In what will now be referred to as the pinnacle of my career, the below photo is of a conversation I had with MADONNA, purveyor and creator of the soundtrack of my LIFE. Here, we’re posing at a vanity table adorned with a brush that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe and I’m telling her about the time a few weeks ago, when I theme dressed as her circa “Papa Don’t Preach” video in stripes and jeans to take the Staten Island ferry to get pizza at a famed establishment. Positioning all of us beauty writers and editors for our close-up moment with M (as I learned she’s called, who knew?), she whispered to me, “Come on over closer, like we’re on tmhe Staten Island ferry and it’s busy.” I have a personal joke with Madonna. In the words of Madge, nothing really matters. Like, from here in on.
I met her yesterday at an event promoting her new skincare range, MDNA SKIN, which launched in Asia in 2014 and is now coming stateside, exclusively at Barneys. When Madonna sang that “time goes by so slowly” in her song “Hung Up,” she clearly meant it in reference to her the dimension in which her face is residing. Which is the dimension in which we’d all like to move to, stat. Here’s to hoping Elon Musk is working on a plan for that. Can we all agree that for the rest of us mere mortals, time seems to go by a lot more quickly? Here, the best tidbits
1. Madonna also deals with her favorite beauty products getting discontinued.
“This always happens to me. When I like something, they stop making it. Why? That was the germ of what started this whole process.”
2. She’s a seeker or knowledge, not a control freak.
“I like to ask questions and I care about details. If you don’t, you’ll end up in a mediocre place with a half-assed product. Or a half-assed life and that’s not for me.”
3. She judges people by how they behave around things that aren’t so pretty or seeing children very sick.
“I like when people step up to the plate and embrace these children [in Africa at hospitals or at an orphanage] as if they’re with chicly dressed advanced scientists. I only want to work with people who care about the world and the universe. Skincare seems like a superficial thing, but all the people I work with from MTG [the company with which she partnered to create this line] to Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, they’re really lovely, caring human beings and that’s the only way I’d want it. While we’re figuring out products that make you look good, feel good, and are filled with good ingredients, we’re looking out into the world and not thinking just of ourselves. Have your feet in both worlds. It’s about the outer glow from amazing skin care products and inner glow from doing good.”
4. Madge’s secret to career longevity is…
“My fame and my popularity, all that stuff comes and goes. I have tenacity. I’ve been around for a long time. There’s no way to cheat that position. It has nothing to do with seeking fame, it’s about doing the work. We’re living in a world today where achieving things quickly and skipping the process is what most people are consumed by. Hopefully that idea will come back around. I think about the 10,000-hour rule. We’ve put in the hours. We didn’t cheat. No get out of jail free card. No free passes. That’s the key to longevity. Common sense. Thinking outside the box. Caring about people around you.”
5. We are our environment.
You know how Tim Ferris talks about you being the product of the 5 people with whom you surround yourself with? “Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and always always always striving to be the stupidest person in the room. We are our environment. Curious, talented, clever, caring human beings. Surround yourself with them. That’s the best way I can describe working.”
6. Madonna uses the clay mask on her tush.
“Don’t you want soft skin on your butt? Don’t other people look at your butt? I’m experimenting. I encourage it. Maybe you can ask your significant other to remove it for you. He/she can rub your feet while your mask is setting in 7-10 min and then you can get some magnetic head on your behind. I rub The Serum into my knees. I use The Eye Serum on my elbows and forehead. I attack my children with The Rose Mist.”
7. She created what she felt was missing from the market, i.e., products she likes from all one line.
“I have a problem finding especially products for my face that I can put makeup over and then go on stage and sweat under lights that are so hot. While I’m dancing and singing and my hair is going on my face. I can’t even explain to you how hot it is under the lights, it’s crazy. My makeup kept coming off of my face. I needed to create something that would stand up to the elements and challenges. I love the La Mer cream but it’s too greasy for my face. I developed things I personally thought were missing for my skin. A cream is coming to the line later.”
8. Even Madge can’t sidestep the TSA with more than 4 fluid ounces.
“Rose is my favorite smell. I carry the rose mist and spray it all the time. I hate feeling dehydrated and I’m on planes all the time. So when those customs people try to take my rose mist spray…”
9. On the term “anti-aging,” which isn’t used on the MDNA SKIN site:
“I do believe we live in a very ageist society, particularly unkind toward women. It’s ridiculous that we have to hide our age, or not embrace it. I’m 160. It’s not about cheating and pretending. Just take care of yourself a little every day and love who you are. It’s not about perfection and unrealistic standards of beauty but rather taking care of your insides and outsides. It’s all part of a whole package.”
10. Madonna used to get facials from a heroin addict on the Lower East Side. True life.
“I don’t think I’m conscious of defining beauty. It’s more about style, what you think looks good. There were many years when I wasn’t interested in having eyebrows. There were many years when I wasn’t interested in wearing clothes. My skin was exposed. Even in my sex book, I didn’t have a real tan. I had Francois Nars painting on tan everywhere. It was so time-consuming. I remember when I lived on the Lower East Side and really didn’t have much cash. There was a salon on 7th Street between First and Second Avenues. And there was a girl in the back. Now, I know this is weird, she was a heroin addict. She gave amazing facials. And we would somehow do trades. I always took care of my skin, even at a young age. I don’t think my attitude about beauty has changed. I find beauty in all kinds of things that possibly other people wouldn’t find beautiful. Beauty is like art. It’s in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective. We’re talking about a complex subject. Skincare, beauty, what we perceive as beautiful is so different to everyone.”
11. Madonna’s thoughts on beauty.
“I don’t think my attitude about beauty has changed. I find beauty in all kinds of things that possibly other people wouldn’t find beautiful. Beauty is like art. It’s in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective. We’re talking about a complex subject. Skincare, beauty, what we perceive as beautiful is so different to everyone.”
12. Her deserted island skincare product.
“I knew that question would be asked. I would say The Serum because I douse my entire body in it. But you’re going to be on an island so you’ll be splashing your face with salt water and you’ll be drying it out. So yes, The Rose Mist.”