As one half of the New York City–based duo Lion Babe, Jillian Hervey’s towering cloud of golden curls and honeyed voice were in near-instant demand the moment she and bandmate Lucas Goodman uploaded their first R&B single, “Treat Me Like Fire,” to SoundCloud in 2013. Just over a year later, Lion Babe has wrapped collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, and Childish Gambino, and, as of tomorrow, major U.S.-festival billing at Lollapalooza.
Hervey takes everything in stride. Her poise in the spotlight can be attributed to both her lifelong training as a dancer and growing up as the daughter of Vanessa Williams, who she watched juggle success in music, film, and beauty pageants, picking up hair, fitness, and makeup tips from Williams’s trusted glam squad along the way. Here, she talks to Vogue.com about the best music to dance to, how to find the perfect shade of blonde, and why black eyeliner is the most important tool in your makeup bag.
You’ve cited soul singers as musical inspiration—are they your beauty icons too?
I’ve always been a really big admirer of Josephine Baker. My mom has a poster of her in our house, [since I was a] dancer, I felt very connected to her. I identify with how she chose to dress and who she was at the time—having fearlessness in what you do, honoring your history and bringing something new to it. I also love Marilyn Monroe. I’m a Gemini, too. She was pretty scandalous but also very forward about what she stood for and how she wanted to live her life.
Tell me about your hair. When did you make the transition to curly and blonde?
My junior year of college. My hair is naturally curly but I used to straighten it and wear extensions. I wanted to do something else. Carol Benn, my colorist, likes to do highlights and color that look natural. The front of my hair gets light in the sun naturally, so she embellished those highlights. When you change something like your hair the whole world changes also.
Is this your natural texture or do you have a hand in those curls?
I definitely have to curl a lot of hair—I like to give myself an hour to do it. For shows and everything, I can’t do it by myself. Chuckie Amos does my hair when I’m in the States. We will prep it in tiny ringlets. Depending on what you want to do, you can tease it, comb through it, or blow-dry it and shake it like crazy for volume. CHI hairspray is really good [for that], and so is MoroccanOil for shine.
Dyeing and styling can be taxing on hair—what do you do to take care of yours?
I do Keratin treatments to soften it. My older sister is my hair guru. She’s always given me tips on what to use—like doing coconut-oil soaks and putting MoroccanOil in it after the shower. [Otherwise], I don’t use sulfates in any of the products I wash my hair with and I try not to blow-dry it too much.
Your mom was Miss America—a literal beauty queen, what did you learn about beauty from her?
[The people in my mom’s beauty team] were like uncles to me. I was tomboyish [when I was young], but backstage, I was taking things in without realizing it. When I got to an age where I needed to blow-dry my hair, I could section it off and know to use specific brushes. [I learned to] drink a lot of water, and not to smoke because it’s not good for your skin. If you’re wearing makeup, always wash your face before you go to sleep. With hair, don’t overdo it: Don’t over-wash it, don’t over-heat it. Try different things, but keep moving, then stick with whatever works. There are always endless debates about if you should wax your eyebrows. I still get beauty advice. My mom just got married [a few weeks] ago and they were all there in the same room doing everyone’s hair. It was very special.
What do you do for your own makeup routine?
In the summer months I like as little makeup as possible—I don’t want to be too painted. I might put a little cover-up to smooth everything out. MAC’s Cream Color Base blends into my skin really well and doesn’t feel cakey—you don’t need to use too much. To pump up my look I use mascara and liquid eyeliner, because I like drawing a cat-eye shape. I have MAC for that and it’s really good–it stays on especially for shows. There’s so much you can do with black eyeliner: You can make something look really dramatic with a very sixties, mod-style [line in the] top of the eye crease; or you can go almost Cleopatra-esque and angular; or sometimes it’s super simple, and I’ll fill in the outer end of my eye to wing it out. I’ll do the top and the bottom, too, using a pencil on the bottom. There are endless ways to use black eyeliner. And I like Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream on my lips. My mom gave me a little bottle once—“Try this: It works for everything.” She’s usually the first person to hand me something.
How will you change your look for Lollapalooza?
I like to put on NARS Body Glow bronzer—it’s perfect for whatever you’re wearing and it makes the skin look really good. Then Tarte Cheek Stain, eyelash glue, and lashes—the best lashes come from Koreatown in Los Angeles. I like the look of individual lashes, but for shows you can do so many different things [with strips]. I love Diana Ross’s eyelashes and that whole vibe. [For my hair] I’ve been rubbing glitter into it. It’s not even supposed to stay in. It’s just an effect for dancing.
Do you find a lot of time to dance on the road?
Honestly we’ve been so in the grind of the album that I’m not going to class as much as I used to, but I’m doing choreography for shows. I’ve been dancing since I was two, learning so many different styles. I like dancing to rap and hip-hop, but also the Strokes, the Hives, and the Vines with carefree randomness. There’s always a way to move to something. On the road I might go to the hotel gym. When I know I won’t be dancing or working out, I spend time stretching. You have to stretch every day as a dancer. I do it whenever I can when it’s not weird.
The post Lion Babe’s Jillian Hervey on Her Lollapalooza Beauty Staples: Black Eyeliner, Body Bronzer, and More appeared first on Vogue.
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