“It started right after some of the touring days, right after we started having hit records and started doing television specials, and they would hire a makeup person for us. But before then we would do our own makeup. I would create my own eyeliner—lots of eyelashes. I would create my own look that I thought was right for me…It was a wonderful, playful time, and fashion, beauty, and clothes became a part of the image of who the classic Diana Ross was.”
—Diana Ross, singer, actress, legend
When asked in an interview when she first started having her makeup professionally done, Ross provided the response above—but her life wasn’t always full of glitz and glamour. She grew up in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit before rising to fame, re-creating what she saw in magazines and on television with products she purchased from Woolworth’s or the local five-and-dime. Eventually, her look—big hair and even bigger eyelashes—would become a thing of beauty legend. On the cusp of her 70th birthday and solo tour, we delve into the disco queen and original diva’s past in this month’s Beauty Icon feature.
The VH1 TLC biopic that made its small-screen debut this past Sunday was, well, epic, but the beauty risks this trio took during their rise to the top of the Billboard charts (including scrunchies, asymmetrical bobs, and raisin-colored lipstick) are even more impressive. Rozanda Thomas (Chilli), Tionne Watkins (T-Boz), and Lisa Lopes (Left Eye) did it all—from major false lashes (seen in the video for “No Scrubs”) to topknots adorned with condoms (flashback to “Baby-Baby-Baby”). And who could forget “Unpretty,” the ultimate girl-power anthem of the nineties that gave a shout-out to MAC cosmetics long before Lil Mama (who played Lopes in the original made-for-TV movie) rapped about the powers of lip gloss. To see all the group’s greatest hair and makeup hits, check out this week’s Beauty Icon. Warning: You will be listening to “Creep,” “No Scrubs,” and “Waterfalls” on repeat after reading, so pull out your headphones and plug them into your computer now.