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Influential makeup artist Pat McGrath ‘delighted and humbled’ to be made dame

Pat McGrath (Steven Pan/PA)
Pat McGrath (Steven Pan/PA)

Pat McGrath has said she is “delighted and humbled” to be made a dame for services to the fashion and beauty industry and diversity.

Described by Vogue as the most influential makeup artist in the world, McGrath has created the looks for hundreds of magazine covers, advertising campaigns and catwalk shows.

Raised in Northampton by her mother Jean, who was born in Jamaica, McGrath, 50, said it was her influence that sparked her passion for beauty.

Pat McGrath (Ben Hassett)

Her mother encouraged her to experiment with makeup and mix her own shades, at a time when women of colour were not served by beauty brands.

Famed for her bold, other-worldly looks and widely acknowledged as the most prolific catwalk makeup artist of all time, she has designed the make up for around 80 major shows a year and has made up the faces of A list stars such as Kim Kardashian West, Naomi Campbell and Rihanna.

She also has an eponymous makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, which is stocked in Selfridges and sold by high-end fashion e-retailer Net-a-Porter.

She told the PA news agency: “I am truly delighted and humbled to be given this wonderful honour.

“My mother’s obsession with beauty and fashion ignited my passion for this amazing industry and I feel blessed to have the privilege of working with some of the most extraordinary people throughout my career.

“Colour across the spectrum is my life’s work and inspiration and I celebrate individuality particularly with my brand Pat McGrath Labs, so I am especially honoured that this award is also for diversity.

“I believe that with creativity and resilience there can be abundant possibilities and that is certainly true today with this award.”

In 2019, McGrath told British Vogue: “My mother really was not going to let a lack of availability of makeup for dark skin in Northampton stop her from having fun.

“Every Friday she would drag me out to the shops and we would get the one or two darker shade foundations that were left.

“Then we’d go and rummage through the fabric section and get remnants.

“She would always be saying to me, ‘look for the colours’, and she showed me how to pick out colours in fabrics and then reflect that in your makeup.

“She hothoused me into this career, really! But my mother would do a full makeup look every day.”

McGrath has previously said she got her big break while waiting for Spandau Ballet outside BBC Radio 1 in London, where presenter Janice Long spotted her makeup look and asked her to recreate it on her.

She told The Guardian in 2017: “I didn’t even know that was a job.

“She said it was, so I went home that night knowing what I was going to do with my life.”

She moved to London and started doing the make up for Soul II Soul and was soon working for the Face and i-D, she met then-fashion director Edward Enninful, who is now the editor of British Vogue.

The pair are now close friends and Enninful has appointed her beauty editor-at-large of the UK glossy magazine.

In 2019 she was included in Time’s 100 most influential people list.

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