photographer FLAVIEN PRIOREAU
in collaboration with L’Oréal Paris
This is one for the records. Being allowed to experience the Cannes Film Festival, the grand circus – up close. Yet still from a distance, seeing as I still was a very small piece in a giant game of Monopoly, in which some just were more important than others!
As part of my collaboration with L’Oréal Paris I was invited to spend 36 hours at the festival, and rather than flying back and forth for ‘so little,’ we decided to extend our holiday and drive to Cannes instead. Thus, it turned into a big family trip, and with a few nights’ warmup in Nice beforehand, we slipped right into the French feeling. I was excited; the programme sounded intense, and now we’d been in holiday mode for almost three weeks. How would Eddie take it? How would I take it?
Quite excellent, I’ll reveal. Early Friday morning, we rolled into Cannes, into Hotel Martinez (which is seriously stunning – and their little ‘welcome’ gift for Eddie was a Bonpoint teddy bear! That’s how they roll), which no doubt is the centre of attention that week. A snow white giant hotel on the edge of the Mediterranean, with columns and window frames matching the azure blue ocean.
We’re in Côte d’Azur, the French riviera, which is a league of its COMPLETELY own, compared to the Italian riviera around Genova, from which we just arrived. With cars more expensive than our combined income, and there we came, in our Fiat stationcar, with a thousand bags, unloading it all on two polished concierges; and I’m on a French roll right from the start; ‘Bonjouuur! Ça va, Monsieur?’ and ‘Merci de votre patience’ as we keep on pulling bags out of the boot. Carrier, diaper bag, beach bag, one and two and three and four suitcases thrown up on the silver rack, which they push in front of them towards the reception, while a valet dude grabs our car keys and disappears in the family ride. I spot another silver rack full of Dior bags on top of Dior bags in four layers – this is the perfect venue for product placement, and there are enough stars around to place them on. I stick to the rack with the carrier and Eddie’s packed food, however.
The standard of this place is at a completely different level than anything we’ve experienced on the trip so far. Our bathroom has a tub and shower, a glass wall leading into the two-metre broad bed and blue wall-to-wall carpet and fine shampoo bottles, little slippers and a housecoat behind the door. On the bed, I find a small greeting from the L’Oréal-girls, whom I’m actually meeting right away.
We dive right in, even though it’s just 8:15am. I’ve been asked to appear with styled hair and no makeup (I’ve been curling my hair since 5:30am in Nice). They’ve been sending me schedules, but I actually stopped paying attention and decided to just take the day as it comes, and I’ve requested breastfeeding breaks to the extent that it makes sense.
First things first: makeup. L’Oréal is one of the main sponsors of the Film Festival, and they’ve got a giant setup on the beach with film studios, makeup chairs and spot light, just a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean. We’ve got the most incredible view from here, and as it’s quite early, there’s only a slight buzz around.
They give us a wonderful makeup – mine is a classic Cannes look; glorious skin, golden eyes and red lips (Rouge Signature, ‘I’m Worth It’ – my favourite red, which, according to L’Oréal’s Global Makeup Director, Val Garland, matches all skin tones). The French feeling seeps under my skin (and on it as well), with the ‘black coffee’ breath of my makeup artist, as she’s practicing her English in the thickest, loveliest French accent. She makes me très chic, and I quickly forget the worst night ever with Eddie (as though he could sense what was in store – first day of separation).
The first of 4-5 shoots is over, and it went pretty well, apart from the little detail of me telling the photographer that I speak a little French (which I do, with emphasis on little), why he insists on doing the entire shoot with me in French (which may be taking it a bit too far), forcing me to give it all I’ve got and interpret his body language when he asks me to change poses. I generally find myself feeling quite comfortable in my skin, but when I’m suddenly measured by photographers, asked to ‘give more sex’ or less or ‘pas de sourire,’ I turn rigid like a piece of wood. But it’s all good.
The rest of the day is full of photo shoots, and when I ask what for, the answer is that it’s actually just for me! So, hello, gorgeous new profile photos, hehe! Such a luxury. At one point we’re sitting in a dark and stale corridor waiting for a photographer, right next to two big security guards – watching the jewelry suite, where stylists come to borrow jewellery for the stars, when, on our right, Eva Longoria trots by, wearing hotel slippers and a robe, looking like a million. I think that we are a little alike down here, seeing as I’ve got a little boy with me as well as she does, but that’s where the similarities stop, I think, between me and one of the most beautiful Latinas in the world.
I ask every makeup artist that I meet for a tip:
*Have your setting mix (for instance, ‘Shake and Glow’) in a bucket with ice, while you’re doing your makeup – this way you can remove all swellings and increase blood circulation. Val Garland, whose tip it is, ends up telling that she puts virtually all of her products in an ice bucket before use.
*Make sure to wash your makeup brushes regularly in a bit of hair shampoo. Just a small dollop in the palm of your hand, swirl the brushes around, wash through, and finally let your brushes dry horizontally so you avoid dissolving the glue that keep the hairs fixed.
*Use your clean fingers for applying makeup – this allows you, quite literally, to be in touch with the makeup, while the heat from your skin makes the makeup melt into the skin. Lots of sponges soak up a lot of product, which is waste.
*Apply your rouge under your foundation for a really natural look, which makes it look as if the glow comes from within and is totally natural.
*Those totally crappy paper napkins, which they have in ice cream parlours in the southern hemisphere, which are useless for wiping fingers? Perfect as blotting paper, for removing shine from your forehead and chin.
