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10 Minutes with Nars Director Rachel Goodwin

Nars Director, Rachel Goodwin. Courtesy of Nars.

When your role is to fortify the vision of beauty legend François Nars, at his eponymous brand, you know you must be at the top of your game. Having recently joined Nars earlier this year as the brand’s Director of PRO Artistry and Red Carpet for North America, Rachel Goodwin shares her rise to beauty stardom.

How did you get into the world of beauty?
I began my journey in my early 20s as an artist at a Shiseido makeup counter in downtown San Francisco. That job led me to work for many other companies including Makeup Forever and MAC until I took the leap, moved to New York, and began working in fashion as an assistant to artists like Linda Cantello, Mark Carrasquillo, and James Kaliardos.

What was the defining moment in your career?
I’ve had many different ones over the years. It’s hard to say which one is the defining moment, but the first time I did a photoshoot with Natalie Portman was a big turning point. I remember we flew to a small Island in French Polynesia I’d never heard of, I had never met Natalie or worked with Gilles Bensimon, the photographer, before. Here I was, on this tiny island in the middle of nowhere with all these new people. I was so nervous! It turned out to be the most spectacular trip! We all bonded right away and ended up having the best time ever. I still get really happy when I see the photos.

Who is your biggest inspiration in the world of beauty?
For me, it’s always been Serge Lutens. I remember seeing his work in Dior beauty ads when I was a little girl, my mother would try and recreate his looks on herself and I would sit and watch in awe. Then when I worked at Shiseido, all the imagery at the time was created by him. It’s as though his work was quietly guiding me to become a makeup artist. The world he creates makes me dream bigger.

Why did you choose to come work with Nars?
Nars is a brand I’ve loved since the very beginning. I was always a huge fan of François’ work as an artist, so when he created his own collection I was first in line. I was lucky enough to be chosen by Nars, I believe, to be an extension of his artistic vision for the brand, which is very much aligned with my own. We both embrace color and expression in the way we use makeup. We both love interesting, bold women with an innate sense of who they are. His brand is ultimately about authenticity, so when I was approached by them for this role, it was my artist dream come true.

What is your history with Nars?
I remember when Nars was a brand new line. I was living in New York and was a young, up-and-coming artist. I couldn’t wait to experiment with the colors and see what he had created. The thing that I remember most was the lip color Schiap. It was a time when neutrals ruled the world and that vivid color felt like a breath of fresh air, totally irreverent. It was love at first sight.

Do you have a particular collaboration you love?
I adored the Andy Warhol collection so much it was just so fun, as well as the Guy Bourdin blush palette. That was just perfection.

In your opinion who is the Nars woman?
A woman who loves herself and loves to use makeup as a form of expression.

You work with a lot of celebrities. What is key to the perfect red carpet look?
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to red carpet makeup. Every experience and every woman are totally unique, and I suppose that what sets me apart is that I approach each red carpet moment as if it were an editorial. Everyone has a role they play in making it a timeless look. Hair, makeup, and styling have to work together to make sure it has a lasting, timeless quality and is not just about a trend. I consider the bigger picture in every choice I make as a makeup artist. I want my clients to look back in 10 or 20 years and still love the way they looked.

Who has been your favorite client to work with?
I am so lucky to have the best women in the world as clients. I have been working with Emma Stone for over a decade and Brie Larson, Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta, and Diane Lane, for many years as well. They are all just incredible human beings. The thing they have in common is that they are all women of character. Not just pretty faces. For me, it’s very important to work with women I look up to and admire.

You’ve also worked on editorial shoots. What has been your experience here?
I love editorial, it’s how I keep my sense of play. I get to explore different photographers’ visions and bring them to life. I live for the collaborative process. It’s my favorite part of my job.

What is your top beauty trend for Fall ’17?
I’m really feeling earthy reds like brick and mulberry and muted magenta for lips. Not as extreme and dark as we’ve seen in previous fall seasons – much more wearable and harmonious with the skin. I also see skin getting more refined and sophisticated. I feel like there will be a return to real looking skin with much less focus on intense highlighting and contouring. I also see an emphasis on jewel-tone colors like emerald green and sapphire blue. Deep vibrant shades for eyes and lashes.

Do you have any advice for aspiring makeup artists?
Stay true to your vision. It’s so important to have a strong point of view as an artist. It’s the only thing that sets you apart from the rest.

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