"I’m from Durban, which is directly east of Joey-burg, South Africa, on the coast. It’s kind of like Florida I guess—really flat, tropical climate, palm trees, promenades, and a very, very long coast. Johannesburg is a massive, throbbing city. Really big and tumorous and flat—no nature, no trees. A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I’ve been to South Africa! I’ve been to Johannesburg!' and I’m like man… that’s really not the jewel of the country. [Laughs] The high school I went to is a really old, weird, all-girls private school with hats and a uniform. I got teased loads, because I’m not really a typical South African beauty. I’m freckly and pale and flat chested. So when I got scouted at sixteen—based on like, my prom pictures—I was like ‘no, that’s never gonna happen.’ But stuff kept coming up, and I got signed to an agency, and it ended up just making sense.
Coming from a really strict school where we weren’t allowed to dye our hair or anything, to art school was obviously quite crazy. And then moving to London, and getting into high fashion modeling, I’ve kind of seen a full spectrum of makeup looks. It’s cool—I really love it as kind of a vehicle for self-care. I think it’s a really nice thing that girls have started to be vocal and public about. People are often like, ‘Oh my God, every girl wears too much makeup now,’ but I think it’s cool! And if that makes you feel really pampered and proud of yourself, like you’ve achieved something cool, that’s amazing. I’m so behind that.
On my face, I have this green sunscreen by Eucerin, which is great because it neutralizes the redness. It’s basically an anti-redness day cream for hyper-sensitive skin, and I have rosacea so that’s what I need. I also really think sunscreen is the best primer—it just makes your skin really glow-y and nice. My cleanser is Cetaphil, which is just so pure. Any distilled oils or scrubs really aggravate my skin—I just break out. I only ever use Cetaphil. If it’s really dry in the winter, I’ll use Weleda Skin Food on my cheeks. Then I just use the Mac Pro Longwear Concealer in NC15, and MAC also does a really good mascara. If I don’t wear mascara, I’ll just curl my lashes, and then I’ll do a taupe-y, warm-brown eye with this Kiko Milano in 41. It’s a high-pigment wet-and-dry eyeshadow, and it’s a really good, non-sparkly brown. If I want to make it a really fun look, I’ll do this Kiko Milano white sparkly liquid liner—crazy!
My favorite blush is Etude House. A friend got it for me in Japan, and it’s like a gloss or a stain, and it’s actually quite a true red. I think the secret is to kind of pull the focus to your cheeks by making them redder, instead of trying to flatten and mute the redness. I just really endeavor to blend it properly, because that’s another really important thing about blush. My mom has done stage makeup her whole life, and she taught me that your blush should never go past where the pupil of your eye is—any closer to your nose make it looks a bit silly, so it needs to stay kind of toward the edge of your face. A really blushed look is so good, but it needs to be the right shape, too. Contouring culture has really changed people’s ideas about understanding your own face shape. For me, I think it’s important to go pretty low on my face, because that’s where I naturally blush. And I like blush instead of contouring, because I’m too pale to put any kind of brown on my face. It just looks like a brown streak. [Laughs]
As for my hair, I’ve always cut it myself! And Alex Brownsell dyed it for me. She’s such a legend. She’s done amazing things in this town. My hair was kind of brown before, and I just wanted it to look kind of baby blonde, like it had just grown out a bit. She totally gets that. We didn’t want it to look really perfect or commercial, or like Alexander Wang squad blond either. It’s a good medium between being really natural and really edgy. So yeah, big shoutout to Alex Brownsell."
—as told to ITG
Julia Campbell-Gillies photographed by Tom Newton in London on June 22, 2017.