Camilla Blackett, Writer, ‘New Girl’

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“I’m a writer for FOX's New Girl, and before that I was writing for HBO's The Newsroom, and E4’s Skins. I’m from a town in England called Reading, which is about 20 minutes outside of London, but I grew up watching American television. I started writing for Skins when I was 18, because Brian Elsley, who created it, was hiring young writers. He'd read something I had written, and asked me to join the team. Except for two people, our entire writing staff was under the age of 20. It was crazy. They just took a bunch of teenagers, put us in a room and said, ‘Go make a TV show.’ I still can’t believe it. But I think that’s why teenagers really loved it—it was written by their peers, so it felt different. If you watch something like 90210, and a girl takes a tablet of ecstasy, she will overdose and go to the hospital. On Skins, if a girl took ecstasy, she’d accidentally make out with her best mate, because, in most cases that’s what happens—no one dies.

After some time in London and New York, I moved to LA, where I ultimately got a job writing for season two of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I was so nervous for my first interview with them that I was physically shaking. I think I had a glass of red wine right before the meeting, which started at 11 in the morning. [Laughs] It was an incredible learning experience—very tough, very intense, and it left me primed to go into drama or comedy after. I feel so lucky to have been able to work on that, and now on New Girl because they’re both shows that I watched anyway. New Girl is Liz Meriwether’s first show, and she’s insanely smart with a very clear vision. She has been incredible to me, and everyone I work with is so talented. It's basically a dream team.

When I’m working and writing, I touch my face a lot, so it’s kind of pointless for me to wear makeup on my skin. I learned from my mom, who was a theatrical makeup artist, and my grandmother, who was a model, that if you wear bright lipstick, people won’t really notice the rest of your complexion. My two standbys are MAC Russian Red and Rebel. Russian Red is a real red with a little bit of blue in it. It’s a great 'confidence lipstick' that kind of pulls everything together. Rebel is a sexier dark plum. And my other favorite, I did some serious, fierce eBay bidding for: MAC Party Parrot, which is one of Iris Apfel’s lipsticks for MAC. I love her. She’s insane and so incredible. I seriously overpaid for that lipstick, but when I got it, I was like, ‘That’s it, we’re hitting a club tonight.’ [Laughs] It’s that kind of lipstick. For daytime, I also like blending Nars Yu Satin Lip Pencil with Nars Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, but at night, I prefer to wear Yu alone. I get bored with colors quickly, so rather than spending $20 on MAC lipstick every time—because that spirals—I buy a lot of $2 lipstick at CVS and Rite-Aid.

Right now, I’m wearing a bit of Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer under my eyes, and I also use it to cover blemishes, and then a tiny bit of Nars Pressed Powder in Heat to take out shine. I put that on with an E.L.F. Studio Complexion Brush so it’s very even, light, and less pore-clogging than it would be if I applied it with a sponge. I prefer Nars makeup because it looks light and if I fall asleep with it on, I won’t wake up with breakouts. I also like Nars Exhibit A Blush because it has an orange base, so it warms your whole face up. You have to be careful about how much you put on, otherwise you’ll look like a clown. It took me a few days to figure that out. When I’m on vacation, I like to use Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips, a rose- and almond-oil balm from the UK, on my cheeks as a highlighter. It sort of raises your cheekbones.

For my eyes, when I’m looking sleepy, or if I’m going out at night, I’ll put a little bit of eyeliner on the top, just to give definition. Mascara helps make my eyes look more open, but I can’t be bothered to wear it every day. I’m super lazy. I’ve considered getting eyelash extensions because pretty much everyone I know in LA has them, but I could never sit in a chair for an hour while someone poked me in the eye. In general, it’s quite nice to work in TV, because no one is looking at the writers at work; we can wear whatever we want in the writers’ room.

