It’s hard to find an artist who has evolved more in the last four years than Brooke Candy. After debuting in Grimes' video for “Genesis” and gaining as much attention as Grimes herself, Brooke went on to become a fixture in music, beauty, and fashion.
She’s worked with some of the industry’s biggest names — Nicola Formichetti, Steven Klein, Diplo, and Sia — creating music and accompanying visuals that marry street style, couture, editorial beauty, and, in her own words, the grotesque, for some of the most memorable visual moments from an up and coming artist.
This year, she’s softened her image from that of a dominatrix cyborg clad in neon metallic bodysuits to someone almost resembling a real girl. Today, she debuts her second collaboration with MAC. All of the products — four lipsticks, two lip pencils, two Vamplify lip glosses, a liquid eyeliner, two eye glosses (!!!), a bronzing powder, a mascara, and two nail lacquers — and colors feel like an homage to her career and evolution as an artist thus far.
The chance to interview Brooke made my head spin, because there was so much ground I wanted to cover, much of it having to do with beauty, of course.
“I wanted my collection to be, like, a representation of Jayne Mansfield,” Brooke told me when we spoke about about her collaboration. “I’m sure you’ve seen photos of her house in LA that they tore down. It should have been a landmark. That’s what I wanted it to feel like. Very light and fun and whimsical.”
MAC has a history of being fearless about who they choose to collaborate with. While some brands might shy away from Brooke Candy because of her aesthetic —sometimes hyper-sexual, sometimes fear-inducing — MAC is coming back for their second partnership. This time it's even bigger and they put her at the helm of creating it.
“Being approached by MAC is surreal, it’s grounding, it’s humbling, it’s insane. I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. I can’t believe this is what I get to do. I take my role seriously because I feel like I’m speaking for women who aren’t of a conventional beauty, who aren’t the perfect size, who are outsiders. I’m that voice. To be approached by MAC and to be given this platform and a lot of creative control, they’ve encouraged me to use my voice and be who I am and it’s fucking cool.”
The day I spoke with Brooke, her video for Happy Days was released, showing us a softer, more feminine and, really human side. After making a name for herself wearing neon bodysuits and metallic armor, I asked her what the reception was like after showing a different herself.
"I’ve been getting flooded with positive feedback. People are more receptive to the lightness of it all. I’m trying to move into a more simplified aesthetic, something that’s softer, more beautiful, because my art is a reflection of my state of mind and I think when I made a lot if my visual content in the past, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I had to do that to get to this point.
You have to experience darkness to understand light. We’re moving into a time where people are much more conscious and much more aware. It’s important to promote love. Currently I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I just want to spread peace, love, positivity, bliss. That’s what I want to project into the world and this collection is a solid representation of that."
Brooke’s second collection with MAC takes some of her most memorable looks from her career and reinterprets them into beauty products. Here's the run-through:
Doo-wop, the bright pink matte lipstick, is reminiscent of her pink hair and talons from the “Genesis” video.
The Night Crawler lip pencil paired with Witching Hour lipstick and topped with Til Death Do Us Part Vamplify Lip Gloss — all complimentary shades of deep purple which almost read navy — immediately bring to mind the blue glitter face from the “Opulence” video.
The Black-Yang Studio Eye Gloss is probably the most literal interpretation of the same look.
The Vamplify Lipgloss in Pamela, the Whirl lipstick and pencil, and the Golden Bronzing Powder (the latter three being some of the only curated parts of the collection, save the mascara) point to the new, more approachable we see in the visuals for "Happy Days" and "A Study in Duality."
Fans of her first collaboration with MAC will be thrilled that her signature red lip color, Mind Control, is being resurrected for this collection.
Red lipstick is my favorite weapon of mass destruction.
Brooke has given us a good number of looks in her few years in the spotlight, but I wondered — as I do with any creative — how the looks began and whose looks she finds inspirational.
"Since high school, I’ve been playing with extreme looks. I had a purple mullet when I was in 11 grade and I started piercing my face, started experimenting with tattoos when I was 17. But it definitely evolved and I think in the past few years I’ve come into my own a lot more and been comfortable exploring the strange and the grotesque.
I used to wear a really dark lip, it was actually MAC, now I’m obsessed with pinks, my own lipstick, Doo-wop is my shit. I think Wendy O. from the Plasmatics is really cool, super punk, and fucking hot, super hot and so unconventional. Jayne Mansfield is really inspiring. She wasn’t stick thin, she represented a real woman, and I’m all about self love, self care and positive body image, so to me she’s so beautiful. Women like Lena Dunham who really embrace themselves, I don’t think she ever really wears makeup and I think that’s so beautiful, I think it’s so cool."
Brooke Candy's collection will be available online on April 28th and hits stores May 5th. Are you already in love with Brooke Candy? Let's talk about it in the comments!
Tynan is messing with eye gloss on Twitter @TynanBuck.