Secrets of a New York Beauty Director
As Beauty Director for Lucky Magazine in New York, Jean Godfrey-June is one of the most influential beauty journalists in America. A glowing review from her in the glossy pages of Lucky can propel into the spotlight. That’s why her office is filled to the ceiling with literally hundreds of products. Dave caught up with Jean to get an insider look at the role of a beauty director.
Dave: How many products do you see in a year?
Jean: Thousands, literally.
D: What’s the most memorable press event you’ve ever attended?
Jean: It was an evening event for Hermes’ Rocabar scent. When we learned it was in New Jersey, no one wanted to go because it was so far away from Manhattan. I was intrigued by the invite, which had been painstakingly burned into a thin slice of the trunk of a tree. My sister was arriving at Newark airport that day, so I asked if I could pick her up on the way. We arrived in these woods at dusk; wwere put into a horse-drawn carriage and wrapped in blankets. As we clip-clopped up an old road, every so often, actors would jump out of the woods with flaming torches to highlight some of the ingredients from the fragrance. Up at the top of the hill was a stable from the 20’s—every stall was gorgeously, intricately tiled—and they’d built a long table that stretched the entire length of the stable, where we ate dinner on hand-carved wooden plates, with hand-carved forks and knives (!!!). After dinner we sat around a bonfire and listened to the perfumer talk about the notes. Magical, memorable, and so uniquely Hermes!
D: Favourite beauty products?
Jean: Lancome Flash Bronzer for Legs (I use it for body and face), Kiehl’s mascara, Prevage Night Cream, any YSL Volupte Sheer Candy gloss/lipstick hybrids and about six trillion perfumes.
D: Most memorable celebrity encounters?
Jean: When Tom Ford was launching his first fragrance, I went up to a room at the Carlysle Hotel to hear about it, and in the room was…Only Tom Ford, sitting on the bed and beckoning me to sit down next to him. On another occasion, I had dinner with Michael Kors and some of his team. I have never laughed as hard as that night —he truly could quit his day job and be an amazing comedian. Jean-Georges Vongerichten once cooked lunch for me and about 12 other editors for a Jo Malone launch and it was so personal and so delicious—he kept asking what we thought of different ingredients—he even refilled my water glass. And I meet a lot of celebrities in my job, but Uma Thurman was the one who I felt oddly the closest to and thus the most intimidated by. And it turned out we were wearing the same necklace!
D: What has been the funniest moment in your career?
Jean: Some things are funny in retrospect. Like when Diane Sawyer said, moments before we were going live, “Now you’re going to explain the chemical differences between all these self tanners.” (Most self-tanners have the same active ingredient.) Or when I accepted a Fifi award wearing an unintentionally revealing mesh top.
D: Most outrageous press kit you’ve received?
Jean: On several occasions, people have sent me thong underwear as a gift. Can you imagine anything less appropriate/professional/appealing?
D: Best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
Jean: Pat, don’t rub, your concealer. When you rub in concealer, you are essentially rubbing it off the thing you want to conceal and moving to another spot on your face—a spot that didn’t need concealer.
D: What are the most flattering shades of lipstick?
Jean: Black Honey by Clinique and YSL Volupte Sheer Candy #5 genuinely look amazing on everyone. Everyone!!
D: Describe a typical day.
Jean: Get up around 6am, get kids (age 9 and 14) and self ready, have breakfast, and kids to the bus stop by 7. If I have time I walk in the woods with some friends before going to work. On my way to work, I edit, write, return phone calls and emails. On an average day I’ll balance two or three events or deskside meetings with beauty companies, with several internal magazine meetings, with writing pieces for the magazine including my column, with editing the beauty section of the magazine, both text and visuals. Once a week I do evening events, and if I have one, I try to squeeze in a yoga class between work and the event. If I’m going home, I get there around 6, make dinner and eat with my kids. We hang out/do homework and all collapse around 10.
Jean Godfrey-June off duty
Favourite book: Just finished By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham, A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan, and Nemesis by Phillip Roth and I loved them ALL.
iPod playlist: I listen to Howard Stern on Sirius more than anything on my ipod!
Hobby: I love to spend time with my kids, do yoga, and write fiction.