GLOBAL BEAUTY DIRECTOR ESTEE LAUDER
How did you decide to become a makeup artist? What was the main motivation to start?
I really have never decided to be a makeup artist before it actually didn’t appear in front of my face. I studied art and fashion design and I was at a point when I had to decide whether I want to be a fashion designer or I will proceed to paint. But something was missing in both, one night I had a party with my friends, it was customized and she asked me to put some glitter on her face, and I have never touched a face before. It was like a painting a face and dressing up it at the same time. Both of my love were combined together! So maybe I can do this as a job? And that is where I decided to give myself four years and also I do it in my way. I decided not to assist anyone, I decided to leave my country and learn my job on my own on sets in New York, which was the place I was dreaming to leave and which I did for 1 year. This how I started to knock on the doors of modelling agencies, telling them that I’m free makeup artist. This was funny, because I have never done makeup before at that point and I didn’t have money to buy a normal makeup, so I just had this little kit, which I still have today with pigments. And I was making my own makeup on sets. Because with just buying a row products I could do my own makeup, I had no limitation and no budget problem.
You are a Global Beauty Director of Estee Lauder, this is a big responsibility. What is your vision of Estee Lauder Girl?
First of all I am very humbled to have this position, because I respect Madame Lauder so much and what she created, for me it is incredible, because what she was able to create is the most powerful beauty business in an era that was physically impossible for women to develop their own dreams and business opportunities. And for me it was such an honor to be invited to consult for the brand, it was really a big honor. So how I see the brand is basically how she created it. It is about caring for women, tell them they are great the they way they are and we just here to support them, makeup basically. And that‘s something I love, because they do not try to transform women, they are trying to help them feel great in their skin, that’s really what I’m trying to do as well. And the other thing I find really major in the company that they are not trying to be something that they are not. They don’t care about what is trendy, they care about creating good products for women and men, of course. The quality, the guidance, the education, the way they communicate about it, for me that a real focus. Because I see so many brands, who get lost in the game : “Let’s be trendy, this product is selling really well in other companies, so let’s make it as well”. They are not like this at all. And for this is very refreshing, because we just know who we are and we just have 2 legs to walk this path. And the customers are so loyal to the brand and there is a very strong emotional connection to it, because it comes from mother and grandmother, they were using it. So it is a very beautiful brand. And also it is close to me because again, my vision is to create make up as a way to express yourself, but also as a way to be your best friend, like supporting role in your life. You have the perfect foundation with a perfect shade for you, perfect mascara, perfect liquid lipstick. For me they have best ever skincare . They got you anyway. You always gonna be chic with them, You always gonna be yourself. You always have the guaranty to have great quality products. That’s what I really love about the company. And what I am trying to bring is basically a little bit of professional makeup artists, I can bring a bit of va-va-bum how they say, little bit of spice to it. But keeping in mind that woman wants to have this Estee Lauder’s touch. It is really what I love. And also I think as a professional I can guide them with product and how to educate women and men. We keep think woman in beauty, but we have to say “people” now, it is much better. So that is very important for me.
Violette, where do you get inspiration from? Do you have any favorite makeup artists?
Yes, I do have make up artists, that I really love. It’s Val Garland or Pat McGrath. My 2 favorites. But I don’t really get inspiration from makeup artists, to be honest. I am not trying to be intellectual cool, I really find inspiration from art, architecture and nature. Nature is a huge part of my inspiration. I always go to a flower shop because flower petals have the most incredible color. That is a big inspiration for me. For example, this weekend I bought this flower, that had a sort of coral with a bit of lavender. These two colors go so well together. I never thought that. I am gonna to add it to my next make up look. I am a super fan of Pinterest. I spend my time not scrolling down Instagram actually scrolling down Pinterest, in creating boards. This is how I classify my own inspiration.
And also sometimes I like to look at makeup that are extremely opposite from my work. And always find something inspirational in it. And I am really twisted and turning it into own esthetic and I really love to do it.
What is makeup for a woman? Why do we need it?