The better I am with cleansing and exfoliating my face, the less I have to cover up with makeup. It took me years to realize that. If you spend $60 on a good cleanser, you’ll save that much more on getting facials or dealing with blemishes. My skincare routine is super simple. I use Boots No.7 Foaming Cleanser, which I used growing up, and was able to find at Target! It’s really light, but it cleans everything off your face—makeup and all—without stripping moisture. During seasonal weather transitions, I am big on Shiseido White Lucent Toning Lotion to keep my skin-tone from looking patchy. Otherwise, I tone with Cowshed Chamomile Refreshing Toner. Then I moisturize with Cowshed Quinoa Moisturizer, because it’s lightweight but really feels hydrating. And once a week, I use Ren Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish and Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask. The mask takes about ten minutes to dry, then I take it off with a dry cloth. It makes me a more radiant person. For my body, I just use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. It’s a drugstore classic that works year-round. It’s just so good. Even though it’s always warm in Los Angeles, air conditioning dries out your skin, so you still need a decent moisturizer.

When I need a pick-me-up, I spray Level Naturals Eucalyptus Lime Body Mist. I also keep one in my car for when I’m feeling clammy and gross. Bliss Tidy Towels are fantastic for your face when you’re not home, too. I started using them at Lollapalooza, because they were giving them out at our hotel. Now whenever I stay at a W Hotel, I just tip the housekeeper $10 and she gives me a bunch of the room samples.

I keep my hair hydrated with basically all of Moroccan Oil’s products. I like the original Moroccan Oil, and their Restorative Hair Masque is the best. My hairstylist, Brigitte Winslow at Salon Republic, is a hair genius. She taught me how to make my own tea tree oil spray with pure tea tree oil and water—20% oil, 80% water. If I work out first thing in the morning and have to go straight to the office, I’ll just spray the mixture into my roots, and I'm good to go. I’ve been doing it for about eight months, and it's made my scalp feel a lot healthier.

My two fragrances are Tom Ford Black Orchid and Strange Invisible’s Black Rosette. That one is a really distinctive tobacco with a tiny element of patchouli—it smells like an old, smoky cigar bar.

All of my jobs have been rewarding, but in terms of life and work, one of my favorite pieces of advice came from Aaron Sorkin. It’s the K.I.S.S. theory, which stands for "Keep it simple, stupid." It’s something that would get uttered in the [Newsroom] writers’ room every so often. Working on a research-heavy show, you’d wind up with a table full of snippets and news articles, and you really have to pull back and ask yourself, ‘What is the story we’re trying to tell here?’ I try to apply this to other areas of my life, as well. It’s a practice of mindfulness. If you’re feeling super anxious or stressed out, just think about the next thing you have to achieve. Keep it simple. One thing at a time.”

—as told to ITG

Camilla Blackett photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles on October 13, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Hey there

    Great to see a woman of colour who I can identify with - esp wrt lipsticks and haircare.

    You may not get many views from your regulars but you got a new follower from me.

    Diversity and representation!

    • 1Alouette

      Exactly!!!

    • m

      this white girl loved reading it!!!

    • overanalyzer

      Come on now, that's an ugly assumption that ITG won't get many views from its regulars...

      • Eva

        Right? I read every single top shelf without a thought to the person's skin colour, gender, style etc. It is quite presumptuous that ITG regulars would not view this.

        • Sharon Macklin

          I totally agree - I read them ALL.

      • Marie

        I know - That was so uncalled for.

    • Guest

      I agree with you, and totally understand what you are saying here.

      I'm glad that so many readers who are not of color seem to have enjoyed this Top Shelf, but let's be honest: we women of color are NOT the demographic that this blog is trying to reach. OK. One platform can't be all things to all people and I accept that. But it's nice to see them step outside the box every now and again -- something which they do not do very often.

  • Jane T.

    She is lovely -- a good collection of lipstick always makes for a good top shelf. The UK version of Skins was so great because it didn't feel contrived in the way that most shows about teenagers do, and it clearly had lots to do with the writing staff!

    • Tamara

      The UK Skins was one of the best teenage shows ever. I fell instantly in love with it mainly because of the starkly real writing and characters. So she gets my instant admiration for writing for that show, not to mention that her lipstick color choices are so spot on! I like deeper, warmer colors better (and I'm not black, but a fairly pale Indian!) and I find that a lot of people advocate super light pink or really orange tone lipstick colors that would look terrible on me. Mac Russian Red and Rebel are pretty much my favorite shades, and I love her Nars color choices too!

      I'm starting to get emotional again just thinking about Skins... damn it.

