Pat McGrath may have the best job in the world. In the ‘90s, the makeup artist was in New York when she met two immortal models for the first time. One was Kate Moss. The other? Naomi Campbell.
“We were so hyped and thrilled to be shooting with each other,” Campbell told ELLE.com by phone this week. “But don’t get it twisted: as much fun as Pat is, she’s extremely professional.” The professionalism Campbell describes came through in McGrath’s preparation: “She studied our faces,” Campbell said.
What a life: poring over the face taped to the walls of million girls’ bedrooms, staring at cheekbones sharp enough to be registered as weapons. Campbell’s face is the template for how millions want to look. 20 years later after meeting McGrath, the model is partnering with the legendary makeup artist on the launch of a new collection hammering home the point that wanting to look like Campbell means wanting to be gilded by McGrath.
Campbell stars in the campaign for the new collection called Mothership VIII Divine Rose II Eye Palette and Lipstick. In the words of McGrath: It’s sublime, a word she often uses to describe her extensive beauty line full of jewel tones and enviable shimmers that make you feel like you’ve stumbled cheeks- and lids-first into the queen’s most-prized jewels. You’ve seen sublime in her Instagram captions and heard it during her speaking engagements. But most importantly, you can see it: in the looks that have filled the most influential backstage runways, celebrity suites, magazine cover shoots, and every iconic moment in between for more than 25 years.
“I would probably be so upset if she [McGrath] didn’t ask me,” Campbell joked about appearing in the campaign. “I want to support my friends, my family, my chosen family. You know, we came up together and I feel that you’re supposed to support each other.”
With this announcement, two of the most influential women in beauty have joined forces.“I get to meet women in all the different continents that look at Pat McGrath as a God and getting to hold a Pat McGrath product is like holding gold for them,” adds the supermodel. “There is no place in Africa where I’ve been that they haven’t asked me about Pat McGrath, or in the Middle East, in Doha, and Dubai.”
Below, Campbell opens up about the first time working with McGrath alongside Kate Moss, a few beauty choices of the past she regrets, and why she’s wearing lipstick every single day of quarantine.
How did this collaboration come about?
Everyone knows I travel and I would come home from wherever I was, and would call Pat my ma, my mother, and she would be like, “Naomi, do you want to come over and do a video tomorrow?” And as tired as I may have been, I would say yes because it wasn’t work. It’s fun to be there and watch Pat creating and being a part of it.
And all the colors that she’s made for me, foundation, concealer, lipstick and I just want to support my friends. I want to support her. I want her to be on top-top-top-top-top because she deserves to be, she’s not just a makeup artist, she’s an artist.
Of course, I’m going to be proud of her. She’s the first woman of color to achieve this and it’s a big deal in my business. The first black makeup artist to achieve this, her own line, on such a level. I’m honored and blessed that she asked me to be part of it. And more than anything, when we work together, we just have so much fun. I never look in the mirror, I just sit in the chair and I trust her.
I get to meet women in all the different continents that look at Pat McGrath as a God and getting to hold a Pat McGrath product is like holding gold for them. There is no place in Africa where I’ve been that they haven’t asked me about Pat McGrath. Or in the Middle East, in Dohai, and Dubai. She is loved and she brings happiness to people with who she is as a person and her products.
Why is it so important for two iconic female forces to join together, now more than ever?
That’s where we are in this world—we need to support each other. That’s how it should be. I would probably be so upset if she didn’t ask me. [Laughs] I want to support my friends, my family, my chosen family. You know, we came up together, I feel that you’re supposed to support each other. I’ve had that happen to me through modeling with Christy [Turlington] and Linda [Evangelista] supporting me, and you’re supposed to pass that on.
I see Pat do that time and time again. I see it through her team. They blossom and they grow and then she lets them out into the world. It’s wonderful. When I go to Sephora with her, she’s teaching the next generation. Going to Pat McGrath’s ‘Mothership’ Vogue Ball, that’s where I first saw Cardi B before Cardi B became Cardi B. She’s always ahead.
What’s your first memory of working with Pat McGrath?
Oh my God, my first day was so fun. It was with Kate Moss for ID magazine on 14th street and all three of us were coming from London. We were so hyped and thrilled to be shooting with each other. Shooting in New York City in the ‘90s. But don’t get it twisted, as much fun as Pat is she’s extremely professional. She studied our faces, she knows what she wants to do, and how she wants to do it. She explains it in a way that you start to understand the character of it, about what you are going to do and who you are going to be. She’ll explain that when the light will change from day to night, the makeup will change from day to night and she’ll bring you back in and change things and you feel like you are a part of it. It makes you feel like you’re not just a model but you get to learn something from it. It all helps make the day and the shoot go so much better. And most importantly, we laugh nonstop. From the first day I met her to today, we laugh all the time.
She is a force in the sense of, she’s an excited encyclopedia. Pat knows her research about makeup and you ask about an eyebrow or a shape, she’ll tell you what year it’s from, what era or she knows her movies, she knows everything. Did you know Pat travels with about 40 cases of trunks of makeup? But some of those trunks aren’t makeup, they are full of books. She can at any time adapt to any era, any century of makeup.
When do you feel your most divine?
Everytime Pat McGrath puts her wand on me. I mean wearing the red sparkly lip to the MTV Awards I really felt like I was Dorothy wearing her red shoes going down the yellow brick road. I’ve never seen lipstick get so much attention in my life. It was incredible.
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What’s one beauty trick that Pat McGrath has taught you?
She’s a stickler about eyebrows and I don’t know how to do them very well, so I’d just rather leave them. But she doesn’t like block eyebrows, she likes them to be feathery and she likes to build depending on the character she builds. It really makes sense because an eyebrow can change the face—it can frame the face but if you do it too hard, it can mess up the whole thing.
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How has your beauty routine changed in quarantine?
I wear lipstick everyday. I wear lipstick or one of the lip pencils, every single day. It makes me feel good about myself and even for a workout I’m wearing it. I have to tell you, I do when I go work out in the gym with my trainer, I probably wouldn’t remember to put on my lips, but now that I’m at home, it makes me feel good to put on my lipstick. I want to put on lipstick when I work out. It feels good and makes me feel good. It’s good for self-esteem. We all need to look for anything that makes us feel good during this time. Positivity, enthusiasm, and during challenging times, they always say women turn to lipstick.
What are the beauty fundamentals you live by?
Mother is a stickler about skin and so am I. It’s always about skin. The skin always has to be good. Pat can put makeup on me at 9 AM and that skin is still looking good at midnight. That’s when you know a truly great makeup artist when the skin lasts. It’s not about let’s get this on and do this and get it done, no.
Do you wash your face every night or do you apply sunscreen first thing? What’s your beauty routine?
No, but for the first time in my life I put on a little primer. It’s because Pat’s is not heavy. I was never into primer. I like to use my serums and creams but Pat’s is so light. And the foundation I have—she made 26 for me—is like a second skin. It’s almost like a moisturizer. It’s not heavy.
When I was younger, I wore so much makeup. I see it from myself in pictures. I thought when I would do it myself, I thought the more I put on the better. As I get older, I think less is best and the more skin the better.
What’s the one beauty trick Naomi Campbell has mastered?
Well, you know I’ve been wearing mascara in quarantine too. But I love the highlighting. I love the highlighting. I love the balm, the dual stick, it just gives such a nice glow I love. I love the extraterrestrial shades that are in the new Rose palettes. I like warmth and makeup with pigments. I don’t like when you put something on or see something in a box and it just lays on your skin. I like when the colors go into the skin.
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