The Vivienne on long-lasting make-up, working with RuPaul and her 99p beauty hack

'I'm a whore for highlighters'

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes
(Image credit: BBC Pictures / Leigh Kelly)

'I'm a whore for highlighters'

Welcome to Beauty Bytes: a place where I chat to celebrities about all things beauty – from their favourite products, to their biggest beauty disasters. Plus I grill them on everything from their social media habits to their all-time favourite meals. You know, all the important and essential things that we need to know about. Don't know about you, but we were obsessed with RuPaul's Drag Race UK, so we couldn't wait to sit down with The UK's first Drag Race Superstar, Liverpool's very own The Vivienne. Start your engines and get ready for a chat about long-lasting make-up, TV binges and the beauty product she's 'borrowed' from one of the other queens.

LA: How has it been since the show finished? Have you slept?!

TV: Brilliant. Crazy. Mental. No, not at all. Been home around three times.

LA: None of us realised until the reunion episode that you didn't actually find out you'd won until way after filming the show, did you?

TV: No, not until the minute everyone else found out. It's surreal!

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes

Credit: BBC Pictures
(Image credit: BBC Pictures)

LA: What's the worst beauty trend you've ever tried?

TV: That I’ve ever attempted or just witnessed? I’m a bit more savvy to realise that something’s stupid before trying it, do you know what I mean? I’ve done some weird shit, like dermarolling with all the needles, laser lypo, all weird stuff. I’ll try anything!

LA: What about that you've witnessed?

TV: People drawing on upside down eyebrows and unibrows, drawing on a really thick monobrow. I’m like, wow.

LA: Sharpie style?

TV: Yeah!

LA: What is the best beauty product recommendation you’ve ever received?

TV: Botox! Botox and fillers.

LA: Ha, honest!

TV: I mean, why not? There’s a really good cream that I use from Japan, it’s literally the best skin cream I’ve ever used. It’s by Hada Labo Tokyo. It’s so good, they sent me like a little PR package and there's a hyaluronic acid, collagen and retinol, the cream and then there’s the eye cream. It’s brilliant.

LA: What’s in your make-up bag or kit at the minute?

TV: Oh my God, everything that’s ever been made. A lot of highlighters, I’m a whore for highlighters. Doll Beauty ones are really good at the minute, Jeffree Star, and my favourite foundation that I’ve been using since day one, so 12 years of using the Kyrolan TV Paint Stick. Full coverage, no good for real women but perfect for drag queens!

LA: It’s gonna stay on.

Kryolan TV Paint Stick, £17.20, Just My Look

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes Kryolan TV Paint Stick

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TV: I actually set it with baby powder. I’ve done that since day one as well, which is just an old drag queen trick. Cos [the foundation] is so thick and greasy, if you were using a good high-end powder then you’d be using at least a pot a week. So a good 99p job is baby powder!

L: Nice and affordable. When you’re going through it you need something that’s not that expensive.

TV: Yeah, and it works the exact same. If you look at the ingredients the main ingredient in a face powder is talc, so why not?

LA: What would you say are your top tips for making your make-up last?

TV: Everyone’s always said to me for years that my make-up does not move from the minute I put it on to the end of the night. It does not move. I think making sure that your foundation is super set [is important], because I think if you put eyeshadow on top of something that’s suddenly going to start creaming up again throughout the night, that’s when it’ll suck the colour out of the eyeshadows and blushers. So I think that you need to make sure – especially with drag make-up but it applies to normal foundation as well – that you set it really well and use a good setting spray. I like to put a setting spray on before, rub it into my skin, use a good primer, then put my face on and set it all again at the end.

L: A little cheat there, like it. If your house was on fire and you had to save a beauty product, what would you grab?

TV: Just one? Foundation and a contour palette, you can get away with just that.

L: Good ones. How do you look after your skin, do you have a day and night-time routine?

TV: I'd like to say yes but no, I am crap with my [skincare]. If I remember to do it I feel lovely, but usually at the end of the night if I’m too drunk to remember to take it off then I just use the pillow in the hotel and that’ll do the work through the night! But if I do remember, then a good old Johnson’s, I think the Johnson’s baby wipes are the best, although I shouldn’t say that because they’re bad for the environment. But I have actually just started using the reusable pads, they look like a big powder puff and you can use them with coconut oil and stuff. So, coconut oil to take my make-up off and then my Hada Labo.

Hada Labo Tokyo Skin Plumping Gel Cream, £19.95, Amazon

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes Hada Labo

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L: Nice. What are your top three beauty brands? If you had to narrow it down.

TV: It would definitely have to be Kyrolan, because it’s the best foundation that I’ve ever used for drag. What else have I used a lot of at the minute? The Jeffree Star highlighter and Morphe I love at the minute.

LA: Great palettes.

TV: The price point as well is just brilliant. You get a full 30-colour eye shadow palette for like, 26 quid. You’d get like what, two eye shadows for that in MAC?

LA: I feel like you're actually very likely to use up a whole Morphe palette as well. Some people might struggle to hit pan, but you’ll go through that nice and quick.

TV: Yeah! Because a lot of drag queens like to do the same thing, you know, they have their look and they stick to that. Whereas I try and do like a different eye or a different look each time.

LA: Were there any product recommendations that you picked from the other queens up while filming the show, or did you not really swap?

