Beauty And The Beat: Talking Makeup And Music With Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey
Things aren’t always as they seem with the Britpop duo Summer Camp. The band generated so much buzz with their anonymous MySpace tracks in 2009 that a live show became inevitable. First they claimed it was all the work of seven Swedes, but then the real wizards, Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley, came out from behind the curtain. Ever since, the twosome has preferred using found photos from the eighties and nineties to their own likenesses when promoting their special brand of indie rock. It’s a wonder why Sankey would want to stay out of the limelight: With alabaster skin as crystal clear as her voice, dresses that date back to the John Hughes films the band samples, and her trademark bright red lips, the front woman has created a signature look that is totally captivating. Like it or not, she and Warmsley are about to get a lot more attention with the release of the digital single “Losing My Mind,” which bows this week, and an upcoming EP. “It’s definitely a progression for us,” she says of the new releases. “But I think it probably still sounds like us, too—it’s really fun, dance-y party tracks.” Here, Style.com catches up with Sankey to find out why curly-haired girls have more fun, a “life-changing” beauty tip for life on the road, and the one mascara that, even “if [you] stayed over at a boyfriend’s house, when you wake up it looks fine.”
Since coming forward as the brains behind Summer Camp, has it been important to you to cultivate a specific “look”?
It’s funny, I kind of went through a phase—a probably ill-advised phase—of buying loads and loads of jumpsuits. It was the first year, and then I moved away from that. At first I felt really self-conscious about whether or not I had a look, like that was really important. Now I’m much more comfortable wearing stuff I love. I’m really into nineties stuff, so I have all these dresses that have chain print on them, like old-school Versace, and I found this amazing black velvet bomber jacket on eBay. Also, my hair’s changed a bit; I used to straighten my hair every day and that killed it, so now I’ve embraced the curly side.
Is going curly like going blonde, where people treat you a little differently, as though you’re a different person?
It’s changed how I feel about myself, because it was always this thing I was battling against, my need for control. I hated having any kink or frizz in there. So that was the hardest thing to let go of, that I wasn’t going to know what my hair was going to look like every day. The longer it gets the easier it gets and the more I love it. So maybe it makes me more relaxed!
Since embracing your curly hair, you’ve also presumably learned to love a host of products to keep it healthy and manageable. Any newfound favorites?
My hair goes in ringlets really easily, so I don’t use that much product, but I do use Moroccanoil. Also, certain shampoos—Schwarzkopf does this amazing range that I use every day, I love it. It’s great being low maintenance. I used to have to take baths because I didn’t want to get my hair wet, so I’m probably a lot cleaner!
Are you equally low-maintenance with your makeup?
I like really simple in terms of makeup. I don’t really deviate much. I just got into MAC BB cream. Blemish Balm for me is amazing; I have really fair skin so I need SPF and I don’t like wearing a lot of foundation. I like having a really clear complexion. Then I wear a bit of blusher and I guess the nineties thing has come in with eyebrows—I’ve grown my eyebrows a bit. All my blonde friends are penciling in their brows, it looks amazing. Red lipstick I’ve always loved. I’ve always gotten one for Christmas or my birthday. Dior does a really good one, but to be honest, you can’t really go wrong with red lipstick. I definitely prefer a bluer red than an orange red, but I will just go and buy one from Rimmel in London, because as long as you blot it, it’s pretty difficult to get it wrong. I’ve been wearing red lipstick pretty much every day since I was 17.
Do you tone down your eyes if you’re going big with a red lip?
I’m scared of eye shadow—I don’t like the idea of having powder on my eyes—but I have a little pot of pale skin-color eye shadow [from Boots No. 7] that I put on my lids and underneath a bit, just so it stops the mascara from smudging. It just adds a little bit of sparkle. And then I put on loads of mascara—like, a lot. The mascara I’ve been using since I was about 17 is Max Factor 2000 Calorie. It’s just perfect. I started using it because I wore a lot of mascara and if I stayed over at a boyfriend’s house, it’s the only one when you wake up, it looks fine. The brush is amazing—when I finish one of them, I keep the brush, clean it off, and use it as an eyebrow brush.
That’s genius! Any other beauty tips?
You know what I do? I keep hand sanitizer in my makeup bag at all times, so on-tour if I have to do my makeup quickly in front of people, if there’s no sink, or the sink is gross, I always have really clean hands. That’s been a life-changing thing for me. When you realize you’re putting makeup on your face with hands that might not be clean, that’s bad.
Photo: Courtesy of Big Hassle