Actress Thandie Newton — along with makeup artist Kay Montano — is launching a new beauty blog on September 16. The ladies hope to be offering a new, different and more inclusive take on the subject.
As Newton tells Gillian Orr of The Independent, she found a kindred spirit in Montano through work:
"Crash had just come out and was a huge success, and I was asked to do my first feature for British Vogue," Newton recalls, when we all meet in Montano's west London home. "I'd worked with hundreds of make-up artists, but what was so new and exciting about working with Kay was that for the very first time she celebrated my skin colour in the way she used the make-up. She brought out the richness of my skin tone and its depth. What usually happens is that make-up artists will use lighter tones for my skin colour; they'll use matte products and too much powder. But Kay was all about letting it shine out and I had never looked better."
Both Newton and Montano are multi-racial, and both seem to want something better than the usual "hot new lipstick" kind of content. "Beauty is a feeling and a sensation much more than an actual," Newton says. "We hope that when you log on to ThandieKay you'll very quickly know that however you look and whoever you are, you're invited to the party." She's also interested in the anthropological side of makeup. And Montano is devoted to being diverse and inclusive: "How wild and progressive is it to use beauty as a medium to explore unifying ideas, create a community and abolish otherness?" And:
"There are products for everybody," says Newton, "but you don't see those images equally to the images that are more well-known. There is a suggestion that there's a certain type of look that is more desirable. I find that frustrating."
Environment, they suggest, is key to how you feel about yourself. "Children grow up thinking that their bodies are lovely; then they learn to think their skin or their nose or their hair isn't right," insists Montano. "That doesn't come naturally to any human being. You learn that stuff."
Orr points out that Newton and Montano's blog is self-funded: "There is no sponsorship, advertising or corporate branding, allowing them creative control, as well as reassuring readers that there is no ulterior motive." Since Kay Montano has interviewed Newton about her hair issues and maintains really great Pinterest boards, we've got a good feeling about ThandieKay.com and will keep an eye on it.
Aside: If you have never seen my favorite movie, Flirting, starring young Thandie Newton, young Nicole Kidman, young Noah Taylor and young Naomi Watts, you need to remedy that ASAP.