The Edit

Illamasqua interviews… Bethan Cole

We are delighted and very excited to have our first interview in the new interactive Illamasqua Socialise section with one of the Beauty Industries most respected journalists, Bethan Cole.

Name: Bethan Cole

Occupation: Writer, editor, creative consultant, cat lover and person who tends to think and feel too much.

I’ve been a journalist for almost 20 years now and I’ve worked in house for Sunday Times Style, Vogue and i-D amongst others. I had a column called The Sybarite in the Sunday Times for nearly 5 years in the noughties for which I became renowned – I was kind of questioning the morality of the beauty industry before blogging came along and really shook things up.

I was also known for championing the avant garde in beauty and did the first UK profiles of people like Peter

Phillips, Aaron De Mey and Alex Box way before they were snapped up by big brands and became famous.

I won the top Literary Jasmine award for a piece I wrote about perfume in Vogue in 2008, this was a highpoint.

1. Your Current Life: What are you up to at the moment? What are your future plans?

I’m currently working as a freelance journalist, trying to write a book and editing a new digital magazine for a beauty company. Can’t tell you about the latter as its still under wraps.

2. Your Favourite Image: What’s the most iconic image to you? What does it say to you/ represent for you?

I’m obsessed with David Gentleman lithographs at the moment.

I’m also really fond of the Cindy Sherman film stills, any of them really, I love her observations and inhabitations of various states of womanhood and the feminist implications of her work.

Also I love Julie Verhoevens illustrations and artworks, her use of colour and her talent for creating interesting faces.

3. Illamasqua Favourite: What is your favourite piece from the Illamasqua collection and why?

Hmm that’s a difficult one because I love the whole brand with a passion. Probably one of the red lipsticks or the black liquid eyeliner called Abyss. These are both essentials in my make up bag.

4. Your Personal Self: What are you most proud of? What has been your most significant achievement to date?

I think being ahead of the curve in terms of trends, philosophising about popular culture, spotting and championing new talent and, on a personal level overcoming quite severe illness in the last decade to continue with my career.

5. Your Alter Ego: If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why? or do you have your own unique alter ego?

Someone I dated a year of two ago once said I looked like Anna Karina, the French new wave actress, which was one of the nicest things anyone ever said about me. (I think it was my fringe).

However I always think of myself as ‘the honey bear’ a kind of bumbling, fuzzy, beneficent creature (possibly not very streetwise or cynical enough) who wants to give the world a hug.

I think I wouldalso  be any Tennessee Williams heroine. I remember seeing films and plays and thinking OMG, *that is me* reflected back at me in a disturbingly accurate way. I’m also slightly obsessed with his sister Rose who was his muse.

6. Red Lipstick: What does red lipstick symbolize for you?

Well quite a plethora of images spring to mind, from 20s flappers to 40s land girls, 50s starlets, 70s Guy Bourdin models, 80s indie chicks and 90s/00s burlesque gals and rockabillies, Gwen Stefani, Dita Von Teese.

What I like about red lipstick is it’s an incredibly mutable simulacra in photos and on screen and it can signify/summon a thousand different references to mind from film and video and photographs.



Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert