In her Dazed Beauty community interview, Raisa Flowers talks Tank Girl, Rihanna and taking vanity to the next level
The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopaedia of creatives and emerging talent from across the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty. From supermodels to digital artists to makeup prodigies transforming themselves in their bedrooms, these are the beauty influencers of tomorrow who embody everything Dazed Beauty is about. Discover them here.
“I just got back from Paris working with Kelela, which was an amazing experience,” says New York-based make-up artist Raisa Flowers, the musician’s go-to beauty queen. A familiar face backstage at runway shows, Raisa describes her aesthetic as “bold, natural and ethereal” and creates intricate, avant-garde looks which oscillate effortlessly between the delicate and the daring.
As well as working as a make-up artist, including time spent as Pat McGrath’s assistant, Raisa is a muse and model, recently walking in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show. “I model to change the norm of what it is to be a model,” she says. “There are so many women who think they could not do it because of society and what not, but it is not true - we are all beautiful in our own ways.”
Her 21k-follower Instagram page is a kaleidoscope of bold and striking compositions of colour and style, featuring both self-modelled looks and known faces including Emilia Ortiz for the cover of Salty. Exuding individuality and eccentricity, Raisa is rarely pictured without her otherworldly contact lenses and elaborate hairstyles. “I grew up in boring Mount Vernon where everybody judges me for being different but low key they wish they could be as bold as me. It’s okay, I am inspiring people to be themselves a day at a time.”
How did you get into make-up?
I got into make-up because art has always been my first love. I didn’t always want to be make-up artist, I actually wanted to be a fashion designer but I was already doing make-up and I realised I was really passionate about it. I fell in love with the ability to make someone feel and look beautiful - that to me is magic.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
My make-up career highlight of this year was being able to do a beauty workshop for Nike. I was able to show people my style of make-up without overdoing it and that was an amazing moment. For modelling, it was me walking for Savage Fenty. I thought “Wow, Rihanna sees the vision and I am so here for it.” She is one of our generations most inspirational people. I really love her for that moment.
What’s your earliest beauty related memory?
I remember being really young and going to the MAC beauty counter with my mom all the time because she loves make-up so much. I remember her always buying the same lip liner, lipstick and her favourite gold eyeshadow. That is where my love of make-up came from.
Which fictional character do you most relate to?
I really mess with Tank Girl obviously but I feel like a lot of people now relate to her as well. Also Storm from X-Men is one of my favourites, she is just so fab. When I have grey or silver hair I channel her the most, she is just everything. That woman is just strong, powerful and fierce.
Who is your beauty icon?
Missy Elliot and Lil Kim are two of my beauty icons because they really took it to another level with the looks - the hair was fire, the make-up was next level. Their lip-lined, glossy lip looks were a staple for me. Also the way Lil Kim wore her bottom lashes was like - wow, so inspiring. They were pushing those looks to the next level.
What 3 beauty products are in your bag right this second?
Right now I have this Bioderma hand lotion that I am in love with, this brown lip liner from Kiko because I lost my favourite one and I have this Kiko lipgloss which is a dupe to my Fenty Gloss Bomb which I also lost when I went to London. That made me so sad.
What does beauty mean to you?
Honestly, it means so much to me because I love getting beautified and I don’t only mean wearing make-up. I love getting my nails and toes done. My hair is also the thing that inspires me to do my make-up. I am very into vanity. I take it to another level - I go shopping for hair products as though I am going to buy clothes. My nails and toes have to relate to each other, even to my hair. The love for beauty is next level for me. Even though I am much more simple with my looks I still spend a lot of time on them.
When do you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I first wake up in the morning. My lips are super swollen and my face is super fresh looking and look super rested (if I had enough sleep). That look to me is just everything, it is a real toned down look of myself. That is my favourite thing.
Tomorrow you wake up with another face of your choice. Whose is it and why?
I don’t think I would want another face because I love my face so much, I just would want my spider bites to go away because they are giving me a crazy scar on my face. Maybe Rihanna’s cupid's bow. I have spent a long time getting familiar with my own face and loving it so changing it would be a stretch for me.
It's 30 years from now. You stumble home at 3am and catch your reflection in the fridge door. What do you look like?
I think I would have the same face because I know I will age well and I will have the same piercings (hopefully more), and maybe bigger boobs that have been lifted to my chin, a smaller waist and a big booty that I worked on naturally. But I want to have more body modifications. Hopefully, I will have pencil thin eyebrows with a mohawk or something with three kids, living in my dream home. That is the kind of vibe I am trying to be on.
If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?
I want to have super zoomed in sight. I wear glasses so I haven’t had the ability to see the way I would like to without them. I think it would be major to see super zoomed in. I have trained my eye to see better with makeup but I need more.