Not many 17-year-olds can make a suit look badass, but in her Alexander Wang jumpsuit, styled with a black lace Lonely Hearts bra running across the back, and lush mess of long, thick curls (reminiscent of Alanis Morissette—minus the naked music video), that’s exactly the vibe Lorde puts out. In an industry filled with pop stars in marijuana-print leotards and ill-placed foam fingers, this New Zealand native seems like a godsend to mothers and fathers of angsty adolescents everywhere. “I feel really cool and really pretty in a suit—that’s my leotard,” she said. And to that mature sartorial decision I applaud. As for dealing with the pressures of the industry, Lorde’s response is that of a typical teenager: “I’m not really very good at listening to what other people want me to do, which is bad sometimes.” With a MAC collection launching in June—consisting of her signature vampy purple lip (Pure Heroine) and black liquid liner (Rapidblack)—I’d say that her selective hearing is working out just fine. Here, she reveals the one beauty trend she won’t try, the secret to those black-stained fingertips at the Grammys, and the music royal who will never be “corny.”
You have a signature look and your MAC collection is obviously modeled after it. How long have you been rocking the dark lips and liner?
It has definitely fine-tuned itself over time. When I was 12, 13, 14, I would wear a much stronger liquid eye and I wouldn’t wear lipstick so much. Then I started wearing a dark lip around 14, I reckon, and I’ve been wearing it ever since. It helps to work with a makeup artist because they understand subtlety.
Have you dabbled with any other looks over the years?
I used to get these black circular stickers from the dollar store and I would stick them on the corners of my eyes for school. It was a little dramatic. I bought them once for a dress-up party and they kind of stuck.
How many lipstick shades did you go through before finally landing on Pure Heroine?
I went through all of the dark purples that MAC had, and I obviously wear a lot of the dark MAC shades. We loved the idea of making a lipstick called Pure Heroine, which was based on the shade Heroine, just a little darker. So we made up five different shades with five different finishes. I would try them out when I was going out to a party or out to lunch to see how they worked and how they felt. One of the things that was really important to me—because a lot of people who are going to be wearing it are teenage girls and they don’t have a makeup artist to help them apply it—is that it be easy to put on and press on lightly as a stain. I love matte lipsticks because they stay forever, but they dry you out and they are super-intense feeling, so I wanted something that felt a little lighter.
What about tricks for keeping a dark lip budge-proof?
We put a liner underneath it, which I never do when I’m putting on my own makeup because I’m lazy, but I really take care with eating, drinking, and talking. I’m always aware of the sides because that’s where it moves.
What is your best tip for applying liquid liner?
A good rule of thumb is to make it thin until you get a quarter of the way into your lid, and then [turn the pen] and go parallel to your crease. As long as you keep in line with the crease, you’ll be fine.
I can’t stop looking at your brows—I think they could rival Cara Delevingne’s.
I haven’t plucked them in three months. Amber [Dreadon, MAC senior artist] does some gel and brushes them, making the hairs all go in one direction.
You’ve made many interesting beauty moves thus far—including black fingertips at the Grammys. Is there a trend you’ll never try?
I kind of struggle with a smoky eye, and that’s one I haven’t found a way to make cool. I feel quite dirty—it’s not super-wearable.
Speaking of your black-dipped fingers, whose idea was that?
That was my idea. I actually stumbled across it on Tumblr and it’s obviously Michèle Lamy’s thing, Rick Owens’ wife, and I didn’t know that at the time. We didn’t know how to make it work because I had to perform and then I had to accept awards and I didn’t want to have it on the whole night. We did my fingernails in gel polish and we did the stain in a normal nail polish so we could just take it off with nail polish remover.
Smart. I was trying to figure out how you pulled that one off. What is the best beauty trick you’ve learned on the job?
Not to use my hands to apply everything! I used to apply foundation like sunscreen and rub it all over my face, but it’s a bit different if you use a brush. I’m still up for using my hands because brushes are expensive, but they do make a difference.
Your selfie that showed you wearing spot cream to bed resonated with so many people—especially teens. Why do you feel strongly about embracing imperfections in a world so concerned with image?
