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Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Camille Thompson moved to Queens, New York when she was 10 and from an early age discovered her love for creating art, and specifically for using a face as a canvas. Thompson began painting faces as a teen, but not the kind of full-glam looks she does on the likes of Iman, Maisie Williams, MJ Rodriguez, and other celebrity clients today. Back then, she assisted her aunt who was a professional clown, and would paint children’s faces at events to earn an allowance. While she looks back on those memories with fondness, Thompson’s work is now defined by red carpet beauty moments rather than backyard birthday parties. She largely credits Roberta Flack for kickstarting her career, as she spent six years doing the music legend’s makeup on tour. Since then, her portfolio has expanded to include editorial, TV, and celebrity work. Her makeup often focuses on the eyes, from smokey shadows to bold emerald lids, but the New York-based artist is also known to throw in a classic red lip, too.
Here, she speaks with CR about what she’s learned from Iman, the importance of diversity, and why she wants a Met Gala redo.
You’ve worked with a whole range of clients across ages and races. How have you seen representation change in your career?
“Being a woman of color in this industry, I am [often] pushed for jobs that are just for women of color. And that’s amazing that I can be that beacon that can provide that skill, but it’s also pigeonholing me into just one arena. Most of my peers that are Black artists get pitched for those same clients, so it makes for a very competitive environment. [It’s] unfair, because I’ve worked with every walk of life and could put makeup on any person–from white to Black and all the shades in between. I want that diversity and I’m really blessed to have such a wide range of clients. Hopefully brands are going to pull up for change and give opportunities to people of color that are really talented, because it should have been happening a long time ago.”
As someone who considers themself a native New Yorker, has that identity influenced your approach to beauty?
“I feel like I have an advantage over other artists being a native New Yorker because we live in such a heavily populated place that you can walk down the street and see culture and fashion anywhere that you look. You could live here all your life and there’s always something new that’s emerging that you want to discover. Living in an environment like this, it really sparks creativity and keeps you on your toes.”
What have you learned from working with Iman?
“I should not dumb down my worth and to stand strong in my position as an artist. She really is an empowering woman. Like if I tell her, ‘Iman, I want to work on some editorials with you,’ she listens, and that is so motivating just knowing that you have a client that is also reciprocating your needs. That’s really hard to come across, so I love working with her. She’s epic.”
MJ Rodriguez is another one of your regular clients. Do you have a favorite look you’ve done on her?
“I did her makeup for the Pride parade last summer. That was my favorite look on her because it was so high fashion. I used Pat McGrath products, which I’m obsessed with. We did so many different colors on her eyes and her skin was just flawless. I also love the look we did for the Met Gala on her. At first I was second guessing myself because I thought I could have gone a little bit stronger with her makeup, but her dress was the focus so I stayed within my aesthetic, which is very clean, luminous skin that looks very youthful. It’s important to understand your client. You don’t want to overdo it, because then it could read the wrong way. I thought that keeping it simple was better, but I hope she gets invited to the Met Gala again, and we can revisit other looks because I’m ready to step it up.”
What are you favorite products in your kit?
“Some of my favorite makeup products definitely come from Pat McGrath. I love her foundation cause it just looks so skin-like, and her Balm Duo highlighter. I love Tom Ford’s contour palette, the cream ones are so nice, too. I like it because there’s a diverse range. I don’t like to support brands that don’t have a diverse line of color for everyone. If your line stops short at a certain complexion, it doesn’t cater to everyone, I won’t put it in my kit.”
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createdAt:Fri, 26 Jun 2020 15:40:54 +0000