RED CARPET DISASTER
Friday night is the big night. We’ve been invited to walk on the red carpet, and for the premiere of a French film. I’m ready in my room at 4pm, as hair and makeup artists are supposed to stop by to style me. But 4pm turns to 4:30pm turns to 5pm turns to 5:30pm before they appear with their suitcases. A hair stylist at first, totally out of breath and soaking wet from the rain – we agree on a look, and then the next hair artist knocks on the door. Total confusion as the first one had picked the wrong room. And now there’s a third knock – a makeup artist. At 5:45pm they get started, and I’m short on time, as I’m supposed to be in the lobby at 6pm for pre-film drinks with everybody else who’s been invited.
The hair is done. Totally tight and beautiful, like a ballerina’s. The makeup artist takes her time, and she is so sweet that I don’t like to rush her, although she is familiar with the schedule. It’s now past cocktail hour and nearly 6:30pm when the cortège leaves the hotel and drives towards the red carpet. I’ll tell you that it’s not as if you just stroll over to that carpet. You arrive in numbered cars with drivers, who drive with headsets and get a go-time, which he has to adhere to. At 6:28, I hop in my good old H&M dress, which I’d worn earlier in the day as well. And 6:31, I run down the marble staircase with my shoes in my hand without really having finished breastfeeding Eddie. Totally sweaty, slightly upset and under quite a lot of pressure. ‘Excusez moi’ at Helen Mirren, who’s blocking the exit, as she’s waiting for an escort with an umbrella, as it’s pouring in that Mediterranean way. But I make it! Into the car, and then the dress needs to be closed. The girls try their best, pulling and pulling. And it’s not as if you’re at your smallest when sitting down. And this is where the zipper breaks – in the middle, you know, where it starts opening on both sides. God damn it! ‘Can’t you just hold your purse up in front of it?’ It’s so open in front, though, that you’d be able to tickle my breasts. The car gets its go, and I make a quick decision to jump out. I don’t have the courage to face the red carpet with an open dress (as I’d even be nervous with a properly closed dress), and in this second, the humiliation is just too big. Being too late, bare feet and with a dress that’s too tight to close, and three girls trying to force it. Not having said a proper goodbye to Eddie and Adam, etc. I just want to go home. Back to the hotel, where I start crying. I’ve also just worked up myself for this night, the first time not tucking in Eddie. All of those emotions.
I have to cut open the dress, and then I jump into a black knit. Full makeup and lacquered hair and knit. Order spaghetti bolognese, a burger and a tiramisu for the room and a glass of bubbles to share. Damn tired of the situation, but honestly also a tiny bit relieved that I’ll be able to tuck in Eddie after all. And then I’ll have a story to tell, which is better suited for the records than if it had gone totally as planned, even if it was a once in a lifetime experience.
The day after, the other girls tell me that the red carpet mainly was for the stars. They’d been shooed quickly across the carpet, and if people don’t know who you are, no one takes your photograph.
The day after, we’re introduced to a big campaign, which will launch this autumn, and I really hope I’ll be able to share it with you, as it’s really cool and brave – and totally unrelated to products. We spend an hour and a half in a French woman’s company, leaving me feeling really inspired and empowered. An important core of L’Oréals strategy, boosting our strength in being who we are. Something really cool and important appears.
And then we meet the queen, Val Garland. A grand ole lady in the world of makeup. She’s made up virtually everybody (and she compliments my skin, which makes me blush). She introduces the themes we see in makeup today.
The rule is that there are no rules. You may apply colour to your lashes, lips, eyelids – simultaneously. Clear references to the ’80s and ’90s, with emphasis on the very clear colours on the eyelids! They’re launching a pretty delicious eyeshadow with 30% oil, Color Queen, which is hyper pigmented. And a rather wild mascara, Bambi (something, I didn’t have time to note down), which curls the lashes using a single magic spell. And then there’s the mascara with glitter. The wet eyeliner in pure metallic red, out at Christmas. Makeup should be fun! And almost nothing is right or wrong. I ask about her favourites, Gerland, and she says, Infalliable concealer (‘This is the best concealer I’ve come across!’) and the Unlimited mascara (she always ends up without hers, as she tends to give it away to everyone on set). And True Match-foundation… Yes, she actually has a hard time stopping herself.. But she says that it never has been more fun to do what she does. These days, makeup is of such high quality and so much more potent than when she first started out. All options are available, and everything is allowed.
I’m totally wasted come Saturday afternoon. Such a huge experience. Star hysteria, impossible not to get carried away with – Adam and I are wondering who’s who at the breakfast buffet. Or when we walk by the Bottega Veneta shop, and two mounted policemen are blocking the entrance. Someone’s on a shopping spree.
Red carpet or no red carpet, this trip makes me feel as part of the L’Oréal family, and I’ve got enough memories to see me through the year.
Jeg er fuldstændig kørt over, da vi når lørdag eftermiddag. Sådan en kæmpe oplevelse. Kendishysteri, som man alligvel også selv bliver lidt bidt af – Adam og jeg spekulerer i, hvem der er hvem til morgenmadsbuffeten. Eller da vi går forbi Bottega Veneta-butikken og to betjente til hest blokerer åbningen. Nogen er på shopping spree.
Rød løber eller ej, denne her tur får mig til at føle mig som en i L’Oréal-familien, og jeg har minder nok til resten af året.