  • PeonyandPeach

    New Girl is hilarious, this woman is a genius! And she's British :-D

    http://www.peonyandpeach.blogspot.com

  • Rosalinda

    The biggest reason I love this Top Shelf? Ms. Blackett is not directly from the fashion/glamour/beauty world. And I agree with the first commenter about diversity...great to see!

  • 1Alouette

    I love her! Her skin looks like mine, she has the same taste in lippy (Nars lip pencils all day and all night), I see some coco butter. She is so talented! <33 Always nice to see women of colour on here!

  • Heather

    Great top shelf!! Skin's is such a great show, and it's nice to see a woman of color featured!

  • Jessica Rose

    O.M.G I can't believe you are from Reading.....I,m from round the corner in Maidenhead! I always use Cocoa Butter as well every day. Well done on your new writing gig. x
    http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

  • softy

    "She taught me how to make my own tea tree oil spray with pure tea tree oil and water—20% oil, 80% water."

    can't wait to try this out. i haven't been able to find a dry shampoo that works for me, but this sounds promising!

  • Kerry Lee

    I am right next to Reading - in a small town called Crowthorne! I can't believe it! One of the writers of my favourite show grew up there!!! Gonna go breathe more of that air now LOL

  • Jessica

    I want that rose-tinted Vaseline... Oh how I want it!

  • Samantha

    In love with her.

  • Katherine Clow

    Loved the top shelf of a writer. Very different life than those who constantly need to look good or are in the spotlight -- Great article!

  • hollygoeslightly22

    My father always says K.I.S.S. and I often refer to it when my brain starts going into overdrive.

    Love the tip on the homemade tea tree oil spray.

  • countdowntonewme

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! And, how awesome is it that you write for New Girl? I love that show. It's an absolute must that I wear under eye concealer so thanks for the reminder. I've been slacking on my make up game tremendously.

  • Genevieve

    Great choice for all the reasons other commenters have noted, and I like her beauty tips!

  • Chantel

    Wow what a great article. Thanks for sharing a women of color's story.

  • kathS

    um, she is awesome

  • Gster

    I love New Girl and she is gorgeous! Always looking for good red lipstick recommendations and I'm totally gonna try that mask. This is a great one!

  • Sarita

    I'm more curious about what it was like writing for The Newsroom. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with the show, but I still tune in because when it's good, it's really good!

    On the make-up tip, thank you for the suggestions on what reds to try! I'm always on the lookout, and I don't want to look like a clown with the wrong, chalky-looking color.

  • Rachel

    A photo where she actually wears one of the great lipsticks she talks about would have been nice actually :D Not that she's not super pretty without it. Also, I loved Skins so much!!

  • Marie

    I love this woman.

  • http://thehorticult.com/ The Horticult

    Thank you for introducing us to this rising-star writer! This might be my favorite Top Shelf so far -- the perfect mix of favorite brands and inventive DIY, and I CAN'T AGREE MORE re Black Rosette. It's one of the sexiest, most unusual fragrances I've ever experienced. Smoky cigar bar, yes, but also with a little bit of leather dominatrix.

    • Guest

      I would love to see YOUR Top Shelf. I am a big, big fan of your blog and judging from the photos I've seen of you, your Top Shelf has a really good story to tell.

      • http://thehorticult.com/ The Horticult

        You're putting roses in my cheeks right now, so kind! Thank you for the sweet words and for reading our little gardening gazette :-)

  • Shania

    Gah! I LOVE this top shelf! She's a breath of fresh air and I absolutely adore her beauty choices. It's so British, luxurious, and green! I was surprised to hear she uses Strange Invisible which is like the coolest new brand of perfumes I've discovered, they are a pretty penny but so worth it and their store is now carrying skincare brands that are also sooo gorgeous like YULI. Love that a girl like her is giving attention to these beautiful brands.

  • cinme

    I follow her on twitter. she's funny and cute to boot. I want to be a television writer and as a women of color she's kind of an inspiration (not to get sappy and deep with it).

  • Nicole B.

    I love that tea tree oil spray idea. I think I will have to try that!

  • Shawna

    Great Top Shelf, and she's so right about the bright lipstick making everything better! I work and am a full-time student, and I recently add red lipstick to my eyeliner-and-mascara makeup dash in the morning (Nars Cruella, to be exact.). Made all the difference in the world to my tired face!

  • jang geun gulk

    I didn't hear oil Morccan,what is it? which is your Hair care conditioner?