First of all, I don’t think that we need a make up. I don’t think you need a makeup to go outside. Makeup is just a supporting role, is really aren’t essential. I have this girlfriend of mine, who never applies makeup at her face. And she always asks me: “What should I do?”. And I say to her: “ You should do nothing, because you are so great without makeup, this is who you are!” I believe we all born perfect. And make up should never make you feel like you can be the better version of yourself. I actually hate this expression: “Let's be the better version of Yourself!” You are the best better version of Yourself, no matter what! Makeup is just here. Right now, I have a baby, I have dark circles. I’m gonna remove my dark circles with a councealer. I don’t think I am the better version of myself, I just think that I don’t look as I am tired, and I feel better. I feel prettier, I feel better in my own skin. It shows more in line with my mood, because inside I am very happy, very uplifted and if I leave my dark circles, I am showing something, that I don’t feel like - tired, sadness. Which I don’t really feel. But I don’t think I am the better version of myself. It’s just a supporting role for me. Makes feel better. I really wish women could feel that way or man. Makeup – is just a supporting role or the way to express yourself. I can wear glitter for a brunch, that makes me feel great - that is fun. And that is what I wish for a man and woman –to use makeup that way. So I would say – beauty is a supporting role and way to express ourselves. But sometimes it becomes a mask we wear to protect ourselves from the outside world. Or plastic surgery - to help us change our features and to feel better. I want to try to help people to understand that makeup can help you particularly to see you are great the way you are. So that’s why I am trying to talk to this to women and men, who use make as mask, as a plastic surgery, invite them in my world and show them, that we can steel use makeup, but with a different attention and this is the way that’s gonna help you heal some insecurities.
What do you think is the strength of a woman?
After having a child I would say women are incredible! But you have a kid or not, just to know that your body is capable of doing something like this makes you incredible! Either you are mom or not. I think the strength of the women is coming from a deep down, I was never a feminist, but after this experience I realised, wow, women have something really precious, a strength that is unbelievable. And if were treated as strong human beings, it would help us to realise our potential better. In France, women are equal to men, I’m not sure about salary, but from my experience, I was surrounded by bossy women, they all are CEOs of the company. I grew up with my best girlfriends being so strong, so that is the image of French girls I have. It is very very strong women. In my country we learn that we are really strong and I think that developed us to see which is our potential, because seeing in our own eyes the girls like this. I think women have an incredible power inside themselves and I wish they were supported and surrounded by people, who believe in their power, who can help to develop their potential.
Do you do makeup only for women or men can also "transform"?
I’m a big pacifist. I think everyone can do whatever they want with beauty. I don’t like controlling, I will never tell a woman “You should not do this, it is not the right thing”. I feel like we can do what we want when we need it. Who am I to judge? But if you want to remove a bit of this makeup, to embrace who you are, than I’m here and I am super happy to help you. Men or women - I don’t see any difference at all. Men can transform, but they also can use a makeup same as women, as away to express themselves. That just makes me so happy when I see that today's dads and moms are not telling their little boys not to wear any makeup when they want to play with their mom’s makeup. I’m happy to see that we let humans be humans. So I will treat makeup on the man, however this man wants it, and however I think about a woman.
Do you think makeup artist - woman can better feel women than a makeup artist-man?
I don’t really like to categorize understanding of situation based on you sex. I won’t really say that. I think it is about sensibility. Man can understand women better than another woman, because he respects that he is not a woman, so he knows he cannot understand everything, but at the same time he is very sensible, so he can feel it. On the other side you can have a woman that has no sensibility, but because she is a woman she thinks she knows, so she will be more gentimental with this client of hers and she won’t understand how the man who is sensible and humble in front of her will understand her better. So I think for sure it doesn’t depend on sex, but on person who you are. One thing I would say, that women for sure can understand more the routine of the relationships that other woman has to makeup, how her day happens, especially for mothers, when you wake up in the morning, what do you do. I think this role is still a bit unequal, maybe. To be a working mom, to be very busy, that is something different. I feel that women understand the routine and relationship that they have with make up a little bit better.