There is an unspoken expectation that as women we instinctively know how to apply make-up. I’m not sure where this expectation originated but I can’t tell you how many women I have applied make-up to, who are embarrassed at their lack of make-up skills. Some even complain that their mother never showed them how to apply it. I, on the other hand am grateful my mother chose not to pass on her make-up skills – I use the word “skills” in the loosest of terms of course. If she had I would no doubt be a thirty five year old woman applying make-up with seventh grade skill and precision.


Make-up and hair is like any knowledge we gain in our lives – some things we instinctively know, some things we learn from others and some lessons we learn the hard way. It’s the lessons we learn the hard way that bring the most hilarity. Known in make-up terms as “The Beauty Disaster”, what makes the beauty disaster hilarious (if you choose to focus on the humorous side) is that your original intention is to make yourself look fantastic and the outcome as we know only too well is not only failure – its public humiliation because beauty disasters are easily spotted by everyone!


Of course being the personality type that insists on learning every lesson the hard way you can imagine I have experienced my fair share of personal beauty disasters.


When I was fifteen I thought a home perm was just what my new haircut needed to give it a bit more oomph. Since my hair was short I enlisted the help of my grandma to put the rollers in. I remember being really impressed by her ability to get every last hair into all of the rollers, and when she was finished I happily bounced up stairs to apply the perm lotion in the bathroom. I don’t know how long I was in the bathroom, but I remember experiencing the whole gamut of emotions from shock to laughter to panic and then finally, when I realized no gel, hairspray or wax was going to calm down my sheep like locks I burst into to tears.


Another thing about beauty disasters in general, they can and will strike at any point in your life. Just when you think you have hit an age when you know better or have no need to experiment with your look, a new product hits the shelves, marketing strategies go into overdrive and every single one of us is fair game for another BEAUTY DISASTER!


When I was twenty-five I had recently started dating a guy whom I quickly moved in with. We had been living together for almost a year before I met his parents. Wanting to make a good impression, the day before the meeting I toddled off to my trusted facialist knowing that after an hour in her hands my skin would have a fantastic natural glow for at least a week. At the end of the session I bought a concoction of different potions and lotions all hand made that I knew would maintain my newly acquired glow. In an over excited rush to get out of the door I vaguely remember her telling me not to use any scrubs on my skin for twenty four hours after the extraction. I never questioned this piece of advice, in fact I don’t believe I really acknowledged it, and of course that night I used a mixture of scrubs on my face and neck before slathering my skin with moisturizer and falling into bed.

Her advice came flooding back to me the next morning (the morning of the meeting I may add) when to my horror I looked in the mirror and all over my face in places where the extraction had been particularly deep I had thick black scabs that were stuck to my skin like super glue. Not only were they stuck on with a vengeance; they were so dark that no foundation on this earth would have been able to camouflage this beauty disaster of phenomenal proportions. Trying to calm me, I remember my boyfriend saying, “don’t worry – my mum will just think you have bad eczema”


It has taken me years of working with some of the most beautiful women to really understand that we are all the same, no matter how we perceive each other we all experience the same doubts, disasters, humiliations and triumphs as far as our image is concerned.


I worked with this model once who got her upper lip waxed for the first time, the day before our photo shoot . She had really sensitive skin and ended up with an inflamed red shiny surface in the shape of a moustache, which was not only impossible to cover up it was also really sore.


I worked with another model that I gave a tub of gold body shimmer to just as we were ready to shoot. As she disappeared into the bathroom I instructed her to put just a small amount on her arms and legs to give them a glow for the camera – after five minutes I knocked on the door to see what was taking so long and she confessed she had used too much. I asked her to step out of the bathroom so I could see. She finally emerged looking like the Jill Masterson character in Gold Finger with a really sheepish look on her face.


Beauty disasters thrive on innocence and the desire to better ones self. These are qualities that every single one of us posses, and should never forget. So in the spirit of innocence and desire to better ones self, I proclaim “Viva La Beauty Disaster!”



About Gigi


Gigi divides her time between London, New York and Los Angeles. Her work has appeared globally, from the pages of British magazines, to billboards in America and Australia as well as the runways of London & Milan. [Read more]