Claudia Winkleman is sitting opposite me telling me she doesn’t believe in skincare. I don’t believe her – my scrutinising gaze can’t discern any signs of neglect even in the brighter than bright morning light streaming through the window of the Ham Yard Hotel.
Veracity of those claims aside, I cannot question her other assertion: “I like really smudgy ‘you might’ve slept in it’ eyeliner.” And she really does – her eyeliner is proudly, boldly, deeply black. And smudgy as can be.
But Claudia and I are not just in the Ham Yard to discuss eyeliner. Heavens no. We’re also there to chat about sweeties, lipstick, Givenchy boots, and the bundling together of her favourite products as part of her collaboration with M & S. And the beauty of a nap. Oh, just read on and you’ll get the gist… //
ML: M & S + Claudia Winkleman: how did that happen?
CW: M & S came to me and said “do you want to design a make-up range?” I was like: what are you talking about? That’s the most fun in the whole world. But then I said “but you know I put on my make-up very badly”, and they said “yes, we think that’s hilarious.”
ML: Do you put on your make-up badly?!
CW: Sometimes. Well, I put on LOADS of black and then some white lipstick.
ML: There’s no skincare in the range – why is that?
CW: Ah – well, I don’t really believe in taking my make-up off, so why do a remover?
ML: Hold on, hold on. You don’t take your make-up off?
CW: No don’t be silly – I just keep on putting it on. This is the same stuff I wore in the 80s. I said to M & S “there are a few things I feel strongly about: eyeliner, lip salve, conditioner and sweets. Let’s put them in one set”. And they said okay.
ML: Talk us through how you do your make-up…
CW: To do my eye, I’m focussed. I’m leaning against the mirror so I can see and I get the eyeliner and put it on the bottom and top and smudge it with the smudger. I keep going with the smudging. I don’t like a clean line – god forbid – or a liquid line. No: loads of black. Smudge. Black on inside. Loads of mascara. On my skin I sometimes use a tiny bit of base, but mostly I leave it bare. I fake tan – usually with Lancome Flash Bronzer. It shouldn’t take you longer than 30 seconds. It takes me 8.
ML: Name your top five beauty products?
CW: Blistex. I really like an eyeliner – so I’ll have the The Game Changer. I leave it to get messy and if I’m going out I put more on. I would probably have my Thank You Wendy lipstick. Then I might have a miniature YSL Opium – I absolutely love it. I’d probably also have a packet of twiglets and Percy Pigs. I’m obsessed with Percy Pigs.
ML: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
CW: Go back to bed. Mainly just sleep a lot. The answer is sleep. I have at least one nap a day, two if I can get them in. Yesterday I napped for forty minutes – that’s the max. I’m part human/part cat – I basically just like to sleep.
ML: Do you have a secret skill?
CW: I bake bread, which I think might be inedible. I throw everything in – crushed pecans etc. I love bread. I just find it very relaxing to make and I make the kids eat it.
ML: What’s on your bedside table?
CW: Lots and lots of books that I have to read for my Radio 2 show. I’m currently reading Melvyn Bragg’s book about the peasant’s revolt in the 14th century. I have to read lots and lots of books.
ML: What’s the last item you splurged on?
CW: These boots by Givenchy. I love boots.
ML: What’s your guilty pleasure?
CW: Macaroni cheese. No – that doesn’t make me feel bad. I really like not going out: I have JOMO – you know how people have FOMO? I have joy of missing out. If I’m in I’m reading and having a very, very long bath.
ML: How do you relax?
CW: I sleep, I swim – I swim all the time. I just joined the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge and they have a pool downstairs and it’s amazing. Phone them and write about them – it’s unbelievable.
ML: We need to return to skincare – do you really not do anything to look after your skin?
CW: Well skincare feels a bit vain. I never have knowingly taken my make-up off in the evening. I go to sleep with make-up on – I’m much hotter in my dreams. Then I put more on. I did moisturise once and I love Eve Lom’s cleanser – sometimes when I get in the shower in the morning I put that on with the muslin cloth. That cleanser is satisfying – God knows that make-up has been on for years so whenever I do use it it feels good. I’ve also used Creme de la Mer before and I felt like I might’ve looked 11.
ML: Final q: you’re a journalist in the public eye – is there any conflict there?
CW: I’m on the journalist side – I don’t really feel like I’m in the public eye. I’ve never been recognised in my life. I get the tube four times a day. I was recognised once and someone said “can you sign this? Thank you so much Davina.” So I signed it Davina – she won’t mind. I don’t do public eye and red carpet stuff unless I have to. I read out loud for a living, I do a bit of telly. When that stops, I’ll go back to writing.
Claudia at M & S will be out on the 21st of November here.