“It’s been my look my whole life,” says Lion Babe’s Jillian Hervey of the smoky, feline-flicked gaze that’s become as synonymous with her stage presence as her willowy vocals and cloud of golden curls. On a hot summer’s day, the alt-R&B frontwoman is getting ready for a performance and, true to form, is sparing no effort on her signature glam.
Her tell-tale lion’s mane pulled back into a sleek ponytail, Hervey mists her bare complexion with rose water, then tones with “old school” Dickinson’s Witch Hazel before adding a layer of moisturizer. Her canvas dewy, she demonstrates her dancer’s agility by twirling into a cloud of Chanel No.5. “When I was young, I started learning makeup through dance recitals,” Hervey explains, blending on concealer and a bespoke mixture of foundations. “My mom would teach me what to do.” Teaming what she learned from her beauty queen mother, Vanessa Williams, with the tricks of the trade she’s picked up from the queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hervey meticulously contours her cheeks and jawline.
“I’m notorious for using everything for whatever I think I should use it for,” she explains while repurposing a tawny MAC Powder Blush as an eyeshadow. “Sometimes there’s a great eye pencil that ends up being a great lip liner, or you can put a lipstick on your cheeks for a rouge.” Name-checking “foxy” icons of the past such as Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe as inspiration, she lays the false eyelashes on thick with tinted lash glue and a bobby pin, then draws on thick onyx wings to accentuate her almond-shaped eyes. After a few sweeps of bronzer, she finishes off her look by tapping on faux freckles and blotting glossy raspberry pigment into her lips. And as if there was any doubt, she affirms: “I am ready to give ’em hell!”
Lion Babe in a Morgan Lane robe.
Director Rebecca Fourteau
Filmed at The Standard
Originally Appeared on Vogue