This weekend marked the New York City premiere of Selma, the highly anticipated film by Ava DuVernay that tells the story of the 1965 voting-rights marches from Selma to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel, and Hosea Williams. The stunning Carmen Ejogo, who portrays Coretta Scott King, looked absolutely radiant on the red carpet, thanks to her chic Vivienne Westwood gown — and, of course, her makeup, which was expertly done by Beau Nelson.
“She has flawless skin,” Nelson says of the actress, who only required a touch of Laura Mercier concealer under the eyes and a light veil of MAC Face and Body Foundation. “I then applied a little bit of Chanel blush in Présage, blending it with a damp sponge, and added a small amount of Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer onto the tops of her cheekbones for an extra glow.”
As for the eyes, Nelson intensified the crease with a taupe shadow, and then applied Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Caviar Ink near the lashline, smudging it slightly. To finish, he pressed NARS lipstick in Anita into her mouth with his fingers. It was the right balance of glamorous and low-key that allowed her natural beauty to take center-stage — especially when paired with that slight bend in her bob, tended to by mane master Lacy Redway.
This easy elegance is true to Ejogo’s off-duty habits: “I don’t think people should be scared to break makeup conventions,” she says. “I often use black mascara for my top lashes and brown on the bottom, for a softer effect.” She cites L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara as a favorite, along with the “easy-to-blend” Chanel cream blushes and Oribe Superfine Strong Hairspray. “Beauty is confidence, charisma, and character,” she says. “Tilda Swinton is my personal beauty icon. I love that she’s confident enough to live by her own definition of beauty.”
It begs mentioning that the best thing about Ejogo — yes, even beyond her love of high-low beauty — is that she’s already proven herself as more than just one of the prettiest faces of the moment. At this premiere, for example, she posed for photos in a T-shirt that read, “I can’t breathe,” standing in support of the protests against police brutality that have recently swept New York City as a result of the death of Eric Garner. It was a strong way to honor a weekend that started with the Millions March.
“When you watch Selma, you can’t help but be struck by the fact that what’s playing on the screen is very much a mirror of what’s been happening on the streets of cities across the country in recent months,” the actress says. “After seeing what was achieved through civil disobedience in 1965, I think audiences will leave feeling excited by what is clearly possible in this moment in time. To bring Coretta Scott King to life, and to be a part of a movie that’s making history, reminds me why I got into acting in the first place: [to seize] the opportunity to explore human nature at its most revealing…and to make films that are powerful enough to effect positive change in the viewer.”
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