Illamasqua’s Beauty Before Age campaign

Illamasqua Beauty at Any Age model Pam Lucas, gorgeous!

We were absolutely thrilled to hear about make up brand Illamasqua’s recent competition Beauty Before Age to recruit older women, mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces and anyone else who is gorgeous at any age as models for its next beauty campaign. How refreshing to find a brand that ‘get’s’ that women over 25 want to wear make up and need a role model or two to inspire them. Top marks Illamasqua! Our favourite quote from the competition launch was “I’m not 50, I’m 18 with 32 years of experience” (author unknown) which just about sums us up.

Illamasqua is a British cult make up brand founded by Julian Kynaston and we caught five minutes with him to ask him what inspired the campaign idea…

TWR How has the campaign been received? did you get lots of applicants?

JK We weren’t sure if we’d get loads of applicants or none at all but in fact we were inundated. It’s easy to criticise the skinny models and how they dominate the catwalks, but I’ve always wondered what would happen if the catwalks were opened up to “real people”. Would the “real” people be interested? This has been answered. The beauty out there (I like to call it true beauty) had no shortage of desire to show off what they could offer which is fantastic. Illamasqua offering them a chance to be in a truly professional beauty campaign is only half the battle, it only becomes worthwhile when they come forward are confident and unafraid to put themselves out there.

TWR What criteria will you apply to selecting the lucky winner?

JK I get transfixed on peoples unique and striking features. I can’t put my thought process into words, but I know when I’ve found something intriguing and exciting.

TWR Us older women are really keen for some role models to look up to for beauty as we get older, so it’s a brilliant campaign, but what made you start? And why now?

JK I think if there is going to be any significant change that challenges the generic dictation of what a model should look like, then it’s got to raise the debate above simply someone’s dress size. People have heard about that for years and are now immune to it. What we’re doing here is looking at the same issue of real people but from a different angle. This is about age; natural, mature beauty. We’re making people think about the true definition of beauty. As a brand, many things we do influence people to raise their game, taking a slice of Illamasqua’s approach to life and as such, we hope when we declare our idea of true beauty, then others will follow our lead. Most importantly, this campaign is genuinely where we see true beauty. This isn’t a gimmick.

TWR Older women need some practical help in changing their beauty routine as their skin changes and they adjust their look, but there’s no one around to help…will you start to offer make up lessons on this if the campaign is successful?

JK We offer this now (check website here). Women have used make-up all their lives to make them feel better, look younger etc. Interestingly, mature women tend to invest in skin care and gradually forget about exciting, experimental make-up. We believe beauty has no age limits, we put Beauty Before Age. Big beauty houses marketeers made the decision that when women reach a certain age, they steer them away from colour cosmetics and onto more expensive, luxurious skin care. This is why women of a certain age feel uncomfortable in beauty halls, they feel it’s “too young for them”. When in reality this is when they need make up the most. I don’t blame the beauty houses as women have followed this. I don’t define our brand on any of these terms and we have a large audience of mature women who aren’t patronised or rushed in anyway, they’re given the time and devotion they deserve.

TWR Who’s your style icon for grown up beauty?

JK Pam Hogg.  She’s a glamorous lady who proves there is no age in beauty.

The campaign was shot at the end of last week with the lucky winners, we can’t wait to see it and hope it inspires other make up brands to acknowledge all ages want to have fun with make up. And when we get the time Jane and I are going to try the Maturing Beauty Course too, hurrah that someone is giving us help!


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