The Dior Foundation Behind Yara Shahidi's Tinker Bell Glow

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Get Yara Shahidi's Tinker Bell GlowDimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images

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I first met Yara Shahidi back in 2017, when she was 17 years old and college-bound. The actress has since graduated from Harvard, helmed a hit show Grown-ish, and signed a Dior Makeup contract that has her appearing on billboards and makeup counters around the world. All these years later, Shahidi still radiates the same optimism and light as she did when we first met—she just glows, both inside and out. So I wasn't surprised at all when she was cast as Tinker Bell in Disney's new live-action film Peter Pan & Wendy (out now). Shahidi's take on the iconic fairy is truly gorgeous—thanks in part to some key Dior makeup products (and maybe a little pixie dust).

We caught up over Zoom last month to chat about transforming into Tinker Bell, her new Dior Forever campaign with Anya Taylor-Joy, and how her next move could involve an element of true crime.

Tell me about this new Dior campaign.

We did the Forever Foundation campaign at the Salk Institute in San Diego. It was really such a beautiful day. And it was my first campaign with Anya [Taylor-Joy] but my second Forever campaign—I feel like they've really nailed working with nice people. I think that's my favorite part of a Dior campaign day—from Natalie Portman to Anya to Rachel to Jisoo— everyone in the Dior family is just a nice human being. The shoot days are always a blast especially because you go from meeting each other to the next second being cheek to cheek.

I think the one thing I take pride in whenever I'm public-facing for a brand or a product is knowing that I truly love and use said product. I've been using this foundation for years. And I can truly attest to the fact that every time you see my face at work, on a carpet, out in the world, it is Forever Skin Glow. It is such a nourishing foundation. I'm somebody that's often struggled with how heavy foundations are. They're the reason for the cycle of breaking out, which then means you need more foundation to cover what's happened. Dior is the first one where I haven't broken out. But more than that, it truly feels skin-like and I love the way it looks on me. It looks so natural. And when I wipe off my makeup, my actual skin feels just as good.

What is one thing you've learned from your makeup artist Emily Cheng over the years?

I'd have to say just the different facial massage techniques. Right now our go-to is a stainless steel tool. It maintains such a nice chill to it, if you put it in the fridge for a second, and then it just being antibacterial is really nice. But we've gone through all sorts of different facial massages—using the Nu Face, using kind of any and all machines and techniques, but it makes such a difference. I think the big thing that she's always prioritized and therefore has become a priority for me is that the base that you put your makeup on really matters. So the importance of taking care of your skin not only in terms of moisturizer, but one thing my own dermatologist taught me is in terms of vitamins that you take and filling yourself up with good things.

Is there one vitamin in particular that has made the biggest difference for you?

I think for me, the biggest thing for supplements is just vitamin D. Also a lot of brown and Black folks are vitamin D deficient. I think it's just a good baseline, I didn't realize how much better I function when I'm on vitamin D or iron. I remember when I got my my blood work done, the doctor was like, "Friend, you need vitamin D ASAP." And I feel the effects. A newer conversation for melanated skin is the fact that sunscreen is really important. And as somebody that deals with eczema and can deal with different conditions just based on the way seasons change—I'm super affected by air weather and seasons—sunscreen has been that nice protective barrier. I've noticed a big difference.

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What's your makeup routine like at the moment? Are you experimenting with more color or are you on a natural glam kick?

Oh, I'd say it's a mix of both. I love having my natural glam base in my back pocket. It makes me feel really good. Oftentimes I go to events and things where it's not necessarily time for a full face of makeup. I do love that extra bump of glow. And so like for today, for example, I used 4Wo concealer, but because I did get a little sun yesterday and I was very excited about that I was able to use my 4.5 and foundation. We always say in my team that what foundation color I'm on is is how we indicate whether or not I need a vacation. Because if I'm on the four w's, that means that I haven't been outside in a minute. And once I hit 4.5 and we just start mixing in fives then it's like alright, that means my life is well lived right now. I got some sun!

I usually mix my concealer and a foundation, and today I used the Dior primer just to kind of mix it all together. I used it to thin out the concealer because I was going for something super light. I love how buildable it is. I like the fact that there's enough range of colors that I can choose whether it's just an under the eye concealer day, or a full foundation day, if it's just a spot correcting day, or if I'm going for heavy glam.

I have so many different lip colors and I love having fun with my lip. My go to lip is a nice nude. But otherwise, I love playing with variations of brown. Sometimes I do a really deep brown, sometimes it's super light. But I also love mixing, like I'll take my base color which could be Dior Rouge 810, and sometimes when I want to make any other bold color feel more approachable, if I mix the two, then it kind of lands in a nice middle spot for me when I'm not when I'm not necessarily trying to show out. When I am trying to show out, I just go all in with one color.

Tell me about the beauty process of transforming into Tinker Bell.

