A tête-à-tête with MUA Bobbi Brown.

ELLE (Canada) - - Insider -

When I was grow­ing up in the ’70s, if you weren’t a blond, blue-eyed su­per­model, you were not con­sid­ered pretty. And I cer­tainly wasn’t that. I never saw the pos­si­bil­ity of beauty in my face. When I went to see Love Story and saw Ali MacGraw with dark hair, a mid­dle part, thick eye­brows and re­ally nat­u­ral makeup, I was like, ‘Wow, she’s beau­ti­ful; I guess I am too.’

“When I started out, it was a new con­cept that a makeup artist was go­ing to cre­ate a line of makeup. That was rev­o­lu­tion­ary. Peo­ple think I’m smart be­cause I have al­ways in­cluded women of all colours [in my makeup shade range]. But it’s not smart; it makes sense! I want ev­ery woman who comes to a counter to find her foun­da­tion. I didn’t do it for some mar­ket­ing rea­son or be­cause it was in vogue at the time. You need a foun­da­tion that matches your skin.

“How would I de­fine nude? Nude is not beige, and nude is not washed out. Your own nude is the colour you have on your eye­lids when you wash your makeup off; ev­ery­one’s is dif­fer­ent. I’ve been do­ing the no-makeup look for years, but this sea­son we call it the mod­ern no-makeup look be­cause it’s ac­tu­ally makeup that looks like you’re not wear­ing any. It en­hances your nat­u­ral beauty but helps you cover up your flaws. I’m sorry, but dark cir­cles need to be bright­ened. [Laughs]

“Makeup gets you in these bizarre places that peo­ple don’t re­al­ize. [In the ’80s], An­nie Lei­bovitz hired me and I got to do the Rolling Stones’ makeup for the Dirty Work cover. It was re­ally fun. Keith wanted black, smoky eyes. I ac­tu­ally saved all of the smudgy cot­ton Q-tips for years; I don’t know where they are now! Af­ter I did their makeup, the stylist came in with all of their clothes on hang­ers. She closed the door and said, ‘Okay, guys, get ready.’ I’m clean­ing up my makeup and I look up and all of the Rolling Stones are in their un­der­wear, get­ting dressed.

“I’m the ul­ti­mate chick mag­net. [Laughs] Some­times I say ‘Have you ever heard of Bobbi Brown the makeup com­pany?’ When some­one says ‘No,’ then I’m like, ‘Well, I have this cos­met­ics com­pany and we use real mod­els, and you can Google me.’ But I’ve found some beau­ti­ful girls on the street [to use in our cam­paigns]. I think prob­a­bly my big­gest strength is some­thing that can’t be taught: I am so naive. I am. I just never think some­thing’s not go­ing to work. I have ideas and I’m like, ‘Why not?’ As soon as ev­ery­thing looks like the big­gest dis­as­ter, I say ‘Okay, so now what? What do we do now?’ That’s be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur.” n

Ali MacGraw; Brown’s of­fice (left)

Bobbi Brown The Nude Li­brary 25th-An­niver­sary Edi­tion ($235)

“I love ev­ery­thing Bri­tish,” says Brown, whose of­fice is adorned with items ce­ment­ing her an­glophile sta­tus, in­clud­ing an of­fi­cial note to say that Kate Mid­dle­ton wore Bobbi Brown makeup at her wed­ding. The City Col­lec­tion pays homage to Lon­don, as well as Paris and New York. Bobbi Brown Lim­ited-Edi­tion City Col­lec­tion Lon­don and Paris pal­ettes ($75 each). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide.

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