Beauty Comments

Interview: Pat McGrath Says Contour The Right Way

Written by: Zanita Whittington

If Steven Meisel dominates the photography world, then Pat McGrath runs The World of Make-Up. She created Rooney Mara’s beauty look for Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, has received an MBE, and in 2004, was named Global Design Director for Procter and Gamble with brands like Max Factor and Cover Girl (to name a few) under her belt.

I had the chance to interview her backstage at the Victoria Beckham show in NYC and little did I know, Pat was already teasing us with her latest product launch: Skin Fetish 003. The buzz is building, especially after the raging success of Gold 001, the surreal foil-like gold pigment released last year. Skin Fetish 003 is a collection of two three-piece highlighting kits, which officially debuted on the Valentino runway this past season. With only 25,000 available, it’s sure to be snapped up quickly – you might want to get on the Sephora waitlist because this is a big deal.

Anyway – back to the Victoria Beckham show and my patient wait go behind the curtains and see Pat McGrath at work.

pat-mcgrath-victoria-beckham-runway-makeupWhen I arrived, the models were rehearsing for the show, Pat attended, checking the looks under the lights, and the beauty team – some 20 strong (but can be as large as 50) – calmly waiting for her return. The looks created were complementary to Victoria’s minimal elegance. I saw three styles – one with a strong burgundy lip (that’s Max Factors ‘Always Elegant‘ over ‘Sunset Red‘), one with with a burnt brown eye, and another with a deep green eye. Final touches began as Pat returned to the room and there was certainly a more relaxed vibe than the mania I’ve grown to appreciate backstage. There was confidence over ego here and professional respect. It’s something that has held strong over her 20-year career.

“You’ve either got it or you haven’t – humility. Leave your ego at home. If someone asks you to remove the make-up, don’t bring the house down brick by brick.”

Pat embraces social media, while she still travels with three trunks of books for references – she’s been quick to adapt to the digital generation. “Right now everyone is obsessed with make-up and what that’s done for the industry is amazing.” She’s clearly a positive thinker when it comes to change; we spoke about about some of the viral trends seen on Instagram. 

“The contouring thing…people will end up learning how to do it properly. It’s for going out at night…it’s great if you’re super young, but it makes you look older. So IF you’re older, you need to learn to do it in a fresh young way. That’s how I would do it.”

pat-mcgrath-makeup-artist-vogue-magazineI often wonder what’s the real difference between the women who love make-up and the woman who’s named Most Influential Make-up Artist in the World by Vogue. There’s plenty of talent out there. It’s clear to me that Pat is a woman who embraces the fun in what she does, knows when to take herself seriously, and is passionately inspired by the creative side of the fashion industry.

“Be yourself, don’t worry about mistakes, don’t worry that you’re not perfect – you can do whatever you want. That’s why there’s so much out there – so you don’t have to feel any fear when experimenting with make-up because you can always take it off. “

Thanks so much to Pat McGrath and the Max Factor team for this incredible opportunity. Truly inspirational!


You Should Also Read

We Had Coffee With NYC’s Next Biggest Thing: You Need to Meet Baby SliceBuilding a Business with Avenue 324 Beauty Trends That Need to Retire Now