When the August issue of British Vogue is a big celebration of Pride, representation, individuality and activism, how does one approach the make-up? For Isamaya Ffrench – a make-up artist who is always pushing the boundaries of what it means to transform via colour, texture and prosthetics – it was about honouring the unique character and beauty of each LGBTQ+ cover star. “We wanted everyone to look and feel amazing, to celebrate individuality and beauty, so that each person’s make-up complemented their personality,” she tells Vogue.
From Cara Delevingne and Ariana DeBose to Cynthia Erivo, Munroe Bergdorf and Jordan Barrett – just five of the 12 change-makers depicted in the story – there were an array of luminous faces for Ffrench to paint. “We had conversations with each cover star about how they liked to make themselves up and the message they wanted to convey and took it from there,” she says.
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They landed on fresh-faced make-up looks, which enhanced each individual’s unique features, whether DeBose’s arresting brown eyes (subtly defined with liner) or Aweng Chuol’s vinyl lips, which were captured smiling widely.
Glossy skin, with varying degrees of shine, was a common thread throughout the shoot: “We celebrated glowing skin and took time to perfect everyone’s skin using a mix of skincare and make-up products,” explains Ffrench, who used products from Jones Road, Johnson & Johnson, and the SkinLacq Glow Serum from her newly launched beauty line, Isamaya. Glass skin in a bottle, the serum is infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump, while emollients create a healthy sheen across skin – it will be available to buy soon.
What was it like working on a shoot celebrating these LGBTQ+ stars? “It was such great energy!” she asserts. “There’s nothing better than celebrating each other.”