New to the Essence Music Festival stage this year is, YouTube sensation turned soulful jazz darling, Andra Day; the California native who took this year’s BET Awards by storm with her new song, “Rise Up.” The fresh-faced singer whose beauty and musical style channel old hollywood as a cross between Billie Holiday and Lena Horn took a break in between shows to give us the scoop on rockabilly culture, red lips, and Lucille Ball.
ESSENCE: Andra, You’re obviously a beauty girl. Who would you say are your beauty icons?
Andra Day: I definitely take influence from Old Hollywood beauty; people like Lena Horn, Dorothy Dandridge and Lucille Ball. I’m also inspired by Rockabilly culture, which is kind of a big thing here in Southern California. I fell in love with is because its such a stand out look; the bold lips and curls tied with a headscarf. Wherever you go with it, it’s a look that screams, “I’ve arrived.”
ESSENCE: Do you have a standard beauty look, or are you very beauty-fluid?
Day: I do have a standard beauty look, and it’s not very subtle either! I like eyeliner out to my eyebrows and bold lips. My main go-to lipsticks are MAC Lady Danger or YSL’s Le Orange; when I pair it with cherry lip liner it gives me the look I want.
ESSENCE: Name three beauty items that you absolutely must have with you at all times.
Day: Definitely a bandana to tie my hair up. Otherwise, I’d have to comb it and that would be a nightmare! I also need to keep eye liner and a red lipstick.
ESSENCE: Is there a beauty treatment that you dread doing?
Day: Plucking my eyebrows! It’s the one thing that when it’s time to do it I’m really just like, “can we just leave them how they are?”
ESSENCE: No one likes waxing! What about skincare, would you say it’s a big deal or are you more makeup focused?
Day: I’m definitely much more skin care focused. It’s important because I have acne prone skin. I use moisturizer that has sunscreen and an acne treatment built in so it keeps any skin issues at bay. So, that happens every morning, and at nighttime, I like to use face wipes with vitamin E.
ESSENCE: As a beauty girl, what are your thoughts on nail art? Friend or foe?
Day: I actually like to keep my nails a solid color since everything else is so highly stylized. I typically want my nail to be a solid to compliment the rest of my look. If I’m up to it, sometimes I’ll do a stripe down the middle of my nail in a contrasting color.
ESSENCE: Do you have a signature scent?
Day: Yes. I love Jimmy Choo’s Flash fragrance.
ESSENCE: Do you have an alter ego and if so, what color lipstick does she wear?
Day: I do have an alter ego, although, I feel like I’m sharing it with everyone now. So, I guess now my alter ego is changing. She’s super chill and she doesn’t wear lipstick. I think my alter ego is the opposite of my usual makeup look. She just likes comfy sweats and a clean face.