Padma Lakshmi On Her High School Regrets, Essential Nighttime Skin Care Product and the Beauty Trend She's Over

Photo Credits: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

She’s a model, actress, New York Times bestselling author, host and executive producer of Top Chef—already in its 15th season!—and, now, Padma Lakshmi is teaming up with MAC Cosmetics for a capsule makeup collection she describes as “12 dozen years in the making.” (The 17-piece line hits stores in March and will continue to be available online this month.) The 47-year-old recently sat down with us to discuss her tendency to be a makeup artist’s nightmare, the “industry shift” she’s seeing, and why she’s totally OK with her 7-year-old daughter wearing eyeliner.

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On the collaboration: “I’ve always been into makeup. I’ve literally been wearing eyeliner since before I could speak. I’m kind of a nightmare for makeup artists because I know too much about it. When I was modeling, MAC’s Studio Fix was a godsend for me and for women like me. We talk so much about getting the shades right, but it’s also about getting the right tone and color saturation—especially for women of color.”

Image/MAC Cosmetics

How the industry is changing: “The whole industry is going in a different direction. They’re looking at skin differently. We wanted to focus on color so we didn’t create a foundation, but it was still important to me that everything worked for everyone. It works on women of color, it works on fair skin, it works on all my friends. I’m really proud how versatile it is—it creates the most stunning looks.”

Image/ MAC Cosmetics

Why the luxe factor was so important: “I wanted the collection to feel luxurious on your vanity—it looks good, it feels substantial and it has a kind of old-school vibe. When you buy something like that, it gives you a quick boost. Makeup literally has the power to elevate our mood.”

Image/MAC Cosmetics

The role my daughter played: “She loves makeup. I don’t care if she wears eyeliner but she kept stealing my samples when we were developing this line and I needed her to stop. MAC was nice enough to send her a set of her own.”

Thoughts on social-media makeup: “You can get seduced by it. I’m worried it’s making people self-conscious. It’s too much. I think I wear a lot of makeup but then I see these pictures on Instagram and people are just piling it on. A lot of makeup usually just looks aging.”

Most embarrassing beauty moment: “One time, I wore a ton of metallic eye makeup and, when I looked at photos, it ended up looking like I was punched in the face. Not a great makeup day for me.”

Beauty trend that should be retired: “Black lipstick. It’s too hard.”

Desert-island product: “An eyelash curler. My lashes grow straight down like prison bars.”

Never without:Lip balm. I’m forever biting my lip.”

Beauty move I’m bad at: “People are shocked that I can’t do my hair. I can do a ponytail and that’s about it. I haven’t picked up a curling iron since high school.”

Old-school looks that don’t love:Overplucking my brows in the ’90s. I also had feathered bangs in high school.”

The last product I put on before bed: “Always moisturizer.”

The bad beauty habit I wish I could break: “Falling asleep with my makeup on.”

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