Die Hot with a Vengeance: Essays on Vanity (Hardcover)

Die Hot with a Vengeance: Essays on Vanity By Sable Yong Cover Image

Die Hot with a Vengeance: Essays on Vanity (Hardcover)


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Journalist and former Allure editor Sable Yong debuts with a sharp-toothed and hilarious essay collection about beauty and vanity, examining their stigmatization in the cultural zeitgeist, and how to shift the focus to use both for powerful tools for self-exploration, interpersonal connection, and cultural change.

The beauty industry has a single mandate: be hot.

In the same week that you might be encouraged to try curtain bangs, contouring, bleached eyebrows, laser facials, buccal fat removal, fillers, and “non-invasive” facelifts, you’re simultaneously absorbing mantras about self-care, body positivity, empowerment, and loving yourself just as you are.

Overwhelmed yet? 

Fear not. Die Hot with a Vengeance delves into the machinations of this multi-billion-dollar industry, offering readers an expert analysis of its inner workings with the precision of a scalpel and the humor of a stand-up comedian. Along the way, Yong sets off to answer some of the biggest questions of our time: 

  • How do you break through the noise of beauty and wellness culture’s endless optimization protocols?
  • How can you find actual authenticity in a world of performative artifice?
  • Can the antidote to aging be found in a jar, tube, or at the end of a syringe?
  • Do blondes really have more fun?

Using Yong’s many years of experience as a beauty editor to unlock the industry’s myriad secrets, Die Hot with a Vengeance gives beauty and vanity a neutralizing make-over. At its best, beauty is so much more than an aesthetic; it’s an inspirational mindset. It’s a playfulness inherent to the practice of self-expression.

And yet it’s difficult to engage playfully when it feels like beauty is an ever-moving target. We’re all subject to societal expectations surrounding beauty and vanity, enough so that breaking through the capitalist pressures can feel impossible. Yong argues that while the mandate may be for us to be hot, the beauty industry thrives on us absorbing its teachings so it can keep us in a constant feedback loop of appearance-based anxiety, forever perpetuating unattainable standards. Flipping that imperative, Yong’s debut collection poses the most important question of all: How do you discover your value of beauty so you can free yourself from the loud and bullshitty noise of all these entities telling you that you’re not good enough?

Digging deep into our most pervasive and questionable beauty trends and conventions, Die Hot with a Vengeance offers an incisive yet wry dissection of one of our most enduring cultural addictions. Irreverent, side-splittingly funny, and astute, the book is as amusing as it is insightful, an instant classic for beauty-readers and aspirant hotties alike. 

Sable Yong is a freelance writer and editor. Formerly a beauty editor at Allure, she got her start in beauty as a writer and editor at xoVain, championing the personal, individual, and truly weird nature of beauty. She co-hosts a podcast about all things scent-related, called Smell Ya Later. Sable’s extensive work and talent has appeared in Vogue, Elle, The New York Times, Manrepeller, GQ, New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, Teen Vogue, and others. Die Hot with a Vengeance is her first book. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780063236486
ISBN-10: 0063236486
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English

“Beauty culture is toxic. Beauty culture is fun. With her new essay collection, Sable Yong asks, Why can’t it be both? … Die Hot might not answer every reader’s questions about how best to engage with beauty, but it offers a position from which to study those questions with humor and compassion—and a sharply critical eye” — ELLE

“With humor and candor, Die Hot With a Vengeance shows why beauty should be a tool of self-expression, not self-hate.” — TIME

“Yong’s many years as a beauty editor have afforded her unparalleled access to coveted products and treatments. In her memoir, she asks: to what end? Expect a mix of personal history and cultural criticism, as she wrestles with what beauty and wellness hath wrought.” — Bustle

“What is beauty? As Yong, a former fashion magazine editor, argues in this wickedly smart essay collection, the very idea is a moving target. Humor, well-deployed here, may well be the best way to counter the oppressive beauty standards we all face.” — Boston Globe

“Throughout Die Hot With A Vengeance, Yong emphasizes the practicalities of beauty, because in the end beauty is not a moral imperative, not a rulebook, not a winner-takes-all competition. It should be whimsical, personal, and never anchored to just one ideal, much like this book itself.” — The Brooklyn Rail

Sable Yong's charmingly subversive and often hilarious debut, Die Hot with a Vengeance: Essays on Vanity, demystifies the glamorous allure of the beauty industry and invites readers to engage with beauty culture in a manner that stays true to how they view and value themselves. Her provocative essays delve right into the heart of the question, "What is beauty for?"" — Shelf Awareness

“A vibrant essay collection about beauty, identity, and cultural acceptance...Yong’s take on beauty and fashion is revealing, playful, and heartfelt." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A must-read for anyone who has felt the tension between the beauty industry’s ability to simultaneously exploit and empower, Die Hot With a Vengeance eviscerates the manipulative aspects of Big Beauty without shaming those who love what beauty practices can offer. With this comprehensive collection of essays, Yong demystifies the beauty industry while illuminating a path toward self-liberation in which we can enjoy beauty while extricating ourselves from ideals that don’t serve us." — Ling Ling Huang, author of Natural Beauty