5 Minutes with Rihanna on VIVA GLAM

Why did you decide to work with M·A·C and VIVA GLAM?

I’ve always been drawn to M·A·C because it isn’t a judgmental brand and I relate to that because I don’t consider myself judgmental. We both love having fun and we’re not ashamed of that. We’re not afraid to talk about sex and we want to encourage young people to be safe. HIV/AIDS is something that can be avoided. I think people just have to be aware of that. Nobody is protected from it. There’s not any religion or any culture or any race or any generation that cannot get AIDS or HIV. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves and get tested to know our status, and spread the word.

2. Why HIV/AIDS? And why are you focusing on young people?

HIV/AIDS has been a big epidemic for my generation– it’s been around for as long as I’ve been alive. Nearly half of the new people infected are 24 years old and under, and most of them are females. As a young female I think it’s important that young people know there’s nothing wrong with having fun, nobody is telling us to be square or be boring, but we have to be safe. Young people, we have this thing about us, this invincibility, because we’re young and we’re growing up and we want to have fun, and we want to be crazy, and nothing’s wrong with that unless you’re not being responsible. It’s important for us to open our eyes and take control of our health and our bodies.

I wanted to lend my voice to create something that would truly make a difference. With M·A·C VIVA GLAM, every penny of the cost of the lipstick goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund, which directly goes to people who are affected by HIV and AIDS around the world. To-date the M·A·C AIDS Fund has raised more than $315 million USD…that’s a lot of lipsticks.

3. How do you suggest people start educating themselves, especially in those countries that don’t speak much about HIV/AIDS?

I think that one of the biggest ways to increase awareness right now on any topic of course is via social media, word of mouth, getting into the communities and really speaking to people. But it starts with you. It starts with your personal status, it starts with your efforts and what are you doing to protect yourself, and what are you doing to protect others, even if you are infected. We all have to readjust our thinking. It’s hard to imagine, but we cant think of HIV/AIDS as being somebody else’s story. It could be any of ours.

4. You started out working with M·A·C as its first ever Creative Partner and created several collections. Did you know then that you were going to be the next VIVA GLAM spokesperson?

After the success of the RiRi Woo and really the reactions to all my lipsticks, we started talking about doing VIVA GLAM. It made so much sense. We thought, if these lipsticks were so successful, imagine how much we could help people with HIV and AIDS. The stars were certainly aligned.

5. How is VIVA GLAM Rihanna different from RiRi Woo?

RiRi Woo was the very first product I created in my partnership with M·A·C– it’s a true matte red. Since my fans really loved it, and I know that women love red lips right now, I knew I wanted create do something in that red tone and just upgrade it a bit. So for VIVA GLAM Rihanna, I added a little bit of frost, so the texture is more shiny- not as matte as RiRi Woo. And because 100 percent of the sales price goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund, it was very important that this lipstick could work on many different complexions. At M·A·C we like to say, buy a lipstick, save a life.

6. Why is lipstick your favorite makeup product?

To me makeup is a major accessory. It can change an outfit, it can make the outfit, it can be the outfit, and that’s why I like to play with it. Lipstick can glam up a whole look– especially in red.

How to: smoky eyes

Practice, it’s said, makes perfect, but honest to goodness I have tried and tried to “do” smoky eyes and every time I end up looking like I’ve gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. As embarrassing as it is to admit at the age of 41 that I still don’t know how to pull off one of the beauty world’s essential looks, since “coming out” I’ve found I’m not alone.

A quick phone call to Bobbi Brown and some rather excited emails and myself and three girlfriends, Kate Snushall, Pip Patterson and Sarah Bothamley, are gathered at the brand’s gorgeous store in Auckland’s Britomart, to once and for all banish our smoky eye demons.

Each of us is paired with a Bobbi Brown make-up artist. Kate admits she doesn’t spend much time doing her make-up, so she is being shown how to create a smoky eye using just a cream eyeshadow stick and a gel eyeliner and then smudging it out.

“Just remember to keep it as dark at the lash line as you can get it, for maximum definition,” says Kate’s make-up artist, Rachel Beedel.

We’re told the key to the smoky eye here is to join the lower and upper shadow together at the outer corner of the eye. My colour is done with Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Bronze ($57).

“I’m going in,” says Sarah as she plants herself in front of the mirror armed with a brush. “Ooh, it’s a bit wonky,” she declares after a few seconds. Senior artist Sarahlee Russell leaps in: “Just blend it, blend it, keep blending it,” she advises.

Now it’s time for the all-crucial eyeliner. “I just don’t know how to use it, I’ve tried so many times,” admits Pip. Rather than painting on one long stroke of eyeliner, Pip’s make-up artist, Christina Dellar, shows her how to apply small strokes, which leave less room for telltale shakiness and mistakes, and then blend the line till it looks how she wants it. “Where there’s a lash, there’s a line,” she adds. “Don’t stop till you get to the edge of your lash line. Then look in the mirror and fill in any gaps.”

I am in the hands of the wonderful Natalie Wallach, who applies Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink ($52) close to the lash line of my upper eyelid. “It doesn’t have to be perfect,” she says, “because you’re going to blend it.” She shows me that I should be blending the line upwards not outwards as I’ve always done. This helps to give a nice wash of smokiness and also avoids dark pigment pooling at the edges of eyes. We line along the bottom eyelashes with the Gel Eyeliner and Natalie uses a cotton bud to go along afterwards to correct the shape and blend it out.

At this point the artists teach us how to use a liner along the water line of our eyes. Not everyone will be comfortable doing this, but it definitely amplifies intensity. For the upper lid, you need to look straight into a mirror and slightly down. Put your arm over your head and use your fingers to pull your eyelid up; this will expose the underside of your lash line, then apply your liner along here. On the bottom, use your fingers to gently pull the lid down, then apply liner along the exposed inner lash line. The look is finished with Bobbi Brown’s new Smoky Eye Mascara ($57), which can be layered up for greater va-voom.

The final verdict? “Wo-oow,” say all of the ladies as we take in each other’s looks.