Few artists combine beauty and their craft as effortlessly and wholeheartedly as Brooke Candy. The 26-year-old rapper and singer fully embraces out-of-this-world wigs, bold makeup, and head-turning nails, and leaves loads of shimmer and sparkles in her wake with each performance. It made perfect sense, then, that MAC Cosmetics took note of Candy’s fearless approach to everything she does, and tapped her to collaborate on a small three-piece line last fall and a larger 15-piece capsule collection that includes lipstick, eye gloss, and liquid liner.
With just a few weeks until the official launch of the range—it hits stores and online May 5—we caught up with Candy to talk about MAC’s advocacy for artistry, how interning with Rachel Zoe led her to create, her obsession with Lil’ Kim, and more.
Stylecaster: What brought you back to MAC to work on new products? And how did this round differ from your collection last September?
Brooke Candy: Well, the first and most obvious difference between this collection and the last is that this assortment is much bigger: 15 products in total. It’s hard not to be drawn to MAC. They’ve given me so much freedom, and they’ve totally supported who I am as an artist and a person. MAC has allowed me to speak freely and to use my voice: The message is the most important thing to me. They’re advocates of what I’m putting out there and of art in general—not just with me, but with every artist they work with. My collection has something for everyone, and inclusion was a big focus for me.
Do you have one product from the line you can’t get enough of?
I love it all, honestly, and I was very specific with every color and product I chose. I wear it all, but the Doo-Wop lipstick [a matte bright pink] is my personal favorite. I’m obsessed with pink right now, so it fits my current color palette.
I know you’ve worked with Sia, and I was reading her thoughts on you. In an interview, she described you as a “feminista glam alien,” which is a pretty amazing description.
That is so cool. I love her so much!
Do you think that’s pretty accurate when thinking of the way you’d describe yourself?
I hope so. I’m always puzzled with how to easily describe what I do, so I just work on creating and keep it moving. I never really stop to think about it, but that description is awesome.
You’ve also worked with a lot of power players and influencers in fashion—interning for Rachel Zoe. What did you learn from that experience?
I learned that working as a stylist’s assistant wasn’t for me and that creating art was the road I wanted to travel down. I didn’t really fit in there, and it was pretty apparent. I was wearing creepers at the time and had purple hair: I’ve admittedly always been a bit odd and have found myself to be an outcast more times than not. I’m glad to be in the position I’m in now, and working there ultimately helped me to arrive here.
You’ve also worked closely with Nicola Formichetti and pulled inspiration from drag bars in Tokyo while working together. Tokyo is known for its bold fashion and beauty scene. Were you influenced by the city at all when creating your MAC line?
My aesthetic is so Tokyo, and I love Japan. Both the city and country are always an inspiration and reference for me, often subconsciously at this point. But the question I wanted to answer with this collection was “How does the inside of Jayne Mansfield look?”
What are the products you use every day, and how do you balance that with your love for newness?
I have a very intense beauty routine because my skin is extremely sensitive. I’ve had acne since I was very, very young, so the one product I always use is witch hazel. I use it as an astringent. I’ve literally gone to every dermatologist and facialist, and I’ve used everything under the sun to clear my skin up. I wear a lot of makeup, and I’m constantly performing under bright lights, so that wears on my skin.
And traveling as much as I do doesn’t help. Witch hazel has changed my skin so much, and I love that you can pick it up virtually anywhere, including your local grocery store. I’ve also started using African black soap, which I use as a kind of microdermabrasion. Organic products are the only kind I use: My skin’s too sensitive for chemicals. It’s been hard for me, but I’m learning to embrace my flaws and come from a place of self-love and positivity.
You’ve mentioned Lil’ Kim, another MAC collaborator, inspires you. Did her partnership with the brand lead you to want one of your own? And what’s your favorite Lil’ Kim era and look?
Hardcore will forever be one of my favorite albums. She’s so powerful, and I live for women who embrace their power. Women are the answer to everything, and Kim is a good representation of a strong goddess. I’m also inspired by a number of other women as well, including Cindy Sherman, Sia, and Lena Dunham. These women are so cool. I’m so blessed to be a woman.
What else is coming up for you in 2016?
I’m about to start releasing a lot of content for my album: a lot of music and visuals. I have a couple of cool jewelry collaborations that are coming out and a lot of other projects in the works. I have a ton coming out this year, and I’m very excited about it. I’m so thrilled to share what I’ve been working on for the past five years with the world. It has been a slow process, but I’m finally here and I’m ready.