Thirty seconds, roughly time for one question, is how long I have to divine something from Selena Gomez, singer, actress, humanitarian, and one of the most-followed-human on Instagram. Gomez is sitting at her home, surrounded by products from Rare Beauty, a 16-piece makeup collection that launches at Sephora today, Thursday, September 3rd, on a Zoom call with a few beauty editors she is gracing with her presence.
I shoot my shot, asking Selena, “When do you feel your most beautiful?” Surely, one of the world’s most famous people can answer with a laundry list: this magazine cover, that red carpet, this award, that video.
I feel most beautiful when I’m with the people I love. I think that’s when your guard can be completely let down and it doesn’t matter how I look, it’s definitely how I feel around those people. I would say that’s a huge thing because my friends are not really connected to this world, so they’re just so excited about things. They just talk to me like it’s just another day at work. I think that it just makes me feel good.
Gomez and her beauty line are centred around one thing, the notion of feeling good. For Rare Beauty, that can mean a red lipstick, a berry balm, or for the founder being surrounded by people she loves. It’s a rare and refreshing new celebrity beauty line that focuses on the star’s personal relationship, struggles and all, with beauty.
It’s also centered in giving back to a community Gomez is a part of with the Rare Impact Fund. The star, who has been open about her personal struggles with mental health and depression, launched the beauty line with the goal to raise $100 million over the next 10 years to help address the gaps in mental health services for underserved communities.
The idea to start a beauty line to help people feel their best started two years ago with Gomez having conversations with her fans. “When I would talk to fans, when I would talk to people, it just flabbergasted me,” she explains over Zoom. “These young girls, how they think they need to feel and how they feel like they have to be a certain way. I’m not afraid to say it, sometimes it makes me uncomfortable because they’re so young and they’re worried about all these things and they’re dressing a certain way. I wanted to break that mold just a bit.”
Below are highlights from my conversation with Gomez on how she’s challenging expectations, watching her mom do her makeup as a little kid, and which pieces from her beauty line are a must cop.
Rare beauty should make you feel seen
“The line is completely inclusive, it’s diverse. I wanted it to be a home for everyone. It was beyond just what the makeup is. It’s making sure that it’s also something that’s easy for you to use and for you to feel beautiful in.”
“There’s a lot of people that are experiencing things that they have never experienced in their life. I just know that there is such a stigma and it feels weird and you just don’t really believe that it’s you. I wanted this to feel like it would also have a community where people can talk about that and where they knew that they were always welcome.”
Mental health and beauty go hand in hand
“I started working when I was seven, so my relationship with makeup has constantly evolved. I think that through that, there have been moments where maybe I don’t feel my best, maybe I’m really self-critical, maybe I compare myself to other people? That’s the standard I wanted to break as well.”
It’s OK to want to put on makeup
“I just started getting to the point where I felt like I didn’t need it, and that it’s OK if I did. If I was traveling and I did a 12 hour flight, all right, I’ll put my little blush on, maybe some concealer and feel good. I feel refreshed. I even have the refresher spray, so it’s this little thing you can travel with. It smells like a spa and it’s heaven.”
Makeup artist Hung Vanngo and YouTube have the best beauty tricks
“One of the tricks that I’ve learned is about blush and applying it up more so that you can blend it up and not have so much redness on the cheek, which I found really helpful.”
“As far as a few of the eyeshadow tricks that I’ve learned, they are all from YouTube. It was the scotch tape so that you can get that precise shadow line.”
Less is more
“My tip would be, less is more. I think when you are just out and about, or you’re in your home, I feel like that’s your opportunity to be whoever you want to be in that moment.”
“If I feel like I’m in the mood to just do skincare, I’ll just let everything relax. And other times, I have been doing a lot of Zooms and I’ve been doing some videos and stuff, very COVID safely. Now it’s just something I’m wearing every day and I’m enjoying it.”
Beauty is mind, body, and soul
“I have struggled and very openly about depression and mental health, that is something that I had to learn. I think on some level, everyone should find a way to learn that. I would say that the time that I’ve taken for myself has actually just reflected in everything that I’ve been releasing. I don’t know if anyone can tell or care, but you can just see the amount of happiness that I do have with what I’m getting at. It’s just such that I think when things like that happened is when I felt like, “This is beyond that.”
Let your mom be your beauty inspiration
“My mom, she was such an icon. She had the whole ‘90s Drew Barrymore thing, she would put little safety pins in her shirt. She had butterfly clips, she was so cool to me. She was almost like my big sister technically. We had that relationship and friendship and beyond. My mom actually worked multiple jobs when she had me. She was very young so she tried a little bit of everything. When we were in Dallas, she started working with a model agency and just doing the makeup. I would get to go with her and see what she was doing.”
“Sometimes my mom and I would go into her room and she opened up her box and she’d have candles and music playing and that felt like a sense of therapy for her. I would go in her room and I’d sit next to her in the mirror and I would do the makeup. She would have a little glass of wine and she’d give me a little glass of apple juice. That memory is something I’ll never forget.”
Embrace the imperfections
“For me, it’s beyond imperfection and improvisation because it’s meant to be yours and it’s meant to be something that you’re doing. Not professionally, but this is exactly how I feel makeup should be. It should be an accessory and it should be something that you are proud of wearing and highlighting what makes you feel beautiful.”