Lily McMenamy


“I literally just started modeling... it’s been a possibility for a while I guess, but I wanted to finish high school first. I grew up in London, and actually my plan was always to move to Paris once I finished school, and I came here [to Paris] not knowing what I was going to do—I was going to waitress or do an internship at a gallery... but then I figured I would try modeling. I literally signed with Next like one week ago, went to meet Hedi [Slimane], and just walked in his first show for Saint Laurent. It was my first runway show. I’m eighteen; I’m like 180 cm, so 5’11—proper model height. Some people say that I’m like a little girl. [Laughs] I feel like I’ve had a lot of experience for an 18-year-old. I grew up quite fast. But I think that’s quite good.

My mom [model Kristen McMenamy] was here for fashion week, and I went to visit her in her hotel room one night before Saint Laurent and she gave me a catwalking lesson, which was super fun. For the first time ever, in my entire life. It’s always been kind of a secret fantasy for me. Just in her lovely room at the Park Hyatt, walking back and forth…I put on some of her Prada stilettos. [Laughs] I watched playback of myself from the show and I thought I did alright—but I was so terrified, you have no idea. I took a lot of Rescue Remedy before—the Bach’s. I have to tell you, that’s my go-to product. It really works. Maybe its just a placebo effect. It’s just flowers; it’s really calming. But I have to say, I felt...good. All these amazing supermodels were backstage; it was super overwhelming. But once I got out there, it was so exciting. I thought I’d be really scared but I was just really happy to be there. It just felt so right. I had this amazing sheer leopard-print cape for the show and then, for the finale, this beautiful black sheer pirate dress. It was everything I love. It was so me, it was unbelievable.

I’m originally from Pennsylvania. My mom is American and lives in London, and my dad is from Tunisia and lives in Paris, so I’ve always been kind of going on the Eurostar, back and forth. The Eurostar was actually made the year I was born, so I kind of feel like it’s... mine. [Laughs] I’ve always thought Paris was so much more beautiful than London. London’s more dynamic, but in Paris, you can live in complete solitude and just walk around and do nothing and be completely happy because it’s so beautiful and poetic. I’m glad my dad’s here. He lives in Pigalle, my favorite part of Paris. It’s where the Moulin Rouge is. It’s very old-fashioned and sordid and seedy, but I love that about it…it’s so Paris. It’s funny, actually, I feel very English when I’m in Paris, and very French when I’m in London. I feel kind of... caught in-between the two. I don’t know. Obviously we always like being the foreigner, but there’s some elements of me that feel very Parisian—like, I wear complete black and I smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and am quite reserved, but also there’s something in me that’s very London. I couldn’t exactly call myself a Parisian girl, but I couldn’t call myself a complete London girl either. I think I'm just kind of an amalgamation of elements together.

I’ve been using a lot more French products since I moved here, like, do you know Masque d'Argile? It’s what all the French girls use. It’s this green clay that you put on your face like a mask—you get it at the pharmacies; everyone uses it. You can get all different types. I got a mint one for greasy teenage skin. [Laughs] Those masks are really good—my big sister always used them and she told me what to do as a teen. She’s the French one, she’s a beauty addict, so I tend to get most of my tips from her. Also, for French things, I use lots of Kérastase hair products, and I love Klorane dry shampoo because I’m incredibly lazy.

They also just opened a Lush in Paris, which I’m pretty excited about. It’s all homemade, it’s really exciting, but you can only keep it for like a week in your fridge. Because I have a lot of lip going on, I use their scrub—also because it tastes so good. It’s just sugar and honey and stuff, so you scrub it on and you can lick it off and it’s really delicious. [Laughs] It’s like putting candy in your mouth, but it makes them soft and luscious. I certainly do have a lot of lip. It’s like, amplified. My mom does have copious lips, so I got that from her. I look more like her than my dad, but with darker hair, dark eyebrows…but still, we’re both very pale. I burn! I just go red. And it’s so unfair, I’m like, ‘HELLO! I AM TUNISIAN! THIS IS NOT FAIR!’

