meet our new beauty editor isamaya ffrench!

We are delighted to announce that the beautiful Isamaya Ffrench is, quite fittingly, our new Beauty Editor! Having moved on from the neon yellow hair mascara days of her childhood, we reckon she’s the most exciting thing in make-up right now. Taking...

by Francesca Dunn
19 May 2014, 3:40pm

Isamaya Ffrench by Mehdi Lacoste

Have you always been interested in make-up?
Yes, and I've always been very interested in faces. I remember being seven or eight years old and buying a Kevyn Aucoin make-up book called Making Faces which is still, I think, one of the best around. That's what really switched me on. There are a lot of technical things in there to do with facial structure and tones and skin and colour and that introduced me to the world of make-up. I remember reading it over and over. I still feel really inspired when looking at it.

Do you remember any early make-up experiments?
I definitely remember enjoying my neon yellow hair mascara! Other than that though, I have two mates that lived around the corner from me, these two boys, and I used to get them round and facepaint them and dress them up. It's probably best they remain nameless. I also did a lot of dancing, so there's always been a performance and character aspect to the work that I do.

Do you still dance?
Yes, I trained in ballet and street dance. I'm with the Theo Adams company, which provides me with a lot of inspiration.

Your work is very much art rather than straight forward make-up. What did you study?
I did a foundation in art at Chelsea and then product design at St Martins which helped me develop an understanding of 3D. Working with structure and special placement of colours and lines really makes a difference to always working in 2D. It makes you see things in more of a wholesome way and helps in terms of understanding how to interpret a brand's vision, because if you're designing for a company you really have to get into the mind of the brand and somehow put your creative imput into it.

How would you describe your style?
Reactionary, I guess. But at the same time, I hope I don't have a 'style' as such because I like to think that there's always development to my work.

How did make-up go from being an interest to your job?
I was doing face painting at kid's parties, then I started doing some for friends who work in fashion and it all went from there really.

Were you surprised that your more creative style of make-up was accepted by the fashion world?
Well, it's been done before but each generation seems to capture it in a different way. I hope that I manage to do it in a very real way; a much more non-synthetic, believable way. Not so much 80s and 90s with pop culture and dramatic lights... I'm just happy to have a girl sitting outside in the sun.

Whose face would you love to paint?
Grace Jones would be amazing. 

What's your favourite look that you've created so far?
Probably something that I shot for i-D with William Selden. It was a black model called Jamie Baah-Mensah and I painted a forest on his face, I liked that one a lot. 

How do you feel about becoming i-D's Beauty Editor?
Over the moon! Everyone's really nice here, so I'm really happy!

What's inspiring you right now?
There are these art directors called Florence Tétier and Jeanne-Salome Rochat. They work on a few magazines, but independently they're really amazing. They have amazing Tumblrs and are very inspiring people.

Which make-up artists do you look up to?
Topolino's cool. I think he's great. Obviously people like Val Garland and Pat McGrath are amazing. And Alice Ghendrih, she's actually one of my favourites. 

What do you find beautiful?

It seems to play a massive part in your work…
Yeah, I work with it a lot.

Where's the most beautiful place you've ever been?
Yosemite National Park in California. It was amazing! And also South Africa - I found that trip very inspiring. Africa is such an inspiring continent I'd like to travel there more.

How much make-up is too much make-up?
It depends if you've got a good make-up remover! If it's painted on with a paintbrush, I don't think you can ever really have too much.

But you don't seem to wear much make-up yourself?
I'm not really interested in wearing make-up myself. It's like chefs that just eat pizza and chips, you know what I mean?

Give us a beauty tip?
If you're considering dying your hair, I'd suggest using coloured mascara first to see if you feel like that's enough of a change before you really go for it.


Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Mehdi Lacoste

Grace Jones
make up
William Selden
Mehdi Lacoste
fashion interviews
isamaya ffrench
francesca dunn
pat mcgrath
alice ghendrih
beauty editor
face paint
val garland
i-d beauty editor
make-up artist