Date Posted: Friday 20th September 2019
DIARY directory recently caught up with Mary Greenwell ahead of her involvement with beauty supplement brand IMEDEEN. Mary has featured in publications including Vogue Italia, British Vogue, and American Vogue, in particular working with iconic editors Grace Coddington and Liz Tilberis. She has worked on memorable magazine covers with models such as Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Stephanie Seymour, and Cindy Crawford. DIARY spoke to Mary about her experience in the make-up and beauty industry and her recent involvement with IMEDEEN.
What attracted you to working with IMEDEEN?
The reason why I love working with and using IMEDEEN is because I genuinely believe that what we put into our body is as good as topical stuff. So giving your body the nourishment that it needs for your skin to be able to rejuvenate and illuminate really does help. IMEDEEN is a great product that has been made with a marine complex, rich in proteins and polysaccharides. I first started working with IMEDEEN when Christy Turlington was its sponsor and I’ve actually never stopped. Consequently, I think I’m very blessed to have reasonably good skin, even though we all work so hard and don’t get enough sleep. It’s part of my regime.
What are your top tips for achieving great skin?
Eating and sleeping very well. There has been new research happening that concludes you must have eight hours of sleep a night to maintain optimum health, which is spot on. This is really hard to maintain for most of us as we only manage to have six hours or seven hours of sleep. We live in a city and we are out all the time, it is difficult to be disciplined. I wake up at six every day, even if I’m awake until two I will wake up at six, so I am very aware of getting enough sleep. It doesn’t mean you don’t go out at night, it means you go to bed straight away and don’t watch programmes. I turn the radio on at six o’clock and listen to the amazing news programmes we have in this country. Eating well and sleeping are my two main things but exercising regularly is also important. Every morning I have a little breakfast so I can take my vitamins and in those vitamins will be my IMEDEEN.
As the beauty industry is always evolving, what significant changes have you witnessed in recent years?
So really what happens is that every phase of make-up has been reinvented. All we are doing is reinventing the wheel with make-up, as the face is the face. But what has become quite extraordinary is what I call carnival make-up. With these amazing colours all over the face, it reminds me of a carnival and it is so energetic. That is what I think the next phase in make-up will be and I think it’s an art. It’s not about beauty it’s about putting a stamp on someone’s face. The ones who are good are great. I am old-fashioned beauty school, my time was in the middle of the 80s, so I would be lying to say that I am one of the best at that. I can do it but it’s not my strong point. My strong point is definitely doing beauty.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
My biggest career highlight was meeting Princess Diana. It was an amazing experience; we were working in a studio in East London and didn't know who it was going to be. We were working for British Vogue and were told to look smart; Sam McKnight wore a tie that day. We were told on the day it was going to be Princess Diana. She was so gracious and kind. I recently styled the Duchess of Sussex for Vanity Fair before she announced her engagement. She is so lovely and makes Prince Harry so happy.
What do you look for in brands when you choose to work with them?
I don’t choose the brands, they choose me. I have a very loyal relationship with Chanel and Armani. Those are my two big loyalties. I just did a story the other day using SUQQU in Venice. I have built up good relationships with many brands. I am very blessed that it happens organically over a period of time and suddenly find myself working more and more with each brand. I love Hourglass, I love Fenty, I love Glossier, I love loads of brands. I am really open to brands, I love Surratt, he is wonderful. What is as important in make-up is your choices in skincare, I love 111SKIN and Chanel.
If you could choose anyone to style and any brand to work with, who and what would it be?
I can’t answer that, it’s way too minimal. I’m not signed to one brand and I have loads of brands I love working with.
How has social media changed the beauty industry and the way people view make-up?
I think that social media hasn’t just changed the beauty industry, it’s changed the fashion industry, it’s changed the perception of people. The reason why Lady Gaga has done so well the reason why Kylie Jenner and Fenty, for example, do so well is that their social media presence is so high. This has meant that the more followers you have, the more you can do. It has affected people in a good way and a bad way. We all become insecure with it and anyone who says that they don’t is denying the truth. I was interested when Instagram said that they weren’t going to show likes, but it hasn’t happened. Instagram is the only platform I use, I don’t use Facebook.
What staples would we find in your make-up bag?
Well obviously the staples are everything to do with skin; the foundation and the concealer are really the most staple products for the skin. Then there are eye pallets, as everyone makes such great eye pallets nowadays. So the staples we all use every day are mascara, eye shadow, eye pencils, blush, bronzer, lipsticks, foundation, and concealer. If you have those you’re fine. Now what colours you decide to have is up to you. I use beautiful enhancing products rather than big colour pallets. I only use the same products, I may change my eye shadows, but whether I use the same brand is a different thing. I don’t bother with my brows at all.
What advice would you give somebody trying to break into the make-up and beauty industry, say as a make-up artist?
You have to practice and make sure you’re really good. You can watch video after video on YouTube these days. Make sure that you are ready to be very very determined as you are going against competitive people. You need to have a competitive streak within you. You have to be very strong because you are going to be let down so often, and you are going to have to do the long haul because it is not going to happen overnight. I see my assistants struggling because it is a struggle out there. You have to put the time in. On your way up you have to be really really accommodating and you need to be kind.
What does your average day look like?
If I’m working, I could be anywhere in the world and will get up at 6 am anyway. My average day usually revolves around meetings, I love going to Pilates, which I try doing twice a week. I normally have a work lunch, then an event in the afternoon, then home. If I’m working I can be working from 8am to 8pm, I just don’t know what I’ll be doing.
What obstacles do you think the beauty and make-up industry will have to overcome next?
There are so many new brands it can become quite confusing. The obstacles are simply just making yourself be heard with something slightly different. What I am finding really interesting with new brands is that there is so much organic coming out. I love everyone reverting back to organic.
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