Bai for TIME's "Firsts," Women Who are Changing The World
In early 2017, I worked with Time Inc.'s Director of Women's Content to discuss content concepts that could be executed to reach women at scale across our editorial portfolio of brands. With the goal of reaching Time Inc.'s female readership of 90 million uniques, I pitched a concept for a video interview series with extraordinary women who had made history or broken glass ceilings in their fields, as well as the scalable content strategy for advertiser sponsorship of the series. The concept evolved into "Firsts," which became a TIME cover story in print and digital content on Time.com (http://time.com/collection/firsts/). In the spring of 2017, I pitched a winning branded content launch sponsorship with Bai that included video interviews sponsored by the advertiser, and was sold summer 2017—then renewed with Ford as a sponsor.
5 Makeup Mantras Worth Sharing This Awards Season (People x L'Oreal)
We re-created five total-confidence looks from major celeb makeup artist Sir John to inspire red carpet topics that mean more
There’s a lot to talk about in 2017. And celebrity makeup artist Sir John wants you to know you can say it with makeup. The L’Oréal Paris Dream Team ambassador had a busy 2016, from touring as Beyoncé’s official MUA on The Formation World Tour (for the second time) to snagging the title of Makeup Artist of the Year at the InStyle Awards for his feel-good, self-internalizing philosophy on beauty. Whether it’s with yourself or with an audience of followers and fans, “makeup is a way to emotionally connect,” says the influencer in his own right. “It makes you feel better; enter a room with confidence; suppress negative emotions.” This awards season, he’s got a message #WorthSharing during L’Oréal Paris' campaign for meaningful dialogue on the red carpet. “If you learned anything from [last] year, it’s what you don’t want and what you do want. It’s a call to action to make it a reality,” he says.
So to spread the message of empowerment on the red carpet, we revisited some of Sir John’s most memorable looks with meaning (the former painter’s process is an intellectual one, with an artistic intention or emotional trigger behind every flick, swipe and smear) — and re-created each concept according to five mantras we’d rep on the step-and-repeat. They just may change the way you wear makeup.
The Makeup Mantra: I Came Solo
The Inspiration: A sapphire eye created by Sir John for the CFDAs
Boldly state you’re confident rolling solo with a look that lets everyone know you’re your own frontwoman. One singularly unflinching declaration of independence can say you not only don’t mind going stag come red carpet or Saturday night — you prefer it. While you single-handedly work the room, let one feature hog the spotlight and leave the rest neutral. Like you, Sir John’s standout twist on the smoky eye doesn’t require an assist. Command eye contact and convey your inborn assertiveness with eye paints for the fully rockeresque look, or opt for a tinted liner — a noncommittal way to glam up your everyday black, brown or gray with a modern jewel tone, like the shimmery navy hue Sir John chose. But it doesn’t have to be all about the eyes (or even on your face). “I think every girl knows her feature,” the makeup sage says. Pick one that gives you confidence and own it. Love the gap between your front teeth? Or your naturally bushy brows? Whatever it is, this look is all about feeling yourself, because there’s only one you. And you don’t need anyone on your arm to state that.
The Makeup Mantra: I Don’t Care What You Think
The Inspiration: The violet lip that made waves at the 2014 Met Gala
Confession of a celebrity makeup artist: “Celebrities are very safe; they have a formula they don’t venture out [of].” But when they do? Sir John loves to play. For this unexpected red carpet lip, he mixed two purples together. If unconventional is your middle name, this is the mantra to steal for yourself. Doing what Sir John calls “serious makeup” (sorry, predictable red lip) can punctuate an otherwise simple look in a surprising context. “Punch it up with the makeup. Do something fun,” he suggests. “When everyone’s going safe, [go] in a novel direction.” Pull a wild card for your big meeting, break the rules at a formal event, do the opposite of what everyone else is doing — or do whatever damn look your heart desires. Because you actually don’t care what anyone thinks.
The Makeup Mantra: I Depend on Me
The Inspiration: Karlie Kloss’ dewy skin and natural, upswept brow for the amfAR Gala
Say it with silence. The absence of what we expect to see on the red carpet speaks volumes, whether it’s natural hair, grays on full display, minimal makeup or none at all. Or trading a full face of makeup for a focus on skin — the centerpiece of the fresh face Sir John achieved on Kloss. (His first step to getting it at home is moisturizing with a mattifying product like L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care for Normal/Oily Skin for a dewy-in-the-right-places but no-shine appearance.) Revisited here, the rest of the look features the beauty guru’s signature brushed-up brow, a minimal eye and a nude lip. “It’s really a New York and Paris kind of thing. It’s cool sometimes to not see texture and contour.” On the red carpet, Sir John makes a point to note, minimalism can be a powerful political statement. Make one on beauty standards, equal pay or women’s right to affordable health care with the look that best embodies independence: If you depend on yourself, from your paycheck to planning for your future, you don’t need to rely on a dramatic look to communicate your self-worth to the world. The confidence to bare it all (OK, maybe with a little help from L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Foundation, Sir John’s pick for Karlie’s glowy skin) speaks for itself and shines a spotlight on your best asset: you.
The Makeup Mantra: I Came to Slay
The Inspiration: Beyoncé rocking reckless in her Givenchy dress with a defiant matte green eye at the 2016 Met Gala
Say it loud. Step up for the strongest statement someone can make with makeup, whether it’s killing it on the red carpet, speaking out, clapping back or taking a total risk. Sir John’s most slay-worthy look was the result of a decision between complementing or competing with an already fearless, now famous, nude latex gown (which he may or may not have oiled the singer to get into!). He went big with an audacious, anarchy-inspired eye (to try it, generously apply matte shadow, then take a cotton bud and erase some of the color to make the silhouette more graphic) that Beyoncé loved but was “a hated look on social media,” he says, laughing. Because that’s the thing about going for it. Not everyone will like what you do or say. But if you stick with the familiar (or care what the Internet thinks), you’ll never find out.
For a real-life application of her disruptive green eye, make like B with a costume change and wear overstated makeup to the after-party as a remnant of the main event. “She wore a tank top and silver chrome trousers,” Sir John recalls. For the casual style rebel, he imagines the dramatic gaze paired with jeans for an underground Lower East Side night. “That contrast makes it so cool and so modern and anchored in the moment.” The only rule: If you came to slay, bring your best deadpan.
The Makeup Mantra: Gender Is Discretionary
The Inspiration: The now and the future
The most modern statement you can make with makeup may be defying what we’ve been taught about femininity and masculinity. Androgyny goes red carpet in these nonbinary looks for anyone on the spectrum. Gender-neutral makeup, strong brows and angles, and accessory details — like the throwback glasses we replicated from a shot in Sir John’s portfolio, reimagined here — mash up eras of past and present to comment on gender in the context of different time periods. To send a forward-thinking beauty message, switch up gender norms, or toss gender aside altogether for the night, with makeup that provokes an emotional response (Sir John’s own makeup mantra). “People might not like it, they might hate it, they might talk about it the next day in the press,” says Sir John, “but that’s the goal.”