There was a whole lot of discussion around what Tinker Bell would look like, rightfully so. One just being motion capture, it meant that whatever look we decided it was then on the backs of all of the incredible visual effects people to then recreate that in every single frame. Not only is it pretty iconic glam, but you know, as somebody that doesn't look like Tinker Bells that have come before, trying to figure out what my own version was, that felt natural to me while still paying homage to the Tinker Bells that we know and love, it was really fun. I wish I could share all of the stills that we had when they'd have me in costume. And then we would just trade different hairstyles, like they just put different hairstyles on my head so that we could see how it read. And then we did a couple test days and ultimately, that iconic top knot is what was it.

I think what I loved about the little changes that we made was one, bangs, when you're in motion capture, would cover half of my face. But being able to incorporate that braided headband almost across across my top knot and then incorporating just a couple of curls sticking out—even that was super intentional to be able to show my texture and to add a bit of whimsy and have these pieces of hair that would still fly and have some movement to it while I was while I was flying around screen.

Tinker Bell is such a magical character that we wanted to create that ultimate no-glam glam look of feeling like, how do I emanate light and make it look like I'm glowing? But you don't have to look at her twice and think, "Wait, what mascara does Tinker Bell use?" Forever Skin Glow was used on that day, and like a nice kind of highlight and blush to the cheek. We created that perfect base and then just really wispy lashes—it's very similar to my everyday glam. But we bumped up the glowiness and I think that's where I love the bronzers and such, and even the different coral colors within the Dior Beauty roster of products, just because we're able to achieve that color and that bit of glitter without it seeming overpowering. It still felt like that glow came from within. So we had a lot of fun on those test days. Partially because it was one of the handful of times that I got to fully be in character. So it was really special to do the full transformation: dress, hair makeup, and all.

How many different hairstyle iterations did you try?

We went through quite a few! Nikki Nelms who created the look, both came over to my house to test out hairstyles. We did one full press day. We had one other look that was really, really cool and very special. But it was so intricate that it ultimately it just didn't read well on camera. So as cool as it was in person, it felt like I had a fountain on my head and it was distracting once I shrunk myself down, once they dropped me down to five inches. We went through a huge amount of of looks. It was about finding that balance of iconic and classic and simple with an interesting twist, because we didn't want to get too preoccupied with what her hair was doing that we lost sight of what she was doing. We still wanted to take this opportunity. I mean, it's really cool to be Tinker Bell and to be a Tinker Bell with super curly hair, and so wanted to figure out what were the subtle ways to still lean into that.

Light is so important to Tinker Bell—but it's also important for makeup. Do you have any favorite ways to add glow?

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Sometimes, even when I'm truly doing no makeup, I'll lotion and put a little bit of the highlighter on. And I think what's nice is sometimes when I when I just use lotion as a source of glow, it can border on greasy. But what's nice about the highlighter is that truly looks like a shimmer. I think always adds a nice amount of glow. I think the trick to me has always been the more moisturized I go, the more glowy it looks. Depending on what kind of glow I want to achieve, it's as simple as adding a pump of primer or moisturizer to said product to really bump up that kind of luminosity and that liquidiness of it. It's always been about moisturizer at the end of the day for me.

What I like about the Skin Veil primer is that it helps your foundation stay in place, but it doesn't dry matte, it enhances the glow. I notice such a difference when I use that as my base. Any product that you layer on top of it just has a nice sheen to it. My entire routine is oriented towards glow! The number one complaint I get from cameraman is like, her forehead is so shiny. It doesn't help that I just have a large forehead but because I love the glow so much, I think they end up spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to make sure that the lights aren't reflecting in my forehead, or the camera. I find that as a personal accomplishment if you can see the camera in my forehead, we've done a good job.

So you've graduated from Harvard. You're Tinker Bell. What is next for you? What's your dream role? What's happening now?

Okay, what's next? That's a good question. What's literally next is this TED talk, which I'm quite excited to be at the TED conference just to be around such incredibly interesting people. But macro what's next? It's such an interesting time. Like you said, both schools over, Grown-ish is coming to a close. And so for the first time, I don't have these kind of guidelines to what my life looked like. I'd go shoot, I'd go to school. I'm really excited to hop back into drama. The last movie I did, Sitting in Bars With Cake, should come out hopefully towards the end of this year sometime. It was a really beautiful kind of coming of age story that I so enjoyed filming. But I think the other thing that I can't wait to satiate is my desire to be in kind of a mystery thriller space. I love a good true crime moment. I always try and figure out why I'm scared of the world, but it's because I go between Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent.

I can't watch that. I'm already too anxious. It's not for me.

My issue is—I make the mistake of watching a true crime show that takes place in LA or any sort of like procedural, and suddenly it just hits too close to home. I can only imagine being a New Yorker. Like some crime happening in Central Park seems so far away. But suddenly they go, 'This happened in Glendale." I have to turn it off. I'm like no, Glendale is too close. I love those those kinds of stories. To be driving a mystery thriller thing would be just really cool.

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