Makeup is passion. It’s creativity, instinct, experimentation, transversality, and surprise.
Makeup for us is this and much more, and these are all concepts that Anna Maria Megri, makeup artist and beauty editor, has always emphasized in her looks. And that’s exactly what we love about her makeup: the desire to go further, which “comes from the guts,” from that instinctive creativity hiding a certain knowledge behind, leading hands to move on their own, to give life to something new, different, and beautiful, always.
This kind of inspiration and ideas, perfectly match Byredo: founded by Ben Gorham, through its products it has always managed to go beyond every belief, rule, or limit to demonstrate how makeup is pure instinct, pure emotion, pure individualism. On the occasion of the appointment of Anna Maria as the first Brand Ambassador in Italy for the launch of the makeup line by Ben Gorham with the collaboration of Isamaya Ffrench, we talked with Anna Maria about this multitasking and long-lasting collection, her desire that it remains a “gem,” and the transformative power of makeup.
Congratulations on your new role as Brand Ambassador for Byredo!
Thank you, I’m very happy about this role, it’s a brand I really love. It’s also been a bit unexpected because I used to think, “they’ll choose someone who has more followers than me, of course…,” so I didn’t have high hopes for that one, to be honest. But instead, I’m really happy they’ve selected me.
I’m very happy, too because, besides having a huge admiration for you, and you know that, I think that your style is really similar to the brand. When I saw their makeup launches, I was shocked, in a positive way, of course: it’s all amazing, just like Isamaya Ffrench…
She’s great, I had interviewed her when I worked for L’Officiel Italia, and she did a project for us, but this happened very early on, like 8 years ago. She was quite at the beginning of her career, but she already was a promising talent in the international makeup field; I’ve always thought of her as an outsider, so, to be selected by her made me really happy because let me say this again, I didn’t expect it.
“She already was a promising talent in the international makeup field.”
“I’ve always thought of her as an outsider, so, to be selected by her made me really happy.”
What aspects of the brand made you fall in love, right from the start, when it still wasn’t in Italy, when you saw it for the first time?
I fell in love with its design because it’s the first thing you notice: like in everything that Ben Gorham does with Byredo, the design is incredible. I thought it was so modern right because it had an ancient touch. For example, their mascara is a totem, a sort of monolith, which also reminds us, Italians, of a lucky charm pepper, it really has so many references that it looks like an object found three thousand years ago, almost alien, almost futuristic. The brand intrigued me a lot, and that’s the number one aspect. Then, I fell in love with the textures, the formulations are green, many products are also vegan, they’re made with just a few, valid, ingredients, and they’re very performative, which is not to be given for granted. All of us pay particular attention to green products, however, often they’re not performative, while here you truly have professional products. As a makeup artist, I use them a lot on set because their performance is amazing, you can layer them. I’m really excited.
Which products have particularly impressed you for their versatility?
I was no doubt very impressed, even before trying them, by the Colour Sticks. They’re some very smart products, they’re multitasking, and I love multitasking products, especially for makeup artists like me, who travel with three/four suitcases full of products, 20 kg each, so it comes in handy to have a multitasking product that solves many problems. They come in many shades that, mixed together, give you as many different ideas because you can even mix them together, which is very useful. Moreover, if you apply the Colour Stick and you saturate it with the powder palettes, its lasting power is crazy, it lasts all day until you decide to wipe it off, despite the warm weather, they don’t move. This is something that only a few brands can afford, they’re really long-lasting. Maybe, they’ve made the wrong choice selecting a fan like me to be the Ambassador because it almost sounds like it’s my brand, I’m in love with it.
“I fell in love with its design because it’s the first thing you notice: like in everything that Ben Gorham does with Byredo, the design is incredible. (…) Then, I fell in love with the textures, the formulations are green, many products are also vegan, they’re made with just a few, valid, ingredients, and they’re very performative, which is not to be given for granted.”
“I was no doubt very impressed, even before trying them, by the Colour Sticks. They’re some very smart products, they’re multitasking, and I love multitasking products, especially for makeup artists.“
Right, in fact, when I got the email announcing that it would have been you, I thought, “wait, it’s perfect, the brand feels hers!”
That’s true, and I’m very happy, because, you know, I’m a very ethical person, so if it were a brand in which I didn’t believe so much, I would have probably declined because, before talking about something you use, that really helps you at work – we’re practical people, artisans of beauty – you have to be sure of them. Of course, the packaging can be wonderful, the formulation can be nice, but if the products don’t work in the end… And then, you need them for work, so it’s hard to talk about something that hinders your work, instead of making it easier. So, when I tried them, I felt a hundred times happier.
What would you like Italy, but makeup users in general, to take from this new launch? How do you hope that the brand is perceived in its makeup line?
Deep in my heart, I hope it stays niche. Nowadays, with globalization, everyone wants to sell a lot, and the fact that they were a bit posh, that they decided to have only a few places where you could buy their products, not only in Italy, but in general, I hope it stays the same. One of the very first things they told us was, “do not impose any color on anyone, everyone has to do what they want” – it’s something I adore, this philosophy, but, at the same time, I don’t want it to become a mass product; if you want it, you have to go sort of search for it, it has to be like the little gem you take out of your beauty-case, in front of your girl-friends, and they say to you, “Oh! What’s that? How wonderful…”.
You have to go and discover it. I think this is really cool [laughs].
“If you want it, you have to go sort of search for it, it has to be like the little gem you take out of your beauty-case, in front of your girl-friends, and they say to you, ‘Oh! What’s that? How wonderful..’.”
Makeup for you, at least for as much as I have understood, is pure creativity. How has this whole situation evolved in your life and how do you think it will evolve with this new important step you’ve taken in your career?
Everything comes from the guts. Then, obviously, you need to study, like for everything in life. I’ve always called myself a sort of punk makeup artist, however, if you want to break the rules, you need to know them, so, in life in general, in all fields, I really advise everyone to study hard. You can’t just look at last month’s magazine cover and copy that one because in the study of that cover there are references to things done previously, later personalized by those who propose it. Nowadays, it’s difficult to invent something new, but it’s all about reinterpreting, with your own taste, with your own sensitivity.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, from the street, a book, a movie, any external source of inspiration, or even internal, it can be a fantasy, a dream you had, it could really be anything. All this has to be conveyed by some form of knowledge, anyway, we should all read, watch movies, go to museums and see exhibitions, go see photographic exhibitions, or paintings, sculptures, and then everything makes sense.
So, my advice is really to listen to your guts, your instinctive creativity, where hands move alone, but, above all, with some knowledge in the background.
One last question: makeup-wise or not, what’s the bravest thing you’ve done so far?
Gosh… they’re a lot! [laughs] I’m often criticized for my choices because they’re really very bold. With my magazine, The Collector, I’ve published a number about cinema, where beauty has introduced trashy movies, with this plus-size model, with lipstick on her teeth, or the iconic images from horror movies, there was “Carrie,” with its beautiful actress covered in blood at the prom, precisely because we need to remember that makeup, of course, is corrective, it should improve the appearance of people, but why can’t it make them ugly, as well? It should always be a game. This is sort of what I experience.
That’s why it’s becoming transversal, many men today use makeup, either, banally, to cover the smart working under-eye dark circles, or even just because they want to go out at night and have a drink with some kajal on their inner eyelid rim, why not? It’s fine. Really, it’s becoming an accessory for everyone, makeup.
Yes, it’s always more inclusive in every way.
Yes, and this is coming from many brands around the world, and Byredo is a reconfirmation of this growing trend because no one should set limits upon themselves.