Pret-a-Reporter

How to Get Ashley Graham's Modern Jessica Rabbit VMAs Makeup

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Ashley Graham at the 2016 MTV VMAs.

"The sex is in the eye," says her makeup artist Vincent Oquendo of the lash-heavy look.

While Alicia Keys went totally au natural and Kim Kardashian toned down the glam, other attendees of the VMAs on Sunday night pumped up the sex appeal. Model Ashley Graham, for one, channeled a modern-day Jessica Rabbit, which her makeup artist Vincent Oquendo said was a choice made in part because of her brand-new asymmetrical bob.

Beyond drawing similarities between their figures—Graham's enhanced by a hand-beaded Naeem Khan gown — Oquendo envisioned a similar side-swept hairstyle that allows one eye to peek out. “The sex is in the eye,” he says. “I wanted it to be all about that eye, and make her skin really luminous, bronzed and supple, which I think is very modern as well.” His recipe for perfecting her skin: ex1 Invisiwear Foundation in 4.0 and 5.0, with ex1 concealer in D200. “It’s all about balance — with Ashley’s look you have to have balance between the big eye and the pale lip, and the same thing with foundation.”


BEHIND THE SCENES: Ashley Graham and Vincent Oquendo prep for the 2016 MTV VMAs. (Photo: Courtesy)

Her “feathery, long, bright eyelashes” were key to the sex bomb Jessica Rabbit look. Oquendo wanted to keep them smooth and shiny to play off all the textures in her dress and wet-look hair. Along with taupe eyeshadow, he applied extra long Make Up For Ever lashes, which he coated in Laura Mercier Faux Cils mascara from root to tip, evenly, after curling. “I then combed thoroughly to get all the clumps out, and cut into the lashes because I wanted it to be geometric. There’s a wispy element, but it’s feminine and also strong.”

As for her perfectly nude lips, Oquendo used a small arsenal of products — plus his biggest secret trick — to accomplish it. For a tonal matte, creamy pout, he began with a coat of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Balm and then used Pat McGrath Labs’ Skin Fetish on the bow of her lip. Next came Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Hepburn Honey, which he applied all over, and then Laura Mercier Lip Parfait in Amaretto Swirl in just the middle of her lip to give a pouty look. Finally his “ultimate red-carpet trick: MAC Lip Pencil in Stone — it’s the most unattractive color in the palette, but when you use it as a very thin lip liner and blend it you get that beautiful contour,” he says. “It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s like a really good push-up bra: You don’t want to know it’s there, but you want your boobs to look great.”

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