Parisian-born make-up artist, and now Global Beauty Director at Estée Lauder, Violette (no surname necessary) is something of a beauty industry phenomenon. With her Parisian-chic tousled hair and signature red lip – coincidentally, a key holiday-friendly combo – Violette built up a thriving community of make-up-obsessed followers on Instagram and YouTube long before she set her sights on Estée Lauder.

Planning a trip? Head to duty free for the Violette-approved holiday essentialsEstée Lauder Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick in Slow Burn (a fierce and fiery red) and Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Mascara Extreme Black. Wear with a one-piece and denim shorts, and you’re set!

Here, the make-up icon talks about what beauty means to her and why she will always be inspired by the original beauty icon, Estée Lauder.  

What is your first beauty memory?

V: Really, my country, France. I remember seeing these women in T-shirts and messy hair, yet they had incredible, perfect red lipstick on, and heels. They could be at the grocery store, or at school picking up their kids, and they were wearing this. In my mind, I started to associate heels with lipstick. I get my inspiration for lips from shoes. I love that no matter where these women are, they’re doing it for themselves.

What does beauty mean to you?

V: Beauty is a way of expressing yourself, a way to celebrate femininity. It’s also a ceremony for me. Because the time I’m going to take for myself in the bathroom, doing my skincare or make-up (or even in the car when I do my make-up), it’s like my minute for myself. Just the gesture of applying the products, is something really caring.


What inspires you most about Estée Lauder, the brand?

V: It’s the history. There’s something very historic about Estée Lauder. I feel like it’s always been somewhere in an American life. It’s very iconic, and there is an emotional connection to the brand. It’s not just superficial, people are linked to this brand through their memories. It’s a brand that respects women, because it cares about enhancing their beauty.


What inspires you most about Estée Lauder, the woman?

V: I could say that I met Estée a few weeks ago, and I’m still meeting her. I’m really shocked by her modernity in her time. She was such a visionary. We have so much in common. Her philosophy was not about selling her products, but about selling the look. This idea of: ‘What do you need, vs. what do I think you need.’ She created this brand as a woman in an era when being a businesswoman was absolutely not a thing. She created it herself and now it’s part of history.


If you could meet Estée today, what would you tell her?

V: I would say thank you for paving the way for us women to be inspired to dare to create something we believe in; to not be afraid of creating a strong business in a man’s world. And I want to thank her for impacting our history because now it’s so relevant. What she created keeps inspiring us, and that’s a huge gift. And if she could make it then, I can make it now. I would tell her that she’s still an inspiration for women today.


Who inspires you?

V: Women. All women. I don’t have one icon. I walk in the street – New York is an incredible source of inspiration because there is so much diversity – and the women there dare to try. I love to look at them and imagine a little story of how they decided to wear a particular look. It’s like every woman is showing you a little part of herself.


What is the one thing you wish every woman understood about make-up?

V: The root of my philosophy is working on accepting and celebrating who we are, instead of “improving”. What does that mean, “improving”? There’s this pressure to be perfect. But everyone should do whatever they want, and I’m pro freedom of expression. Think of forgetting the “beauty codes”, like what is “perfect” beauty. Instead, let’s look at what you like on your face, what your favourite feature is. Use make-up to celebrate who you are instead of changing what you look like.


Are there any beauty looks or trends you wish you saw more of?

V: I’m kind of anti-trend. Since starting my YouTube channel, I just want to forget about them. Let’s consider any kind of look and forget whether it’s trendy or not. What do you want to wear? What is cool for you? If there is one look I would like to see more of, it’s seeing more women daring to celebrate their femininity and having fun with their make-up. I just want to see women owning their look.