“I started my first lipstick brand, Poppy, in Australia when I was eighteen. It came about because I was really awkward as a teenager. Let’s just say I wasn’t the prom queen. I don’t have a conventional look and was trying to figure out how to make the best of it. It was the late eighties and I didn’t fit with all the bubble gumminess of it. I started to emulate the 1940’s and that was a real aha moment for me. I realized that I could draw influences from other eras that worked on me. At the time I couldn’t find any matte lipsticks; everything was glossy. In the early nineties everything was coral and blue based, there were no browns or reds or burgundies, it all went pink or coral.
When I finished high school I didn’t have great grades. I wasn’t focused on the curricular activities I was much more interested in the extracurricular activities at that time like meeting boys and going to nightclubs (laughs). So I thought ‘Oh shit what am I going to do?’ So I decided to start a lipstick brand like a little lemonade stand until I figured out what my real plan would be. I found a factory and a business partner and it took about a year. In the end it didn’t turn out to be the little lemonade stand I had intended. In the first year we made two million dollars and the second year we did six.
In 2002, which was ten years into Poppy, Estée Lauder Corporation called and asked me if I would be willing to move to the US. It took me about two seconds to say yes. Then I thought I better ask what the job was (laughs). So I closed Poppy in Australia, moved to New York and was Vice President of Creative Marketing for three years.
I realized that the corporate world was not for me so I quit and wrote my book about being an entrepreneur, Lesson’s of a Lipstick Queen. My story is unusual in that I’m not a makeup artist. I’m the only person I know of who has been in the beauty industry for twenty years and has found such a portal with one product.
In 2007 I was scared that lipstick would become endangered. It needed to be re-contextualized for the era. Lipstick isn’t something that makes you look old or requires a full face of makeup. In fact lipstick looks best when worn causally. It is very misunderstood by the industry. The formulas and smells they come out with are all wrong. So I decided to create a new lipstick company, Lipstick Queen, based in New York. At that time no one was wearing lipstick, it was me and some grannies. Everyone else was wearing nude lipgloss, so the ladies in lipstick were like fossils (laughs).
My own beauty routine is fairly simple. I love my morning shower it’s such a treat. And if I haven’t cleansed my face before I went to bed, which can depend on how much I’ve had to drink, I will wash my face with the Fresh Soy Cleanser in the morning. I love it! The smell and texture is amazing and it’s not harsh but gets everything off. I don’t use shampoo because I have very coarse hair and it doesn’t get oily. I condition my hair in the shower with Herbal Essence; the smell isn’t too sweet it’s perfect. I do a lot of yoga so I only buy a shower products that I can also buy in travel sizes. After I shower I comb my hair and use Oribe Super Shine Moisturizing Cream and smush it around.
Then I use Beauty Flash Balm, foundation, and a little bit of concelear. I always comb my eyebrows and I don’t use eyeliner. I’m into black eye shadow and wear it around my upper lash line. I can’t put any shadow directly in the corners of my eyes or it makes them look too small. I try to pull my eyes out as much as possible. I use a Shu Uemeru eyelash curler and DiorShow mascara. Then of course I finish with one of my lipsticks. For a last touch I put a dab of lip color on my cheeks; it’s a real granny trick.
I designed a fragrance with Deborah Lloyd for Kate Spade, Live Colorfully. I helped to curate the scent and its really fresh and beautiful. I’ve been wearing it constantly!”