Lancôme’s La Vie est Belle Campaign is all about celebrating the power of community and happiness. With a powerful cast of happiness activists, including Julia Roberts, Amanda Seyfried, Penelope Cruz, French music sensation Aya Nakamura, Zendaya, and newly appointed ambassador Hoyeon, the campaign aims to showcase the unstoppable force of sorority and share the ambassadors’ vision of life through a series of video portraits. Shot by legendary fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti and directed by rising star Emmanuel Adjei, the campaign features an exclusive reinterpretation of the iconic song “What a Wonderful World” lip sung by the ambassadors — by women for women.
In an exclusive interview with ESSENCE, Lancôme ambassador Zendaya shares her thoughts on beauty, her off-duty makeup look, and what happiness means to her. The actress credits her mother and grandmother for shaping her idea of beauty and showing her that there is no one definition. She also touched on prioritizing joy, even during challenging times. She cites moments like the release of the “Savage Remix” by Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion during quarantine as something that brought her immense joy. As a Lancôme ambassador, beauty and happiness are major pillars of the brand’s heritage, and Zendaya speaks to the alignment she has in collaboration with Lancôme’s ethos.
Read on to hear more about how Zendaya takes care of her sensitive skin, what shaped her beauty perspective, and what being a Lancôme ambassador means to her.
Who has most influenced your idea of beauty?
My mom was not into the quintessential glamorous things. She was a teacher and focused most of her energy on being a teacher, but to me, she was still extremely beautiful. I wanted to be like her. On the other hand, I had people like my grandmother, who was always glamorous and liked getting dressed up and wearing heels. I think having both sides showed me that there’s really no one definition of what it means to be beautiful. I learned to embrace all of it.
On an average day when you’re not working, what’s your go-to makeup look?
Maybe a little concealer or a little blush. I’ll brush my eyebrows. And sometimes mascara, but I don’t always like having to take it off at the end of the day.
You’ve said you have sensitive skin — how do you take care of it?
I’ve learned to figure out things that work for me and stick with them. That was hard for me when I was younger. I’d be impatient and want something to work, like, tomorrow. Eventually, I learned that the results happen over time. As far as core products, I love the Génifique serum. It’s nice and light but very hydrating, and I especially love it when I travel. Keeping your skin hydrated is so important.
“Happiness means so much to me. I think with the year that so many people have had, it’s so important to prioritize happiness and the things that bring you joy and not feel bad for feeling joyful.”
What beauty treatments do you like to have regularly?
None, really. Just because, again, my skin is so sensitive, and I never know how it’s going to react to something. I stick to my core products and routine.
What’s the best tip you’ve ever learned from a professional makeup artist?
When I was a kid, I learned how to do my makeup pretty quickly because I often felt that other people didn’t do it right. I never use one shade of foundation. One thing I learned is building with cream foundations, brushing and buffing those into the skin—and not being afraid to play around. Oh, and to do your face after you do your eyes. I don’t understand why people do their eyes after their face. You start with your eyes! That way, any fallout doesn’t matter.
What do you love most about being a Lancôme ambassador?
I appreciate the spirit of collaboration and how we’re always trying new things. I like that in my campaigns, we’ve been able to be a little bit experimental while still maintaining the heritage of the brand. Beyond that, Lancôme is known for its color range, which is important to me. Also, there’s a quality to the products.
What is your first memory of discovering Lancôme products?
My grandma. She’d let me go in her bathroom and play with her makeup and do makeup on other people, like her or my cousins or whoever was around. I specifically remember a blue or blue-gray eyeliner. I just loved playing with it.
The idea of spreading happiness sits at the heart of everything done at Lancôme. What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness means so much to me. I think with the year that so many people have had, it’s so important to prioritize happiness and the things that bring you joy and not feel bad for feeling joyful. And even small moments count. When I was in quarantine, the happiest thing for me was when Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion came out with “Savage Remix.” That, to me, was so much joy. I was like, “I don’t care. I’m playing this all day, every day.” In the shower. Finishing a puzzle. This song is getting me through.