Damaris Lewis On Her Friendship With Prince And   The New Urban Decay Collection Inspired By Him
Courtesy of Urban Decay

The legacy of Prince is one that will live on forever. Just ask Damaris Lewis, a model and dancer who for years was one of the singer’s foremost sources of inspiration. Deemed Prince’s muse, the stunner shared a bond with the late singer that she tells ESSENCE she’ll cherish forever, and one that stays with her each and every day. That’s why it’s only right that the inspiration behind Prince’s ‘Black Muse’ is the face of an iconic new makeup collection from Urban Decay that’s completely dedicated to the man who’s provided some of the most impactful hits of our time.

“I think the most valuable lesson that I learned from Prince about beauty was that it’s something that you feel,” Lewis says. “We often associate beauty with the sense of sight, but spending time with Prince I was shown the beauty in all things. That only happens from feeling how I felt and loving how I felt. When I would see him perform on stage, when I would see the band get ready, the whole day was beauty. The experience was beauty. That’s something that I can take with me for the rest of my life. Even on dark days, I can find something beautiful because instead of looking for something enjoyable to make me feel like beauty exists, I can look for something that makes me feel good.”

And Lewis admits that the electrifying Urban Decay collection is one of those things that makes her feel good, reminding her of her longtime friend in even the most subtle ways. “My favorite item in the collection I would have to say is the compact powder,” she says. “It’s such a universal staple. The compact having his symbol on it the way it does really reminds me of Prince every time I see it. There’s a picture of us, a selfie that I took with him in Paris back in 2014, and there is a compact on the table. That’s very similar to the one in the collection. So when I see the compact I think of his personal makeup set up and it always makes me smile.”

Just like the performer, the collection boasts an undeniable versatility, and can be appreciated by many. “For the makeup maximalist there’s so many colors to choose from,” Lewis says. “There’s so many different variations that you can use the palette with. But then for the minimalists, you might just want to pop a color on your eye, or maybe you just want a little bit of eyeliner with your lip gloss. I think there’s so much variety and so many options, anyone can find something that they connect with.”

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As expected, the collection is covered in purple, a color that Lewis says now has new meaning. “Purple means family,” she says. “It’s very lonely in this industry many times, I always say that the healers of the world don’t always have healers themselves. One of things that you go without for a really long time is your family. When Prince transitioned, it was so apparent to me that I wasn’t alone. No matter where it is, when I see purple it brings me joy, it’s a reminder to keep going.” Ironically, Lewis’s character on the HBO Max show Titans is a superhero who dons a purple costume. “Her whole ethos is about purple,” Lewis says. “It’s a beautiful and constant reminder.”

But it’s not just through makeup and television that Lewis is honoring Prince. “The easiest way for me to carry on his legacy is to teach the lessons,” she says. “He taught me to honor people. I’ve been saying, listen, learn, teach, repeat as my mantra for how I’m going to continue making sure that his legacy lasts.” Lewis says that’s exactly what Prince did for her, teaching her how to listen, showing her the benefits of learning, and repeating that. “I truly believe that when we listen to his music we’re actually learning about him, we’re learning about his mind, he’s teaching us things,” she says. “Then we’re going and saying those words out loud to other people. We’re passing on his music to more generations. So keeping his legacy alive for me is teaching, it’s simply being the best version of myself. I am an example of someone who was taught by him.”

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