If you needed proof that #Blackgirlmagic is booming, just look at Letitia Wright. Aside from starring as Princess Shuri in Marvel's Black Panther (the modern, badass Black princess we desperately needed on the big screen), the 24-year-old actress's career has skyrocketed since her break-out role. She’s been named one of Hollywood’s rising stars by Teen Vogue and, reportedly, just landed a starring gig in the upcoming Guava Island picture alongside Rihanna and Donald Glover. And now, she can add beauty ambassador to her flourishing list of credentials.
BareMinerals recently tapped Wright to be the face of its new Power of Good campaign, a program focused on clean beauty products, and it's the first major beauty deal for the star. But despite her glamorous new role, Wright's relationship with makeup hasn't always been that glittering. "I didn't always like makeup," she tells Refinery29. "I never liked the idea of sitting through a tutorial or in a chair for full-on makeup each day."
In a social media-driven world where kids are susceptible to the pressure of wearing makeup and changing their appearance, Wright's childhood experience was different. Growing up, the Guyanese-born actress didn't feel the need to wear makeup before she was ready, especially not in her household. "Wearing makeup wasn't an expectation for me growing up," she says. "The most my family did was try to get me out of being a tomboy. I never liked dresses. And now I'm wearing them, everyone [in my family] is like, 'Oh, you like dresses!' But with makeup there was no pressure."
Her family put more emphasis on natural beauty. "Most of the time the women in my family had a natural glow and embraced the Guyanese sun," she says. "That approach empowered me to feel good in my own skin and taught me to not depend on makeup as an adult."
Even though there was no pressure from her family to enhance her appearance, Wright admits that, like most teens, she felt influenced by her peers. "It was easy to feel like I wasn't good enough, or like I had to live up to what everyone else was doing if I wasn't wearing makeup and rushing to look a certain way at a young age. But I am happy I didn't do what everyone else did," she tells us.
As she's gotten older, her beauty routine has blossomed with her career. "Makeup didn't really start growing on me until about two years ago," she says. She credits watching her sister get ready with BareMinerals as her reason for falling in love with the brand. "Her skin always looked really rich and glowed up, and I ended up stealing her makeup to achieve a similar look."
Wright's "glowed up" beauty routine doesn't start with makeup, though. Her first priority is keeping her skin clear, and she relies on a fairly clean regimen to maintain a blemish-free complexion. She uses Kiehl's products to cleanse and exfoliate, then follows up with moringa oil and cocoa butter to stay moisturized. "After my skin care, I use BareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15. I'm shade Neutral Deep 29. I add some mascara, and I'm out of the door. I like to keep things really natural and simple."
While the actress keeps her makeup low-key, she is open to trying more daring looks like the ones you see her famous friend Lupita N'yongo wearing. "Lupita is definitely the makeup plug. If I had to swap makeup bags with anyone, it would definitely be her," she says. Wright relies on her big sister figures in Hollywood, like N'yong'o and Naomie Harris, for valuable advice as she navigates her newfound fame. "I got to sit down and speak with Naomie Harris way before Black Panther even hit," Wright says. "She told me to carry myself in the way I would want people to see me, and that is how I will be received and respected." Wright manifests this confidence on and off screen, making her a real-life heroine.