TV: I knew the stuff I liked but I think I borrowed a MAC Holographic glitter off of Crystal in one episode. She doesn’t know this, but when she got eliminated she left a concealer brush, and now that is the one concealer brush that I live for. She still doesn’t know I’ve got it!

LA: Just don’t let her read this and it’ll be fine!

TV: Well, she can’t be missing it that much! I think it was non-brand but, you know, just a nice concealer brush to cut your crease with or go under your brow.

LA: One of those random things you get in a Superdrug bargain bin but it's gold.

TV: They’re usually the best ones. I have one that looks like its been through the wars but it just works, it’s great but it’s not a brand or anything.

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes

Credit: BBC Pictures / Leigh Kelly

LA: Sometimes they're the best. How often do you work out and do you have a favourite way to exercise?

TV: I work out every morning. Every morning with a personal tr– no I never work out, never. When I was in Spain, me and David [The Vivienne's fiancé] went to the gym every morning for about a year. But also drank like a fish and ate like a pig, so didn’t lose any weight for a year.

LA: Balance.

TV: But it made me feel better!

LA: Yeah, it's good for a mood boost, but I can’t imagine that you have time at the moment.

TV: No, even if I wanted to go to the gym I wouldn’t find time to do it now, so.

LA: No. Do you have a signature fragrance and if not what are your go-tos?

TV: Vivienne Westwood, Boudoir. I’m livid because she’s just discontinued it.

LA: Maybe if you ask nicely she’ll bring it back for you?

TV: There was one bottle left in a Manchester store and they wouldn’t sell it to me. Was fuming. It was so nice, I’ve worn it for years and I don’t know why she's done it.

LA: Nightmare! Have you got any other go-tos.

TV: Angel and Alien by Thierry Mugler, and Creed Aventus.

LA: Oh nice, that’s a good mix.

TV: Yeah, well obviously I only really wear women’s so I like really strong, fruity scents. Smell like a prostitute, really.

LA: Totally fine! What are your favourite travel essentials? I imagine your kit’s considerably smaller if you’re on a job versus a holiday.

TV: Yeah I mean when I go out gigging I take my whole make-up kit that goes across three or four make-up bags, but then in my hand luggage obviously toothbrush toothpaste, a concealer, I’m using the Iconic London concealer at the minute and a beautyblender. You can just wake up, bit of concealer, good to go.

Original beautyblender, £17, Cult Beauty

The Vivienne Beauty Bytes beautyblender

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L: Nice. What are your three most-used emojis?

TV: Let’s have a look. This could go either one of two ways! We’ve got red heart, laughing face and I’ve got a T-Rex.

LA: I like when there’s a rogue one in there. Do you have a favourite book?

TV: Favourite book? God, I haven’t read a book in years. The last book I read was actually Michelle Visage’s autobiography.

LA: Oh well done, doing your homework.

TV: I had to read it 'cause I was hosting her tour!

LA: What would your last meal be?

TV: Oh, fillet mignon, Tournedos Rossini.

LA: Are you going in with all the sides on that as well?

TV: Oh yeah, we’ll have dauphinoise potatoes, we’ll have some garlic mushrooms and some sort of some blue cheese sauce to dip things in.

L: Oh yeah, dream. Favourite TV Show to binge watch?

TV: Schitt’s Creek at the minute. AJ and The Queen is coming soon as well, with Ru, that should be a good binge.

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LA: Oh I know, I watched the trailer the other day. Buzzing.

TV: It looks brilliant doesn’t it? What else do I watch? Or I’ll just watch the Jurassic Park movies over and over.

LA: Get that dinosaur emoji out. Favourite instagram accounts to stalk?

TV: I love Miss Fame’s 'cause she’s just amazing to look at. And I like to stalk wigs, so @in2gr8ion.

LA: What was the first thing that you bought with your first big pay-check? Did you go and splash on something ridiculous or were you quite good?

TV: I got a Louis Vuitton holdall and lots of Vivienne Westwood.

LA: The Vivienne Westwood is very on brand, you kind of have to. What does the word wellness mean to you?

TV: Just looking after myself, and making sure that I’m happy and me and David are happy. I suppose it could mean going off to a spa or something, but I think wellness starts with you rather than treatments and shit like that. You could have money for massages but you could still feel shit and it's not gonna change anything, is it? I love a bath, every night I have a big bath. My favourite bath bombs are from a company called Fizzy Rascal, they do them in scents inspired by perfumes, so the Creed one is my favourite.

LA: Love it, I love a pun. Any other bath products you're into?

TV: I’ve got the Lush one called Yognog, it's really rich like caramel-y and salty and then the Fizzy Rascal’s bath bombs.

LA: Who were you most star-struck meeting?

TV: I’m not just saying this 'cause of Drag Race, but RuPaul every time. I’ve met Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, a good fair share of celebrities, but every time RuPaul walks into the room he is just like a godly figure. I can’t explain it, he just he’s a superstar and he’s the only one that I’ve ever been super star-struck by. Every time he walks into a room.

LA: I imagine that he’s got quite a calming presence as well.

TV: Oh yeah, he’s like the Dalai Lama of drag.

LA: And that’s my tagline, thank you!

Lucy Abbersteen
Beauty Contributor

Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.