It’s hard to imagine, but Ariana Grande still gets nervous. The pop star has performed on the world’s biggest stages, but her latest venture, a new makeup line called R.E.M. Beauty, finds her in uncharted territory. “I was so nervous to even discuss stepping into the beauty space because there are so many amazing fellow people,” Grande tells me over Zoom, wearing her signature sleek ponytail and a full face of R.E.M. “I don’t ever want to just jump into something that is popular. It has to feel super intentional and fueled by passion and authentic to me.”
Grande found her confidence working alongside cosmetics company Forma to develop R.E.M. Beauty’s first launch, Chapter 1: Ultraviolet. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, these formulas are really spectacular.’ I went home that night and had this vision for my line and it ended up being exactly how I dreamt it would be in my head,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time in makeup in my life. To redefine my relationship [with beauty] and have my own version of it, and hopefully be able to inspire people to express themselves in a new way and share it with the world, and have these beautiful products come to life, has just been such a wild thing.”
Available November 12 at 9:00 AM EST, R.E.M. Beauty is heavily inspired by Grande’s love for sci-fi, space, vintage, and horror. “I wanted to create our own world with this packaging,” she says. “Sort of futuristic, but nostalgic throwback. Anything that looks like it could have been on Star Trek or Barbarella, or Star Wars or Black Mirror.”
Along with impressive packaging, Grande prioritized making the line completely vegan and cruelty-free. “[These formulas] took a lot of back and forth, a lot of rounds of going to the lab and me over-expressing myself, as always,” she says. “Working with these incredible artists, scientists, geniuses at the labs to get it where it needs to be. Vegan, smells delicious, lasts over a long time.”
It turns out, the hardest part about creating a beauty line isn’t testing products, or conceptualizing packaging, or countless meetings in the lab over the past two years—it’s keeping said beauty line a secret. “I was on tour [when we started this] and it was very secretive,” Grande says. “It has been the longest time. I’m not very good at secrets because when I’m excited and passionate about something, I have to say something at some point.”
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