As a young person who is obsessed with popular culture, fashion, and beauty, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming thinking about all your imperfections compared to these people who are flawless. I think a lot of people believe that being famous makes you superhuman. I think the standards don’t have to be how they are. I just think about my girlfriends and how we all get acne. We feel terrible about it because we feel like it doesn’t happen to anyone else. So I’m like, “Look, it’s OK.”
What is your definition of beauty?
I think the people I’m drawn to and the people I think are really beautiful have an inner intelligence, sense of humor, or confidence—you can see those qualities in people. A person doesn’t have to be conventionally beautiful in any way, but I just want to look at them all the time.
Who would you say meets that definition?
I see it in a lot of my friends. When I cast the music video for “Team,” it had this community of young people, and it was really important to me that we didn’t cast just models from a talent website. I wanted kids who look like kids, and who look odd but in really beautiful ways. A lot of those kids in that video are just amazing.
Do you have any beauty icons?
Not so much for makeup, but I think Grace Jones has a lasting, iconic look. She’s so beautiful and so confident—it’s such a strong look, and I’m really inspired by that.
Whose music career do you admire?
I think Prince is really amazing because he’s very himself all the time. It’s not like, “Oh, Prince got corny.” He’s consistently killing it.
Getting back to you, what’s the key to your porcelain complexion?
I never use sunscreen, which is really bad. I’ve always been pale. I use tinted moisturizer and that has some SPF in it. And there’s a big hole in the ozone above New Zealand as well.
It’s never too late to start slathering it on! What about the rest of your skincare regimen—what are your go-tos?
In the last six months I’ve tried out a million different cleansers, spot creams, moisturizers. Some things are harsher than others, and when you don’t have the easiest skin you just need really gentle products. I’ve been using something from a dermatologist at the moment. I use a foaming cleanser, and I just put a really gentle, amazing moisturizer on, and then use a little spot cream. Those are all from the dermatologist, but there’s a really good acne cream called Crystacide. And there’s a good French moisturizer called Embryolisse and MAC Mineralize moisturizer in a pot that I like. And the one from Cetaphil is really good.
Would you ever cut your hair?
I’ve never had a little pixie cut, so I’ve been growing this for a really long time. It’s very much a part of my vibe and my sense of physicality and movement. I always think about how I would perform on stage if I had really short hair because it’s definitely a part of me. I love that it can be that much of an identity. It’s also a good safety blanket; I definitely hide behind it sometimes.
What do you loathe about having long hair?
It gets really matted if I don’t wash it for a while. It gets these big knots, which can be a handful to deal with.
How do you define your curls? Is there a curling iron involved?
The best product for curls that I’ve come across is Potion 9 by Sebastian. You just scrunch it in when your hair is wet, and then I just leave it.
How long did it take to straighten your hair for the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday?
It was really fast, like an hour—very swift.
Let’s get deep for a second. You’ve declared yourself a feminist. What does that mean to you?
I don’t really think about it that much, to be honest. It’s just important to me that things are equal. I don’t see why I should be held back in any way because of my sex.
True that. And on a less heavy note, I’ve heard you are quite the thrift store shopper. What’s your best find of all time?
We were in Palm Springs at Resale Therapy and they have this amazing vintage section. Are they called St. John, those suits? They had all this amazing St. John. I got this navy blue vintage suit with gold buttons. It fits me perfectly. I wear it on stage all the time. It’s my favorite and I didn’t even need to get it tailored. It’s my best find by far and it was 50 bucks, which is more than I like to spend at a thrift store.
Somehow, I think your bank account will recover from this splurge.
Pretty, tough-girl rapper Eve won a Grammy Award in 2002 for her Ruff Ryders collaboration with Gwen Stefani, and her hit album, Eve-Olution, came out the same year. (For the record, Eve should have two Grammys; she was featured on the Roots song “You Got Me,” which won a Grammy in 2000, but she somehow never received a statuette.) Early success aside, the Philadelphia native known for her lyrical swagger and her sharp partnerships with DMX, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Lil Jon has been fairly quiet over the past decade. Her collaborative spirit is plenty alive, though; Eve is so into working with other talented musicians that last year she started uploading homemade remixes to YouTube with her rhymes over existing hits by Rihanna, Brandy, Miguel, and other unwitting costars. This month she invited legends such as Missy Elliott and Snoop Dogg to make cameos on her veritable comeback album, Lip Lock. Here, she talks about eponymous songs, the purse she can’t put down, and crazy-detailed nail art.