  • http://www.intotheblush.com/ Kenny

    this is one of the best top shelf I must say!

    xoxo;

    What Kenny Hearts, a Lifestyle Blog by Kenny.

  • Brynn

    Her skin is stunning!! This lady's face seriously needs to be located in the dictionary under the word "glow".

  • Icelander

    Wow, she seems amazing, thank you for introducing me to her! Going over to twitter to follow her right now... Ps. I have the same MAC lippies and love the Nars blushes, am going to check out the cocoa butter, chamomile toner and put tinted vaseline on my cheeks ;)

  • Guest

    Her skin is incredible! SO NICE to (finally!) see a woman of color here. I will definitely check out the lipsticks and the Vaseline Rosy Lips -- never heard of that one before.

    I wish you'd asked her more about her hair. Is it relaxed? If so, I would love to know what products she uses for heat styling.

    "Skins" was excellent TV. I loved the American version, too, and was very disappointed when MTV bowed to pressure and cancelled it. As if "Teen Mom" is so much more culturally enriching...

  • Salz

    I am so happy to see this! I've been dying to see more diversity when it comes to Top Shelves/ITG in general. She is stunning and her career sounds fascinating.

    Russian Red is my go to MAC red as well!

  • Mellow D

    she's so beautiful and inspiring! I love it!

  • morticia

    She's beautiful and smart +talented. OK now i feel more insecure.

  • Kate S

    That last comment - "If you’re feeling super anxious or stressed out, just think about the next thing you have to achieve. Keep it simple. One thing at a time." Thanks, I needed to hear this! I'm gonna go get my shit done now.

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    Wait a minute. As a mixed race woman, I'm going to jump in. The writer clearly stated that 'ITG readers would give this a miss', presumably because it wasn't a rich white girl/French girl/white model-actress? That's projecting a stereotype. It the commenter had simply stated it's nice to see a woman of colour being featured, ITG doesn't showcase many, without the additional comment, yes, I would agree, maybe *some* replies would be guilt based if they jumped to a conclusion based on something that hadn't been written. But they didn't, so I think it's fair that some readers would get upset that they're being stereotyped by another reader based on a feature choice they didn't make. But I think white, black, mixed race commenters don't really, at the end of the day, have much of an impact on ITG's choice of feature woman, period. I read all of the stuff here myself, some I like, some I don't - but it has to do with personality of the person interviewed. Sure, I wish there were more Asian women, Middle Eastern women or other women of colour, but I also wouldn't blame that on ITG readers by assuming they only wanted Lauren Santo Domingo types!

  • Tary

    hahahaha "baking soda and fairy dust"!!! Love your coment! It reflects how I feel with some beauty interviews

  • amelia

    forget the makeup... listen to that resumé! Skins then The Newsroom then New Girl!

  • Anthony

    This was awesome!!

  • DominicanGirl1985

    I am delighted to see a black woman in this article! I am Dominican and loved seeing someone with similar skin tone as mine write about her beauty routine. I know that if it looks good on her it will probably look good one me and I ended up buying 2 lipsticks she recommended. These are colors I would have never tried out on my own because I thought they wouldn’t look good one me; however, after reading this article I decided to try the colors and loved them! I am definitely a new follower of this blog!!

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

MAC
MAC Party Parrot Apfel Collection
NARS
NARS Satin Lip Pencil Yu
NARS
NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil Cruella
NARS
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
NARS
NARS Pressed Powder
elf
Elf Studio Complexion Brush
Vaseline
Vaseline Rosy Lips
Boots No7
Boots Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser
Shiseido
Shiseido 'White Lucent' Brightening Toning Lotion
Cowshed
Cowshed Chamomile Refreshing Toner
Cowshed
Cowshed Quinoa Hydrating Daily Moisturizer
REN
REN Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish
REN
REN 'Invisible Pores' Detox Mask
level naturals
Level Naturals Eucalyptus Lime Body Mist
Palmer's
Palmer's Cocoa Butter
MOROCCANOIL
Moroccan Oil Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Tom Ford
Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau De Parfum
Strange Invisible
Strange Invisible’s Black Rosette
Cosme-De.com
Moroccan Oil Treatment for Hair
NARS
NARS Blush
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