British women voted her the world’s most beautiful woman. Cheryl Cole tells Stylist how she does it.
The anarchic thud of M.I.A’s Bad Girls is blaring from the speakers. Five smartly dressed security guards – here to keep an eye on some very expensive diamonds – are huddled in a corner and, somewhere inside a triptych of polystyrene walls is a diminutive Cheryl Cole. We are at a studio in north London, as today, Cheryl is lending Stylist her powerful eyes to showcase this season’s foremost eyeliner looks. Five hours, four looks, four hairstyles and a spot of lunch later, we sit down to chat about her life in beauty. Relaxed, warm and selfeffacing, it’s proving difficult not to fall under her spell…
A smokey eye is your signature look. How old were you when you started wearing it?
When I was about 12, I started experimenting with the little pots of liquid eyeliner you used to get. Now, it’s so much easier – I use a liquid liner across the top of my lashes. Starting in the corner of the eye and following it across, then I always use a black kohl for the inside of the eye and just smudge it in. It takes a while to actually get there, but I think it’s quite easy to do. And remember, everyone’s eyes are different, so you just have to go with it.
What’s the essential element?
Lashings of mascara. I apply multiple layers for the full effect. I don’t go as crazy as I used to, but I do like the false eyelash look so I’ve been using L’Oréal False Lash Telescopic Mascara, it’s got four different sides to the wand, so you don’t use as much.
You obviously have a lot of influence on modern beauty. Who were your idols growing up?
It wasn’t actually anybody in the limelight. I always had older friends and we didn’t have much money but they’d always have glamorous clothes and gorgeous make-up. I used to look up to them and say, “Wow, she’s so pretty.” But, that was just local girls from my area. I wanted to be like them when I grew up. The girls really take care of themselves in the north. Especially in Newcastle, there’s definitely more of a cultural feel down south, whereas up north, you can definitely spot a local girl from a mile away. You can tell if someone’s out of town – they’ll have their coat on during a night out.
Do you think you have the same effect on your fans?
I still feel like that little girl. That’s the weirdest thing for me especially when I’m out in America and people are like, “So what’s your background, where you from?” When I tell them, they find it difficult to believe that I’m from a council estate. They’re like, “No way!” In my mind I’m still that person. But to them I’m a pop star, it really is the strangest feeling.