unlike others that long to experience the ’60s or ’70s lifestyle, claiming that they were “born in the wrong generation”, Mars feels like she’s exactly where she belongs. Although she has an appreciation for the ’80s and ’90s aesthetics, Mars feels like she wouldn’t want to wish for the different hardships back then, even though there are hardships now.
When asked what characteristic of Generation Z most resonates with her, Mars answered with being bold. She feels that living in this time period, where everything is hectic and constantly moving, especially during the pandemic, being bold and expressive is the best thing you can do during these dark times.
“Those who make statements are going to be great pioneers in the future. They’ll stand up for Gen Z and make their own names for themselves.”-Mars Quiboloy, 2020
Truly being yourself and emphasizing every aspect of your unique being, whether good or bad, is going to help you take off in your life. It’ll help you soar and reach the vast expansions of the infinite universe. It’s something Nicole Quiboloy constantly does – and in doing so, she landed on the planet Mars.