To celebrate the release of The Lion King on July 19, Disney recruited Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John to create a makeup line inspired by the movie.
Sir John has created looks for a cast of big names, including Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Khloé Kardashian, Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams, but he is perhaps best known for his work with Beyoncé, who is voicing the character Nala in the photo-real virtual-production remake of the cult cartoon.
The pair initially met at Tom Ford’s first womenswear show in 2010 and hit it off; Sir John quickly became Beyoncé’s go-to for everything from album art, music videos, concert tours and even her Super Bowl show and iconic September 2018 Vogue cover.
So when the makeup artist first revealed he had a makeup line in the works last fall, speculation grew that he was working on a line with Beyoncé herself. “Disney first approached me last August, just as I was wrapping up [reality TV competition show] American Beauty Star,” Sir John told The Hollywood Reporter. “They told me B was voicing Nala and asked if I’d be interested in doing a line of cosmetics for them.”
Sir John was hesitant at first, however. “I was kind of like ‘She’s sold separately.’ But they said, ‘No we want to work with you and we want you to license it and find a partner to produce the collection.'” Sir John immediately reached out to Luminess Cosmetics, a brand known among professionals for its innovative airbrush technology, to help him realize his sweeping vision for the line, with a very tight deadline.
Past Disney makeup collabs have included a Disney Villains Collection with ColourPop and, most recently a MAC Disney Aladdin Collection based around Princess Jasmine’s character. Sir John’s aim to create a makeup line around a lion cub rather than a Disney princess didn’t pose a problem.
“It was actually a plus, because I didn’t have a character limiting my creativity…. I didn’t have to design a collection for Cinderella. I also think women appreciate the grace and beauty of big cats, whether it’s a jaguar, leopard or cheetah. They are so regal and so dangerous, but have a feminine quality that speaks to my clients, who are strong women,” he says.
The resulting collection is presented in visually stunning packaging, made from etched enamel seven layers deep, where each layer has been lasered out to reveal the rose gold compact. “I fell in love with the packaging before the product — even as a makeup artist,” says Sir John. “It’s a collectors item.”
As for the makeup itself, “The line is for every woman,” he says of the limited edition products, which include a Kingdom Sculpting Palette, Can’t Wait to be Queen Eyeshadow Palette, Be Brave Matte Lipsticks, Be Prepared Liquid Lipsticks, Legacy Tinted Lip Balms and a Circle of Life Highlighter. The shade names draw on both characters and scenes from the film — the eye palette includes Nala, King, Pride Rock and African Clay, for example.
“I was inspired while on safari in South Africa for Global Citizen, and I remember looking at how warm and rich the colors were, and I didn’t need to look any further than the landscape,” Sir John says.
The collection will launch June 15 at Luminess Cosmetics online. Prices start at $24.