I do a lot of scrubs. From my mum, she uses an apricot scrub, something with a K, and we both like Nelsons—they’re a brand that’s pretty organic and healthy, and they have a line called Pure and Clear; I guess it’s kind of aimed at greasy teens. I’ve never been a greasy teen until now. It’s so annoying—I thought, ‘I’m 18 now, it’s done, the awkward teen phase is done.’ But now, with all the stress and everything happening so fast, I’m getting a bit of sebum. [Laughs] And with what all the makeup people put on you...I think my number-one beauty product is the makeup remover Bioderma, the one for oily skin. And Vichy does good ones, too.

For makeup, right now I'm wearing Ruby Woo-hoo-hooohoooo!!! Although I got given a very nice red Chanel—I got a goody bag for doing the Chanel show this week, and that one’s called Pirate—it’s pretty good as well. But I like the blueish tint in Ruby Woo. It looks good on everybody. Russian Red is another good one. But everyone says Ruby Woo. I’ve been through lots of different phases with makeup. When I was younger, like 14, 15, 16, it was, every single day, a big Sophia Loren cat eye…it was kind of goth, but Sophia Loren. I was using the Penultimate liner from MAC, it’s like a pen. It’s really easy to apply, but it’s not really thick enough so you kind of have to go over it with an inkier one, like a Rimmel. And then, recently I was really into contouring, so I used brown to deepen my eyes—I did lots of brown on my eyes and cheekbones with a really white face, and I liked that, but now that I’m a model, it’s just very simple: powder my nose, lip balm, and that’s very much it. [Laughs] But I used to use a very light skin-colored darkish brown powder, an eyeshadow, and I would literally...I’m very messy, I’m not intricate at all…I would take this big fat MAC brush and just kind of sweep it over my eyes and under my cheeks—one, two—just to look like a skull, really. It’s amazing how you can change your face with makeup.

I’m really into dressing up with makeup, not to, like, hide things but to accentuate things. It’s a kind of like painting to me; I think it’s my artistic output every day, you know? It just makes it more exciting when you’re going out, or being put makeup on. And I’m constantly inspired by things I see, and films especially. I watch a film and the next day I’m doing that exact makeup. Factory Girl, tomorrow I’m Edie Sedgwick. I just watched Persona, with Ingmar Bergman, and she [star Liv Ullmann] wears headbands constantly, and so I’m going through a headband phase. I love them! I get them from Monoprix. [Laughs] Monoprix is the best thing in Paris. If you’re comparing London and Paris, Tesco and Monoprix, Monoprix wins 100%. They’ve got tights, headbands, they’ve got it all. And they’ve got amazing food. Yeah. Goat's cheese and honey, brown bread sandwiches. So good. So much more refined in Paris! They’ve got everything. As a model now, you need emergency tights or emergency knickers—you see them everywhere at Monoprix. It’s so good."

—as told to ITG

Lily McMenamy, wearing a vintage dress and her father's hat, photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris on October 3rd, 2012.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Bonnie Clyde

    She has a very strong face!! Love her!! :)

  • Lili Barbery-Coulon

    this is my courtyard!!!!! love it! I watched you shoot from my window, so cool to see it already on ITG. Paris misses Emily and Nick so much, love you guys

  • CFH

    Ingmar Bergman is a man; Persona stars Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson.

    • ITGNick

      Yes, Lily was referring to Ullmann's character in Persona, not Bergman. Added a note in text to clarify. Nick

  • The Snail’s Pajamas

    In the 90's, I once read an interview/spread with her mom that took place in Paris, where her mom was shopping with the interviewer in Monoprix and going on about how amazing it was!! I think it was the awesome spread with her with blond sort of 40's hair, I remember she was wearing this fantastic lilac print white circle skirt that she said she got in a flea market in Paris. Monoprix rocks - I always spend a ton in the beauty section whenever I am there!

