Exclusive: Supermodel Natasha Poly Demonstrates the Art of Party Makeup

It happens like clockwork each year: The second the clock strikes midnight on 1 December, we’re suddenly filled with the urge to trade our muted fall makeup hues for all things sparkly and tinsel-tinged. The art of festive beauty is a delicate one—glitter and glamour are encouraged, but at a precise amount, lest it veers into gaudy territory.

So who better to school us on this graceful skill than a someone well-versed in the world of subtle glamour? Natasha Poly is an iconic supermodel who has worked with every major designer and fashion magazine under the sun. To list them all would be exhausting, but a snippet includes the likes of Gucci, Prada and Givenchy. To call her a Vogue darling would be an understatement (and not just because Vogue Russia once dedicated an entire issue to her).

Poly enchants in front of the camera and excels behind it: She’s the queen of doing her own makeup (check out the hashtag #NPolyMakeup on Instagram next time you’re in need of some inspiration). “I was bad at the beginning,” she admits. “I remember my first red carpet. I didn’t want to pay a makeup artist, and at the time, it wasn’t such a thing to hire one. You just did everything yourself.”

After a few mistakes—including an all-too-relatable too-light foundation mishap—Poly found her stride at Cannes. “There were so many events and red carpets I had to go to that I just started doing my makeup myself, and suddenly was like, Oh my god, I’m actually good!” The crowning moment that forever established her makeup prowess? When legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath bestowed her with a blessing.

“It was the Met Gala, and I did a brownish cat eye with a gold shimmer and natural lips,” she says. “I met Pat at one of the after parties, and she was like, ‘Come here!’ She grabbed my hand and was like, ‘Let me see! Did you do your makeup yourself? You did such a good job. and you are very good.’ That’s when I was like, okay, I’ve gotten her blessing.”

We invited Poly to the Byrdie studio and presented her with a challenge: to create three festive, showstopping makeup looks to last us through the Christmas party season and beyond. Spoiler alert: She blew us all away. Scroll through and have a look yourself.