Hunter Schafer is drawn to the ritualistic side of makeup, she tells me on our Zoom call. “Makeup really is painting at the end of the day,” she notes. “You’re putting on armour for the day or the evening – not to change yourself, but just to kind of elevate yourself.”
GLAMOUR is the only title to speak to Hunter the morning after the London premiere of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. In the first few seconds before the camera is turned off, she looks fresh-faced in a fluffy white dressing gown despite frequently apologising for her croaky voice after “a really fun night with the rest of the cast.”
Hunter Schafer embraces the exposed bra trend with a red carpet reference to The Hunger Games
Keep the Mockingjay references coming!
The word “armour” crops up again when Hunter compares her Euphoria character with that of Tigris Snow, the cousin and confidante of Coriolanus Snow, who she plays in the new The Hunger Games instalment.
We first met Hunter in 2019 when she cycled onto our screens as artistic young trans woman, Jules Vaughn, in Euphoria – the hard-hitting, Emmy Award-winning drama, which follows a group of high-schoolers navigating addiction, sex, drugs, family dynamics and life.
Despite the very different scripts, Hunter says there is one common thread between Jules and Tigris. “They are both fashion girls in a similar way,” she says. “I think it’s a bit of an armour for both of them and one of their strengths in presenting themselves to the world and the way they want to be seen, which I also really deeply relate to.”
Off-screen, Hunter’s forms of expression are multifarious – through her writing (she has contributed to online teen magazine, Rookie), her art work as well as her unorthodox outfits and experimental beauty looks. At just 24, she has modelled for the likes of Dior, Miu Miu, Prada and Marc Jacobs and is a beauty ambassador for Shiseido.
Having transitioned at the age of 14, she has also fought alongside the American Civil Liberties Union as the youngest plaintiff to have North Carolina’s transphobic “bathroom bill” repealed.
Here, Hunter Schafer opens up to GLAMOUR about her earliest adventures in beauty, her beauty regrets (there are no mistakes, only iconic moments) and what makes her feel empowered. Over to you Hunter…
“A lip gloss ring in kindergarten kick-started my love of makeup”
Back in kindergarten we used to have this treasure box that someone got to pick something out of at the end of every week. When it was my turn, I found this little lip gloss ring in there and I wore it probably for like the rest of the school year. It had this glittery clear gloss in it that I would always put on. I didn’t even know what it was at the time, but I thought it was really cute.
“Creating shapes or designs around my eyes is one of my favourite things to do”
An eye look is where I feel most comfortable experimenting because I feel like they’re so expressive already. It’s where expression belongs on the face. Even just creating a really yummy combination of colours with different eye shadows is cool. I usually like to go with the colour wheel – my eyes are blue and across from it is orange, so it’s complementary. Or I like to match with blue. That’s usually my comfort zone. A cat eye is always tricky because you do have to match. So if I do a cat eye, it might be for a night when I have one of my lovely makeup artists with me just to make sure I’m symmetrical. But I can usually line the top of my eye for a little extra definition. Shiseido’s MicroLiner Ink is really easy, it’s creamy and it has a fine tip, too, so you have a lot of control. And if I’m feeling more artistic they have a bunch of colours and it really does feel like I’m sort of drawing with a pen or something. If I let myself, I can have a lot of fun.
“The outfit for The Hunger Games premiere really influenced the makeup decision”
It became a game of editing because the dress [a gold two-piece Prada gown with black ribbons] was really vibrant and it also photographed different than we saw it in real life. Initially there was a bit more eyeshadow and a bit more drama, and then we realised we kind of had to tone it down and balance it out with a more simple cat eye [Hunter’s makeup artist Charlotte Prevel says that she wanted the eyes to be the centre of attention and matched the black eyeliner and mascara to the ribbons].
“Describe my beauty aesthetic in one sentence?”
Simple but fierce. If there’s a way to do both, that’s it.
“My favourite perfume is Angel Elixir by Mugler – I love its sense of duality”
Angel Elixir is sort of this hyper-feminine scent, but there’s also some contrasting subtle masculine elements that balance it out, which I think gives it this sort of depth that I also like to try to approach my style with. I feel like it loops it in full circle.
“I don’t regret any beauty ‘mistakes’, they felt great at the time”
I went through a period where I had my brows bleached and perhaps I looked like Rufus the Rat from Kim Possible. I guess I looked kind of crazy. Maybe it didn’t work for my face? But there we go. At the same time, I still love a bleach brow and if it didn’t feel like a mistake on the day then was it really?
“Makeup should feel like an extension of yourself, rather than someone else’s face”
Working with Shiseido has been really exciting because it’s given me a chance to really nurture my relationship with makeup more purposefully. It’s allowed me to build more of a routine. I feel like we have very similar philosophies around beauty and making sure that you feel like yourself when you’re wearing makeup – and that you’re not putting on another face or something. It’s more like an extension of you, which is always my goal and it’s theirs, too. So we feel very hand in hand with that idea.
“I admire the 15-step skincare routines, but I like to keep it really simple”
I’m pretty basic with my routine. I don’t do anything too crazy – I’m really just a moisturiser girl. Your skin can only take so much. I’m a huge fan of Shiseido’s Essential Energy moisturizer. I use it first thing after I shower every night. It has kept my skin in pretty wonderful shape, I love that stuff. I’ve been lucky with my skin staying pretty clear, for the most part, throughout my life. A big thank you to my parents because the genetics came through. I always think you grow into your beauty routine. In middle school and high school…it takes some time to realise what’s happening. I’m in my twenties now and you start to become a little bit more conscious of like, ‘OK, my face is changing. I need to take care of it.’
“Scary UV rays can f*ck sh*t up, so I’ve found a sunscreen I really like”
I’ve also gotten really into sunscreen recently, which I was never a fan of before, despite knowing that it’s a very important part of preserving the life of your skin and everything. I just didn’t like the feeling of it on my face but I’ve found one I really like, which is the Shiseido Urban Environment sunscreen. It doesn’t feel like sunscreen necessarily, or like you have something oily sitting on your face all day, but it’s protecting my skin from those scary UV Ray that could f*ck sh*t up, you know? So that’s made it really easy and lovely to integrate into my routine.
“A safe space is important for me to feel empowered”
When I’m with my friends and my loved ones and my family – that’s who I know I can be myself around and feel safe and mess up if I need to. They are the people that have my back and I have theirs. That always makes me feel the most – not unstoppable – but empowered.
“Showers can change the course of my day, if I’m feeling rough”
Showers are an act of wellness for me. If I’m having a rough day and I feel like I need to reset, showers can change the course of my day. I don’t care if I have to take five showers to get through the day. After a shower I get to start over and that’s a valuable way – at least for me – to make sure I’m feeling good about myself. I also try and keep this thing with me all the time. It’s like a sketchbook and journal. I found it to be a really important routine for me to record my thoughts or draw. It’s a way for my brain to process everything that I’ve taken in during the day and let it out. That feels good.
“Wash your face! Your skin will be mad if you don’t”
The biggest piece of advice that people with good skin have told me is ‘wash your makeup off at the end of the day because your skin will be mad at you if you don’t,’ so I feel as though I should listen. But it’s still hard sometimes, especially depending on what kind of evening you’ve had!
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is in cinemas on 17th November, 2023.
For more from Fiona Embleton, GLAMOUR’s Acting Associate Beauty Director, follow her on @fiembleton. For more from GLAMOUR’s Beauty Editor, Elle Turner, follow her on Instagram @elleturneruk.
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