Empress Of, Musician


“I’m getting ready to go on tour to support my fourth album, For Your Consideration. I think it’s sonically one of my most fun records. Heartbreak and relationships were major inspirations for my last albums, but this one is so flirty and sexy and makes me feel good in my body. It’s the perfect single-era album; I feel hot when I listen to it. You’re going to want to put it on when you’re doing your makeup.

Getting ready is really meditative for me. I like the stillness of it before the chaos, especially now that I’m going to more events and red carpets as an artist. If I have the luxury of taking my time, I have a playlist that’s six hours long and filled with music that pumps me up. It has a ton of bops from people like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Kate Bush.

I’ve definitely gotten better at doing my own looks since I don’t always have a makeup artist on tour with me. I’ve learned so much from TikTok and Instagram. It’s a creative process. I love asking myself who I want to be that night, but the goal is always to feel more confident when I’m on stage.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from watching makeup artists—I love working with Nick Lennon, Alexandra French, and Marla Vazquez—is that skin prep is so important. When I’m getting ready for the night, I start off with The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. It feels good on my skin, but I also like it because of the price point; it’s just under $10. I really like the Osea Essential Hydrating Oil because it’s really light and actually absorbs into the skin. It smells really nice, kind of sweet and fruity. And the Osea Ocean Eye Serum is great, too. The Augustinus Bader Cream is painfully expensive but very worth the investment. When I run out, I try to convince myself to use other moisturizers, but then they never live up to it. It’s just very hydrating and calming for my skin. It sinks in well—but I really hate spending $300 on it.

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I’m just so happy to have nailed one makeup look that I keep doing it over and over again—a little bit of contour on my cheeks, forehead, and nose, and a snatched, chocolate-y eye look. I started using Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer because it makes colors pop more on stage, not to mention I’m constantly moving and sweating. I love Urban Decay’s Naked3 Palette, too. I actually use the darkest color to line my eyes. The MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D Mascara is another classic. I like a messy, 60s mascara look sometimes, and I can really get that look with it because the wand picks up a lot of product.

If Armani ever reads this, please sponsor me. [Laughs] I love their Luminous Silk Foundation. It’s so good. I’ve heard from some makeup artists that foundation is really skin-dependent, and this one has really worked for me for years. I use shade 9.

The Charlotte Tilbury Glow Cream Bronzer in 2 Medium is the best in the game. I see it in every makeup artist’s kit. It’s so subtle and very pretty. I contour with the Fenty Beauty Contour Match Stix in Mocha. It’s so easy to make lines with them, especially around the nose.

All of Rare Beauty’s products are sick, but I keep buying the Melting Cream Blush in Nearly Berry. It’s so pigmented and it’s a fun size, so you can carry it in your purse and just use your finger to dab it on your cheeks when you need a re-up. Ilia’s DayLite Highlighting Powder in Decades is so great for the edge of the nose and cheekbones. It’s just slightly shimmery, so it’s not at all overwhelming. And red lips make me feel really good. I love combining NARS Lip Liner in African Queen and NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in 414 BLKR. I set everything with the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. It blurs everything in a really pretty and natural way.

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I usually put extensions in my hair when I play a lot of shows. They really add to the drama—and it’s great to have hair to whip around. Antoine Martinez does my hair sometimes, and I’m nowhere near as good as he is, but I put in my own extensions now. I just try to imitate what he does. Then I go in with my Hot Tools ¾” 24K Gold Curling Iron. I like using EcoStyler’s Olive Oil Styling Gel to tame the top of my head because I don’t like big, frizzy, curly hair. I was actually really surprised when I saw that my stylist was using it because it’s like $4, but hey, if it works, it works.

When I’m getting ready, I love lighting Astier de Villate’s Palais de Tokyo Incense. That’s such a ‘me moment,’ and it makes my place smell like a really nice hotel lobby, which makes me feel luxurious. I get so many compliments when I wear Debaser from D.S. & Durga. It has coconut milk, iris, and bergamot. The brand describes it as ‘hot, humid, and sexy,’ kind of like my album. [Laughs] I layer it with my Nuxe Dry Oil. I had seen it on so many people’s dressers, and I finally bought it when I played a show in Paris. It’s a classic, and the older I get the more that I want classic products. I mean, I won’t wear Chanel. No. 5, but I do like the idea of it.”

—As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Brittany Bravo in Los Angeles on March 15, 2024