This month you performed with the Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. How was it to reunite with them?
It was amazing. They’re so incredible. Most of them I’ve known since I was 15 years old!
The new album is called Lip Lock—why?
My lips are my favorite feature—they’re fun, flirty.
So is your favorite beauty product lipstick, then?
[It's] Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. [It's] the best thing ever. I put it all over my face on long flights, to keep my skin moisturized. If I’m breaking out, I put it on, and the next day it’s taken the inflammation down. I also use it on cuticles and lips, small cuts—it’s a miracle cream.
If you spent much of your time as a 14-year-old going to raves and staying out until 6 A.M.—with your parents, no less—you might have also wound up spending your later years in rehab, not topping the pop charts. But don’t tell that to British hitmaker Charli XCX. The well-adjusted 20-year-old and the voice behind the song that is currently stuck in our heads, a collaboration with Icona Pop called “I Love It (I Don’t Care)” (Girls watchers will remember the jam from the dance-party scene during Hannah’s short-lived cocaine addiction), Charli—short for Charlotte—is a different kind of pop princess. Accented by mounds of black eyeliner, punky lyrics, and midriff-baring T-shirts, her sound isn’t so much candy-coated as rich with rhythm-backed synth riffs that are immediately catchy. As for the XCX bit, “it was part of my MSN screen name when I was 13, and it kind of stuck,” she told us when we caught up with her in the middle of a tour in support of True Romance, her debut album that features the addictive track, “Nuclear Seasons.” Here, the “nineties chick” at heart, talks about late-night clubbing, being inspired by Britney and Baby Spice, and her unconventional secret to the perfect dark lipstick.
How did you get into music at just 14?
As soon as I saw “Hit Me Baby (One More Time),” I knew I loved Britney and music videos, and I was in awe; it inspired me to start making music. I started writing, but it was just me kind of experimenting. I posted demos on MySpace, and a guy who ran a club in East London brought me up to play these raves. I started performing and became a regular in that scene. My parents came with me. They’d drive me and stay at the parties; usually I would play at 2 or 3 A.M. and leave at 6 A.M. At the time, I wasn’t into hanging out with my parents. We’d drive home in the morning and stop for breakfast. They were really supportive. We were always the weird family at the warehouse parties.
Um…Amazing. Why is the new album called True Romance?
All of the songs are about love and my experience with relationships and how I’ve changed my opinion on love, how the relationships have changed me. In true romance, you don’t have just walking on clouds, amazing, happy, beachy moments. To have true romance, you also have to have isolating, depressing moments of crying. The songs are about both. Some are happier and some are darker; some are pop; and others are more mysterious—and that’s what romance is like in real life. “Stay Away” is about an unhealthy obsession with someone, making yourself ill over them, but I haven’t been through that, so it’s more of an imagining.
Your Icona Pop collaboration “I Love It (I Don’t Care)” is the theme song for Snooki & Jwoww—do you watch the show?
That made me really laugh. I don’t watch the show religiously, but I’ve seen it. I think Snooki is pretty cute. They’re both hilarious.
Redheads are known for being fiery, passionate, and fickle. So it should come as no surprise that British pop star and former ginger Kate Nash eventually got sassy on her own hair, dyeing it black with platinum streaks. The impetus for the change? “Going through something personal, where you feel you need a new identity,” Nash says. The specific look came from Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, an eighties movie about an all-girl punk band. “One girl changes her name to Third Degree Burns, and she has black hair and two blonde streaks, and she’s empowered and brave. At the time, I needed a role model like that, so I got inspired to do the same hair.” The dye job must have done the trick, because while touring to promote her new album, Girl Talk, Nash seems to have left her pop-star persona behind for an edgier rock-chick look—though she’s still the same sweetheart underneath.
Girl Talk is your third album. How was writing it different from the previous ones?
