Padma Lakshmi Image by: Getty Images
As she launches her M.A.C Cosmetics makeup collaboration, we chatted with TV personality, cook and author Padma Lakshmi.
Padma Lakshmi is an author, actress, television host and executive producer—though her first job title was model. While we wouldn’t define her from that early role, it might explain her love of makeup and beauty. Luckily for us, Lakshmi has released a makeup collaboration with M.A.C Cosmetics and chatted with us about the collection, her beauty DIY tips and even a little bit about food too—because how could we not ask the Top Chef host what her food indulgences are?
How did this collaboration with M.A.C come about?
I've always been a fan of M.A.C products since I was in college—and then certainly as a model I used tons of their products. To me, M.A.C was the company to go to for really rich pigment—especially on my skin where sometimes colours look grey or dull. I'm very excited that the collection is coming out. I think about makeup and colours the same way I think about food—I think about flavours in my head, “what would taste good with this? Should I try a recipe with that?” I was always designing my own dream makeup bag anyway and so I'm happy I had the opportunity to do it.
What was your inspiration for the collection?
I wanted the colours to be super saturated and intense—to look like a Renaissance painting. I wanted whatever colours we ended up with to be rich and to have good return on the skin. To look like they do in the pan. One of the things that was really important to me in designing this collection is that it would look good on everyone.
70s Sunset Eyeshadow Palette, $43.50, maccosmetics.com.
So obviously, you work in the kitchen as well. Do you ever bring products from the kitchen into your beauty routine?
When we were young we used to put egg yolks in our hair. It’s a little gross but it really works. Also, I keep a jar of honey in the shower and once you've cleansed your skin or washed your makeup off you get some honey, and you just slather it all over your face, avoiding the eye area. And then, the best way to explain it is you just to play piano on your face. The honey gets stringy and it suctions the impurities out of your pores. Honey is antibacterial and it's also a smoothing agent. If you’re gross and glutinous like me, when you rinse it off, you can stick your tongue out. It’s a really inexpensive beauty tip that I’ve been using for years.
Speaking of food, do you have any food weaknesses? Things you like to indulge in?
Where shall I start? I think I have a weakness for food in general. I’m very adventurous so I’ll eat anything once. Whenever I travel, the first thing I try to find is where the open air markets are. Whether it’s a spice market in Sri Lanka or a vegetable market in Bali— you learn a lot from going where the local housewives or the local restaurant chefs go. I’ve come back with all kinds of seeds and twigs in my suitcase and it’s one of the joys of travelling.
Bordeauxline/Coffee Eye Pencil, $22.50, maccosmetics.com.
You have a bunch of different projects on the go. Do you have any tips for staying grounded and present with so much going on?
It’s often hard. I travel a lot for work and it's natural that you do get jumbled. One thing I do is I always have incense in my suitcase or a tiny little travel candle. In a very immediate way it just perfumes my luggage but it’s also a familiar smell to me. I’m Indian so the smell of incense has a kind of spiritual connotation to me, so that makes me comforted. I also carry some scarves and sarongs at the bottom of my suitcase and I always throw them over lampshades or the couch or bed in hotel rooms to make it feel more homey. I think that the more that we can do to make ourselves at home in the world wherever we are, the better. I don't want to sit on the hotel couch, I want to sit on my own little shawl that reminds me of home.
There’s been more talk lately of inclusivity with makeup, especially with skin-tone—what’s your take?
If you're somebody like me who has brown skin, most of us who care about makeup and have brown skin are really good at mixing colours—because we’ve had to be. For years when I was growing up as a teenager there wasn't all of this beautiful pigment. I think that we're broadening our horizons about what is traditional, what is beautiful and what is classically beautiful. The world is a bigger place and a smaller place at the same time. More people are traveling, if not themselves, then through the Internet and so we’re exposed to different kinds of beauty, different types of cultural influences. As someone who loves makeup I think that’s really exciting. I grew up with one foot in India and one foot in America, so my beauty ideals were oftentimes a contradiction. I would always have these two kinds of ideals that informed my own thinking about what is beautiful and I think that people are just catching up with that. I think it’s going to be a greater universe for my daughter to play in with her makeup when she grows up.
Powder Blush Duo in Melon Pink, $43.50, maccosmetics.com.
And my final question—after 15 seasons of Top Chef, answer me this: do you have any tips for avoid lipstick smudges while eating?
That's a great question! I’m surprised nobody has asked me yet. The main tip that I have is to open your mouth wider. I know that seems silly but I have learned. I mean, hamburgers are hard but the way I do it with that kind of food is I just allow myself to be messy and then I clean it up right after. And I'm lucky; I have a really good makeup artist on set that jumps in between takes. In my own personal time, I like matte lipsticks better. I’ll line my lips and then I’ll use a classic colour to fill in, and then I’ll blot with a tissue and then I apply the lipstick again. I’ll maybe even run my powder brush over the tissue so it sets the lipstick—it works amazingly well.