”My first foray into beauty was with eyeliner. I used to get the train to school and my friend always had the most amazing winged eyeliner. I never wore make-up at that point and was curious so one day on the train I asked her if I could have a go. She told me not to apply it on the train but I did anyway with disastrous consequences – it looked crazy and I couldn’t get it off all day!
My first great make-up discovery was mascara. I used to be obsessed with The Body Shop’s clear mascara but then moved onto black mascara.
I’ve learned that it’s better to accentuate features rather than try to hide them or create something different. I’ve done it all, but I’ve really found that highlighting the good and not focussing on hiding stuff works. To me, beauty is how you feel on the inside. Certain products can give you confidence, but you need to feel good inside to shine.
I really play up my eyes when I’m on stage. In theory, I’d like to be able to make eye contact with someone right at the back of the auditorium. As lights wash features away, at the moment I like to use a lot of soft, dreamy brown shadow and some Kiss lashes.
I’m so pleased to be an ambassadress for Kiss. I’ve used their lashes for years and make-up artists always whip them out of their kit. My favourites from the range are the Blooming lash, which looks very natural, and the Ritzy for a little more drama.
Animal rights are hugely important to me. Supporting the cause was also behind my reason for choosing to work with Kiss, who don’t test on animals. We’re in a time now where we don’t need to test on animals or use animal products in cosmetics.
My skincare routine is really simple. I use a shea butter-based soap I buy from Dalston market to cleanse with (but sometimes if I’m feeling fancy I use the Caudalie Foaming Cleanser) and a Josie Maran Argan Oil. Once a week or so I’ll exfoliate with my Caudalie exfoliant. I feel skincare should be natural and gentle.
If I had to reduce my beauty stash to three items, I’d keep:
– An oil – my grandma used to use them and I am a fan too.
– My Unite hair mask.
– My cleansing soap.
… And on the go I always have these in my handbag:
– Natural oils like marula (I also like the Josie Maran one or the one my mum makes)
– Tinted Moisturiser
The Quick-Fire Question Round:
To put me in a good mood, I listen to… Happy by Pharrell.
The best gift I ever received was… An Hermes bin to put my horse’s saddle in from my manager.
People may not know that I can… Lick my elbow.
I like to remind myself… Not to put limits on achievements and to aim high – my mum always reminded me of that. Winning the X Factor was amazing and proof positive of the power of striving towards your dreams (Editor’s note: AND talent. Leona = absurdly modest).
If I need to relax… I go and hang out with my horses. I love to be with them, even just mucking out their stables and walking them to the turn out relaxes me. I think that’s the best thing in life.
I sometimes lose my cool when I… See famous people. Mostly actors as I watch films all the time and rarely see them in the flesh outside of red carpet situations. When I see them, I’ll have a bit of a stare but don’t go up to people (though I always think it’s lovely when people come up to me!).
I had a ‘pinch myself’ moment… At a party thrown by Roberto Cavalli in Milan. Crazy Horse and Kylie performed – it was amazing!
I recently bought… Some Stella McCartney shoes. I love them (and like that Stella doesn’t make leather accessories), but I’ve almost broken my angle in them! I don’t wear flats – I’m a high heels girl!
I’m excited about… Rehearsals for Cats on Broadway! I’m heading to New York next week to start. I was thrilled to be asked by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and am really looking forward to it.”