This time, I sing, play bass guitar, and drums. I was going through a difficult time in my personal life, so it felt like I purged all these songs at once. I recorded it in a month, in L.A., while staying at the Paramour Mansion. It’s a great place, with taxidermy everywhere: a polar bear, tiger, wolf, cheetah, and zebra. There’s a twenty-foot giraffe in the living room.
Your new look is like a quirky pinup girl—what appeals to you about that style?
It’s very feminine and girly, almost femme fatale, a really hot look. It’s this weird mixture of grown-up but also a Lolita vibe. I feel like I’m creating a character for myself. But I’m never going to be that person who always looks fancy; I’m really impressed by people who can do it all the time, but I don’t have the skills. I have a bit of an edgier side to me as well, so I switch between 1940s pinup and 1990s grunge. Combining feminine and trashy grunge is cool.
Your Instagram is loaded with shots of cool rings. Is that your favorite accessory?
Those rings are totally amazing, but I’m really terrible with jewelry, because I just lose it. I had this really cool ring from when I was 14, with my initials—it was kind of a gangster ring—but I lost it. So I don’t buy things that are too nice; I buy quite cheap ones, like big pink plastic ones from dollar stores, and just borrow expensive stuff (like those in the pictures) for events. I know I will lose my jewelry, so when I buy something new, I just accept that I’m not going to have it forever.
That’s so sad! You recently tweeted, “I’m obsessed with food,” but is it hard eating on the road, especially as a vegetarian?
I have to put more of an effort into looking for vegetarian or vegan restaurants; otherwise, you end up eating fries all the time. It’s really hard to eat well on the road. I constantly eat in the van, out of boredom, just stuffing myself the whole time. I like when we’re in L.A., because it’s so easy to eat healthy; I love Dusty’s Bistro, and Masa of Echo Park, which has a great salad with vegetarian chicken, Manchego, dates, and pear. Near Detroit, I love Om Cafe—I recently went and got brown rice, vegetables, and a green juice that totally rejuvenated me.
Speaking of things that inspire, what made you start Kate Nash’s Rock N Roll for Girls After School Music Club?
I found out that there are fewer female composers than males and fewer females in the music industry, generally. It’s weird and wrong and annoying. I got angry and bitter for a while, and then I was like, I need to stop being this negative person; I need to shut up about it or do something about it. You can’t change how things are right now, but if you work with kids, you can change how it will be in the future. So I started doing lyric-writing sessions, guitar lessons, and drums lessons. It turned into a self-esteem workshop, because they hated themselves and were scared to even try to do music, because they worried about being judged. It’s crazy. They went from not being able to stand in front of the class to performing at Queen Elizabeth Hall in a concert we did for eight hundred people, where they sang songs they’d written and had a girl drummer and bassist. I was so emotional about it. We’ve worked with one hundred girls so far, and I want to continue this project for the next ten years.
Metric’s Emily Haines has been in the female-frontwoman vanguard since her Toronto-based four-piece started making music together in 1998. Embracing her glamorous side, rather than downplaying it, Haines encouraged many of her sisters in rock to do the same. A fan of structured pieces and Margiela these days, Haines calls the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed her ultimate style icon. “My friend Lou Reed pretty much invented rock-and-roll style for me. Never has a leather jacket and sunglasses looked so good!” Janelle Monáe is carrying the torch for a new generation of artist’s, according to Haines, bringing “grace and elegance” back to the stage as “a much-needed alternative to all the rest.”
To kick off a barrage of summer tour dates, Metric will open Coachella in T-minus eleven days, although Haines is no stranger to the festival circuit, of course. “I was completely transfixed,” she recalls of watching Sonic Youth perform the song “Tunic” a few years back at La Route du Rock, a summer concert series in the French countryside. “That was the first time I met Kim Gordon, and she treated me with such kindness, like she was my older sister and she had my back with the big kids.” In anticipation of the annual extravaganza in Indio, California, Haines is stocking up on Bliss Spa’s Triple Oxygen Eye Cream and plenty of Rosewater, as well as loading her iPod with tracks from Chinawoman and Lee Hazlewood for the long hours of tour-bus time that will follow. Click here for more Coachella essentials in Style.com’s Spring Beauty Guide.