  • ClosetCravings

    Dry shampoo is every lazy girl's best friend. I'm completely obsessed with Lush's bath bombs.
    Satisfy Your Cravings For Celebrity Style and All Things Stylish and Sweet

  • Tamara

    This is a fun read. I like how she says, "I have a lot of lip going on." Ruby Woo rocks! And the fact that Kristen McMenamy's daughter is 18...that makes me feel old!

  • Nina R.

    OMG - her lips!! What an amazing girl - her looks and personality! I cannot believe Her mom has kids this old though - she obviously did a great job.

  • NatSeesStyle

    She sounds so grown up and free spirited! I loved reading her personal picks and I can't wait to hear more from Lily in the future!


  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Wow she is a gorgeous girl--looks so much like her mom!

  • Clarisse

    She sure have good genes!

  • Beatriz

    Factory Girl? Personna??? Are you sure you're 18?!

  • Carolinedehaye

    That girl believes she is a true parisienne ? She is very Nice sure but i'm french, born in Neuilly sur Seine, next to Paris. I can Say she just has clichés about France. You don't necesary have to be on Paris to Know what every one Knows about this city : monoprix, les pharmacies, Pigalle et compagnie ....

    • Fritze

      Jeez that's not what she is saying at all... She's saying she feels somewhere in between a Londoner and a Parisienne, not claiming she is a "true" anything (whatever that means anyway). On another note, wow at her lips... and her nose!!

    • Nina R.

      Once again, I'm going to attribute this to the language barrier, but Lily never said she was a "true Parisienne!" She is extraordinarily self-aware and mature for her age and specifically said she was an "amalgam" having grown up in London and now living in Paris. I don't see any cliches about Paris here - she is quite complimentary and modest. I don't understand why you are so put off by her.

      • Guest

        Everyone gets so defensive when something honest or negative is said about an interviewee. It's okay to dislike or disagree with someone's character; it doesn't mean they're wrong, everybody is different. Is it any surprise not everyone is going to mesh, especially on such a personal yet frivolous subject? It creates dialogue. She does sound incredibly self aware, just like a teenager lucky enough to have grown up with her lineage. I'm glad she uses Lush, it's so good for 'young adult' skin. I really like The Face as it tends to focus on lesser known, quirkier people. More Top Shelves/The Face with people you wouldn't immediately know of or who are unrelated to existing successes would be cool, like cinematographers, editors, fashion directors, artists, even students you see on the streets or those that refer to themselves as 'professional travelers' (I still love Maya Thomas' interview)

  • Nuyhoos

    Ruby Woo? I love her lip color on the picture and if Ruby Woo is what she is wearing there, it is very different from the Ruby Woo I have. I mean to say the shade looks so pink in the picture to be Ruby Woo. Anyway I love her face. Her green eyes match her lips very well.

  • Guest

    So many lovely, creative ideas. I would hang out with this girl! She's not full of s**t, (fortunately not a 'true parisienne'!). Very refreshing and one of my favorite posts! "Copious lips" and "goat's cheese." Fantastic.

  • Denis R

    She have nice lips and eyes.

  • Selma

    Waouh, there's definitely something about her. I'm impressed and amazed at how cool and sophisticated she is. By far the best post I have read in ITG. The last time I was that impressed was when I read an article from Tavi.

  • ROKderm

    Wow what a face! and those lips!! She'll be around for a while I'm sure.

  • Pure

    She's such a beauty!

  • Mabelandmatilda

    Her face is so unique and stunning. I've always wanted to try the Klorane dry shampoo but it's a little more expensive than I'd usually spend on a dry shampoo..maybe I'll try it out now.

  • claire

    My only question is...what accent did she have french or English lol?

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    She looks just like her mom!

  • Madeline Akers

    What a personality, she seems smart, thoughtful and fun. And of course, gorgeous.