This really has very little to do with beauty and a lot to do with the feelings a teen heartthrob elicits in a full-grown and not particularly celeb-obsessed (and definitely not boy-crazy) woman. That woman is me, and that teen heartthrob is none other than 19-year-old One Direction frontman Harry Styles. Based on the way everyone’s eyes at ITG HQ lit up when I told them this story, I’m going to tell you, too. If it gets boring, or you just really want the beauty angle, then I’ll skip ahead to that part now, so you can stop reading: when I asked him about his beauty routine, he said, “Well, I wash,” and that he’s a fan of Bumble Surf Spray. So, there you go.
Last Sunday, when I was in London for fashion week, my friend put me on the list for a party to celebrate jeweler Dominic Jones’ fall collection, which was taking place at a club called The Box in SoHo. Said friend actually bailed, but Leandra and I were feeling frisky after an inspiring dinner with Imran from Business of Fashion, so we decided to check out the party.
No line, no pandemonium—or paparazzi—outside. We check our coats, walk upstairs, swing open some double doors, and are confronted by none other than Harry-goddamn-Styles standing on a little stage, DJ-ing. I say ‘confronted’ because the room was small, with maybe 50 people in it, and he looked right at us. Into our eyes; straight through to our souls. “WHOA whoa whoa,” I swing around to Leandra, my eyes wide. “That’s HARRY STYLES!!!” “No way,” she says. And it really does seem weird, because nobody in the club seems to give a shit whether or not it is Harry Styles—the guy had no audience—and honestly, it’s weird that I even care. (I don’t listen to One Direction. I think maybe I noticed him because he was so attractive? Like, really tall, and actually sexy—but can I call a nineteen-year-old sexy?? Is that bad?) Anywho, Leandra, in a pair of overalls and me in a weird Abominable Snowman ensemble, curl up in a booth and proceed to try and figure out if it is, indeed, Harry without having to ask someone and risk looking like a couple of American ding-dongs. “ Rita Ora & Harry Styles dj’ing at The Box!” reads a tweet in my feed, but seeing as though the blonde onstage is definitely Chelsea Leyland and not Rita Ora, we can't trust Twitter. Meanwhile, call us crazy, Harry keeps looking over— I think at Leandra. I mean, overalls…who knew?
After about an hour of doing the ‘seat boogie’—you know, that thing when you really should stand up to dance but can’t commit—and nursing a couple of weak specialty cocktails, we spy Maybe-Harry in the crowd. This is my moment, I think. I must ask him what he does to his hair. And as I make my way across the room like a shark in shallow water, I also think, This is definitely why celebrities have bodyguards. Yep.
“Excuse me, Harry?” I kind of do the touch-on-the-arm thing even though I know that’s totally against some code of personal-space/celeb-interview conduct.
“Oh, hi there.”
“Hiiiii. I’m so sorry to bother you [not really], but I have a beauty website called Into The Gloss, and I was wondering if I could ask you about your approach to beauty?”
“My what?” he shouts over the music.
“TELL ME ABOUT YOUR APPROACH TO BEAUTY.”
“Ha…well, I wash.” He laughs. We’re onto something. “I don’t really don’t know what you want me to say...”
“What do you do to your hair?”
“I just wash it. But then I have to put stuff in it, because if it’s too clean, it just…doesn’t do anything.”
“I totally get that—HAHAHAHA. So what are your favorite products for hair?”
“Bumble salt spray.”
“How about skincare? Do you do anything? Do you moisturize?” Do you moisturize?! Get it together, Weiss.
“Yeah, Alphate…just Alphate.”
“Oh yeah? Cool.” I have no clue what Alphate—Alfate?—is.
“Lovely to see you…”
And just like that, he starts to turn around. “Oh, sorry, sorry—Harry, can I just take a quick photo for the site?” He says sure, and takes a minute to do this adorable head-flip, hands-in-the-hair shake thing, to make sure his coif is in top form for lil’ ol’ ITG. How cute is that. I take out my trusty Canon S-100 point-and-shoot, turn it on, press the shutter…and...the flash doesn’t go off. I look at the photo—it’s blurry. My eyes are frantic.
“Oh, wait! Sorry, can I just…” But it’s too late—he’s already walked away. (Note: something I sort of had learned already but confirmed that night with Harry is that with celebrities, you get one shot. Like, literally, one picture, and then they walk away. There’s no, “Oh, does that one work? Good!!!” None of that.)
“Did you do it?! How’d it go?” Leandra asks.
“FUCK. Fuck fuck fuck. My flash didn’t go off.” I shakily show her the picture.
“Oh, you gotta get another one.”
I really did. So, I change the camera settings, make sure everything’s in order, pack up my pride, and go off to find Harry once again. And I can’t even tell you what I said or how I explained why I needed another picture because all I can remember is that his friend grabbed the camera out of my hands, pushed me over to Harry, and said, “Come on, let’s get you together!” Harry puts his arm around my waist and pulls me close. SNAP. No flash.
“Oh, it’s great!” the friend exclaims, and I can tell he’s lying. He chucks me the camera, grabs Styles, and walks away.
The outcome? I am now the proud owner of one Impressionist-style candid portrait of Harry Styles at a London club, and one photo of some guy who could maybe pass for Harry Styles, pressed up against a girl whose nickname might as well be “Sideboob Sally” (me).
I hope you enjoy them.
Harry Styles photographed (barely) by Emily Weiss at The Box in London on February 17th, 2012.