'I was scouted working at the register at McDonald’s in Melbourne, Australia. I worked there as my first job, and a guy walked in and gave me his card. I was 16. I was skeptical, but I looked it up when I got home and it was legitimate. I moved to New York three years ago and moved over to The Society last year. They’re like family—they believe in me and this whole thing, so when something comes up like Vogue or now that I'm the face of Make Up For Ever, they get so excited. They’re also looking at what’s happening in culture, and that’s very important to me too. This is not just a modeling career...it’s a cultural movement.
When I was first modeling, I started picking up things when it comes to makeup application, like what kind of brushes you use and why. Makeup is a very delicate thing for me—I’ve got sort of defined features, so I don’t like to do too much contour as it can be a bit severe. But I just love it, especially for bringing out my cheekbones and my eyes. Recently, I was getting a tutorial with Make Up For Ever, and their artists taught me how to do a contour that’s natural-looking and how to make my eyes look bigger. They're deep-set, so I like to make them more pronounced. Make Up For Ever's Artist Shadows are amazing for that. I’ll put a shimmer on top of the eyelid or a cream eyeliner on the inside. If I’m contouring the crease, I’ll use a very light shadow and take it a bit higher. Sometimes I like to make my chin a little less square, so I’ll do light foundation at a point and then a darker one on the corners—contouring, again. I do it with the Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation mixed with a little Face & Body Liquid Makeup. The HD Foundation really is perfect. I’ve converted to that. You can apply powder on top of it if you want.
But it's also really important to me to have great skin. My skincare specialist, Fabricio Ormonde at Gotham Plastic Surgery , has me on a really great skincare routine, but I've been following Paula’s Choice since I was a teenager. I read The Original Beauty Bible when I was 16, and it changed my life. It's a good brand, no gimmicks. I use their Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum—but not every day because retinol is strong—and their Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner and Resist Perfectly Balanced Cleanser. When I don't use the retinol serum, I use Innovative Skincare's Hydra-Cool Serum. Then I use EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40. At 16, I read about sun damage and stopped tanning. My mom’s always like, 'If you’re not tan, you don’t look healthy,' and in Aussie culture, too—it’s all about tanning. But I resisted, put on a lot of sunscreen, and tried not expose myself to the sun.
I do have to thank my mother for my eyebrows. I also have a great guy, Brows by Sebastian, in New York. He’s an eyebrow artist. He’ll look at your face and see what’s wanting—but it’s all about plucking. I use the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow, brush them up a tiny bit, and then gel them. I’ll do a little mascara after that. I do like big eyelashes, combed through—not so much the spidery look. I could be better at applying liquid liner for sure, but Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner is really good. It makes it easier because the brush is thin, and I like to apply a very even line. When I apply too much, it can make my eyes look small. For lips, I like to prep them with Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30. For color, the Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss is amazing. They’re almost like a liquid lipstick. I don’t like lip glosses because your hair gets stuck in them, but these last forever. I like 208P Pearly Lilac Pink in particular.
I style myself, for the most part. I have fun with it. I did the jeans and t-shirt thing for a while. I think it’s cool, but everybody grows up. Now, I want to have a very particular style, a more classic aesthetic. It’s very flattering and makes me feel chic and feminine. I went through a rock 'n' roll phase, a grungy phase, and now I just want to do chic. All models go through stages, and although my stages have been a bit unique—I’ve done really cool, avant-garde stuff, and I’m happy to do whatever—I do want to progress and prove that I can do what any female model can and be a good spokesperson for a brand. I have a lot I can contribute to women and their concept of beauty, their standing. It’s exciting—it’s always a learning process for sure, but I think I have some good stuff up my sleeve.”
—as told to ITG
Andreja Pejić photographed by Tom Newton on June 19, 2015. Read about how Neelam Gill went from Burberry exclusive to Kanye West protégé in The Face.