‘I was 16 when I bought my first foundation. The woman who shade-matched me in Boots didn’t really know what to do. I was like no, I really want to buy make-up. I really feel like this is my destiny. I think part of my coming out process and part of me working out who I am as an individual was massively supported by beauty. I felt confident when I looked in the mirror because I had my foundation on. Being around different types of people and embracing individuality and embracing creativity through expression with make-up has been incredible. ‘I wasn’t very confident with my body at all and tanning really saved me in terms of body confidence because I would have to get naked to tan myself. And I would also be around naked bodies (as a professional tanner) all the time. When you’re exposed to so many different types of people – especially for me, seeing male models, who I think are so beautiful – then hearing them apologise about their bodies…it made me think well, hang on. Beauty is only through perception. It’s all about this journey with yourself. ‘My Pride make-up always starts with Isle Of Paradise. I use the mousse to tantour my face because at Pride, I really like to create definition within my skin. I’ll take the mousse on a beauty sponge and apply underneath my cheekbones, on the outer part of my face underneath my jaw line and under the decolletage. I’ll do that two days before the celebration. The day after I would do a full layer of the drops on my face and I do a full layer of glow mousse on my body.’I’ll go in with a the YSL Nu skin tint or the Ilia Super Serum tint as I can create texture through glitter, blush, and highlights. Those two bases are good for stubble and it looks like skin. Then, I love a bit of Anastasia Brow Pomade. I’ll use some Egyptian Magic or lip balm over my eyes to create a glossy lid. Stila does most amazing glitters. I just put a tiny bit of glitter on my eyes and cheeks. Just a little spattering. I’d maybe put a little bit of Milk blush as well, because I think blush on a boy is so unexpected. Especially blush used at the top of the brows, on the chin, maybe on the nose and a tiny bit on the cheekbone. No one would ever think it’s blush because that’s not where blush is traditionally. I think you can really play with gender bias.’As a teenager and in my early 20s, I would apply my make-up in secret. I wouldn’t talk about it with anybody. I remember buying a men’s Jean-Paul Gaultier bronzer. I think that was the first moment that I felt really included by make-up. Then I started this journey of doing my make-up in public not for anybody else, but for me to be confident about it. I also think there might be somebody younger or somebody who’s embarrassed about what they’re doing, and I think if they see me, I can be a role model. ‘It took me a long time to be proud of who I was. I was attacked in a gay bar just before we launched the brand. It was a difficult moment, but it made me realise that actually, Pride and being proud of your sexuality is so important. Homophobia has not gone away. We need to all come together. Pride is not a rainbow flag in a shop window. To me, it’s not about the carnival floats, it’s about standing up, being an ally, and using your voice. If somebody is homophobic or something isn’t positive, then it needs calling out. Pride is about realising there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not in a minority. Everything about me is okay, it’s fabulous.’
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