'Can you imagine starting your modeling career at 50?'
,on which Lyons will be a guest tonight at 7pm. Prior to the livestream, the two held an extremely candid conversation for ELLE that touched on everything from single motherhood to burnout to body image to reinventing yourself, whether in your 30s or your 50s. Here, some highlights from their tête-à-tête, which has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Jenna LyonsOn pivoting to beauty:Marjon:How does it feel to be in the beauty space? How different is it from fashion?Jenna:Oh my God. It's so different. When you are making beauty products, you are providing the person—whoever they are, whatever they look like, whatever their age, their skin tone—something to enhance themselves. It's not about telling them what to wear. It's not about their style. It's about just giving them something to make them feel beautiful. And that is a place I really enjoy.
When you're making clothing, it's much more of an introverted thing. Whether you're a house in Paris or a Zara or a J.Crew, you're putting out into the world something that you're trying to get people to prescribe to, while beauty is much more individualized. No one knows what you're wearing when you walk out onto the street. No one's going to look at you and say, ‘Oh, where's your blush from?’ It just doesn't happen. There isn't that same sort of attachment to brand, to how much money you have. There's not the same classism that exists within clothing. headtopics.com
For my own personal experience, it's been amazing because it's less weight. I felt a lot of weight in clothes, and I don't feel the same way making eyelashes. It feels weightless and feather-like.Marjon:Beauty is probably a bit more accessible. Everybody can grab a lipstick or a moisturizer, whereas with fashion, it could be more price-prohibitive or, ‘They don't have my size,’ or ‘This is not my style,’ or ‘I'm intimidated by this.’ But beauty is just more indulgent. And I can't think of anything more exciting than to get a new beauty product in the mail and then try it. I'm sorry, that's like heaven for me.
Jenna:Literally one of the best parts of my new life is I get sent stuff. I get to slather my face all the time.Marjon:You also were in a Glossier ad recently, so you're doing all the things.Jenna:Honestly, I'm just a slut at this point. [laughs
] Because when I was at J.Crew, I had to watch everything I did. I had to be careful about everything I said. Now if someone says, ‘Do you want to do…’ I don't have to ask anyone. It's nice to be able to do that and to set my own terms. I was always under the covers and wraps of this big American brand and it wasn't bad, but everything had to be under the lens of, does this make sense for J.Crew? And so it filtered out some things that just didn't make sense, or people who just weren't interested in me because I was connected to that brand. Now I'm not connected to them anymore, so that's been amazing. Can you imagine starting your modeling career at 50?
Marjon CarlosChristopher Tomas SmithMarjon:I'm 38. I feel like people think that your life ends at 30. I saw some meme the other day was like, ‘You rot from the inside after 21.’ And I'm like, ‘No, I think I only got hotter. I feel like I only got better. I think I only got stronger.’ That is exactly the course a lot of women are on right now where life didn't stop for us at such and such date. There's no expiration date. I love that. headtopics.com
Jenna:I mean, I can't believe the fact that Emily [Weiss] wanted me to do [the Glossier ad]. I was like, ‘Your makeup is for 22-year-olds who all smear Vaseline on their face and look great. Have you taken a look at what's going on here? Hello!’ And she's like, ‘No, no, no, it's great. Our audience loves you.’ But that would never have happened, I think, five years ago, even.
"I didn't really know what was happening to me, physically or mentally. I literally was short-circuiting."Marjon:[Years ago] you were really set in stone into a brand and that was that. Editors didn't have their own side hustles, or their own industries, or their own brand. You were definitely siloed into one thing. And that can be really hard for someone who's creative and wants to think of themselves just beyond the title. So it's really interesting to see how editors and writers now have been able to do their own thing and expand on that. Their bosses aren't giving them a hard time. For me to do a panel when I was at
Vogue, it took multiple red tapes, and a lot of hemming and hawing. And now I think there's a lot more freedom, which is really nice to see.On experiencing burnout working in fashion:Marjon:It was super, super hard. I didn't really know what was happening to me, physically or mentally. I literally was short-circuiting. I couldn't come up with anything creative, fresh, or new. And I just had to kind of go cold turkey. People were like, ‘What's wrong with you? Why would you leave
Vogue?’ And I don't know, Jenna, if you felt the same way, people coming up to you being like, ‘Why would you leave that?’ And you're like, ‘I need to take care of myself. I need to prioritize my wellbeing.’ That wasn't really a part of the dialogue. Obviously, that is now. I'm just looking at headtopics.com
Naomi Osaka,for instance. I have so much respect for her for having said, ‘I don't want to do this.’ And I think that is something that is kind of great about the younger generation. They probably see how maddening it all has become and are like, ‘You know what? I'm going to say no.’
Marjon CarlosOn starting her television career:Jenna:This year was a total wash. Literally I'm like, ‘Did it even happen?’ I mean, I launched a television show. I don't know if anybody watched it, because we didn't have an opening and we didn't have a red carpet. It's like it didn't happen. There
wasa billboard around the corner from my apartment.Marjon:Well, that's meta. How did that feel?Jenna:Like it never happened. Seriously.Marjon:Why?Jenna:It's one of those things. Does a bear shit in the woods? I don't know. Did it happen? I don't know. It said HBO Max. I know my mother watched it. Besides that, I don't know.
Marjon:What was exciting about you about it launching, though? Even though it didn't feel like it happened, what was exciting about it, or nerve-wracking?"I don't really want to crush your spirit on national television. That's not fun."
Jenna:The idea of being exposed in that way on national television is not the most exciting thing. We had a showrunner whose background was reality. He didShark Tank; he's done really well creating shows that have a certain level of tension and reveal and emotional challenges and all the things that tick boxes to make a reality show work. But we had signed up to do half-reality, half-doc, so we had people from the documentary world. And I mean, you would have thought that I introduced a duck to a donkey. They didn't speak the same language. They didn't want to eat the same food. They don't have the same feathers. We ended up folding that down midway and just going with the reality team. And so I had to hold my reputation and the way I was portrayed. You know the game where you hold the egg and you run from one side to the other? I felt like I was doing that the entire time: Here I am. Don't fuck me up. Don't break me. So it was very nerve-wracking, the whole thing. Have you ever done TV?
Marjon:No. I mean, HBO Max, call me.Jenna:I would not be surprised. Read more: ELLE Magazine (US) »
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