Vogue’s April issue celebrates the meteoric rise of Kate Upton, whose athletic, bodacious bikini body has brought a sizzling dose of supermodel sexuality back to the fashion world of late. Now, her winning all-American good looks, which have drawn comparisons to iconic bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow, have won the Florida beauty a new role as the face of Bobbi Brown cosmetics.
Some might say it’s the meeting of two very savvy, social media–focused minds. After all, makeup artist Bobbi Brown’s professional Instagram account boasts an impressive 99,000 followers, while anything Upton posts—from a beach-bound selfie with Mario Testino to a back-of-the-head car ride on the way to a swimwear shoot—racks up “likes” from her 538,000 (and counting) loyal fans.
Here, Vogue sits down with the dynamic duo to find out why Upton—who also stars alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann in Nick Cassavetes's upcoming comedy, The Other Woman—was the obvious choice for the beauty brand's latest campaign, and what role makeup plays in her life when the cameras are switched off.
Kate, have you ever worn Bobbi Brown makeup before?
Yes! My mom used it and my two older sisters used it; it’s been a part of my life ever since I was growing up. My mom always says she knows when she’s found a good product, because all three of her daughters take it! I started out with the concealer and mascara. When you first learn how to do your makeup, it’s very basic, but even now I love wearing the mascara and just a little blush. Bobbi’s makeup is so light, and I’m such a Florida girl, that it just goes along with my lifestyle.
Bobbi, why did Kate make sense to you for the campaign?
Besides being strong and confident, she is really smart. She knows exactly who she is and who her brand is. She told me she called her mom and her sister right away when she found out about [becoming the face of the brand]. She was so excited about doing it! That’s what I love about Kate: She’s a real girl. And she’s not a waif-y supermodel. She was an athlete, so she’s comfortable with her body. She’s really kind of every woman.
You’re associated with a certain kind of bygone supermodel sexiness. What role does makeup play for you as a model—and now also an actress—who is constantly in the spotlight?
Makeup is very important in making me feel either confident or sexy, but it doesn’t define how I feel. I love my body and I love my job, so it’s fun to play around with different looks; makeup helps you do that. But I always find it to be more of a compliment when people call me happy rather than sexy. I am a happy person, and I hope that comes across.
You also have a huge social-media following. How do you manage your image when that many people are watching?
I don’t actually plan out my Instagram posts. If I’m putting up a photo about something funny or interesting in my life, I just post it—whether it’s with makeup or without it. I love the way makeup enhances things, but I am just as comfortable walking around without it. I have gone on social media multiple times without my makeup, but I do think wearing a little bit of concealer or a little blush, even bronzer, can make you feel more confident when you’re posting something for the world to see. I usually go for something light that can bring out your natural beauty.
Social media has moved way beyond just friends-and-family networks; nearly every major business needs to maintain a presence on it these days. Do you feel that your number of Instagram followers played a part in securing the campaign?
Kate: I think it’s just part of the industry now, but I don’t really know if my account had anything to do with it—you’d have to ask Bobbi!
Bobbi: Well, strategically it’s nice, you know, it always is, but it really wasn’t a factor for me. That was just an added bonus. My gut just felt like Kate was spectacular. As far as [our] social media goes, I’m sure I’m going to hear a lot of praise for Kate and also probably a few people saying, Really? We got that with Katie Holmes, our first celebrity campaign. Social media is a great way to find out what people are thinking. Katie was such a big hit, but I also know lots of people are happy I’ve found a blonde!
Kate, what are your go-to products?
I love the Smokey Eye Mascara! I’m a little bit more of a smoky-eye girl than a lip girl. It doesn’t clump, and it gives you just enough of that sexy appeal. And also, like I said, I love their bronzer. Being from Florida, that helps me feel a little healthier!
How do you both feel about this campaign?
Kate: You know, what’s cool about Bobbi is that a lot of campaigns make you feel like makeup is everything, but she really emphasizes that it’s about you and your personal beauty, so it feels like a good fit.
Bobbi: Kate came to the shoot without a stitch of makeup; she is the girl next door, really fresh and the epitome of all-American. She not only represents beauty—although I think all women are beautiful—but she has incredibly good energy. She is happy, she is strong, she is smart, she is open, and she is really versatile. She’s starting to act, she’s a model; she speaks eloquently about confidence and self-esteem, which is really important to me. I think she’ll be a great [role model] for young girls to look up to.
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