Charlotte Tilbury's husband has never seen her without makeup.
That was the first thing we learned when Kim Kardashian West — glowing, beautiful, in a semi-sheer glittering bronze dress, her hair in beachy waves — took to the stage with makeup artist and pal Charlotte Tilbury at the Vogue Festival in London Saturday afternoon. Husband Kanye West sat proudly front row center.
"My husband loves me without makeup," Kardashian enthused. "But I would wear makeup 24/7 if I could."
Kardashian, who is no doubt partially responsible for today's facial contouring craze, says she has been trying to tone down her makeup lately, exchanging contouring for "non-touring" and giving up, most recently, false eyelashes. (She was wearing Tilbury's Legendary Lashes mascara instead.) She said her recent makeup-free Vogue Australia cover is a favorite, and that she's traded in her "huge makeup bag" for a travel-sized one, containing just an eyelash curler, nude lipstick, mascara, foundation, Joe Blasco foundation, MAC kabuki brush, a gold eye pencil from Kardashian Beauty, a little pot of powder, Smashbox powder and blush. Still, she won't give up contouring entirely: "I love contouring, and I love contouring my nose. I know everyone thinks I got a nose job, but I really didn’t, it's all contour," adding that she's "really into strobing right now," i.e., highlighting.
Kardashian says she was very young when she first began playing with makeup, borrowing Chanel lipsticks from her mother's custom-made lucite case. When she was 14 and began to wear makeup on a regular basis, her dad — who "wanted us to look age-appropriate" — sent her and her sister Kourtney to the Joe Blasco makeup school, and she still wears the brand's foundation to this day.
That training has allowed Kardashian to better communicate with makeup artists, but she also says she's trying to open up to new methods and styles. "I used to have such anxiety when someone new would do my makeup," she says. "Now I just really love seeing someone else's interpretation of what they want me to be. That's why I love doing so many different photo shoots. Every photographer has a different vision of how they want to see you. I used to fight to get my team on photo shoots [and now I don't]."
Kardashian says she will occasionally come across an old episode of her reality TV series, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," and cringe at her look. "What we were saying, what we were wearing, it was so bad."
Both Tilbury and Kardashian are big users of social media, putting much of themselves out there (Kardashian certainly more than Tilbury) for public consumption. "Once you decide to open this door, you really can't close it," Kardashian said of starting the show. "You have to accept what is happening, the positive outweighs the negative. I personally think it would be harder to play yourself, or to get people to like you as you, than to get people to like you for playing a role of somebody else. You can't just turn off." She talked about how, a few seasons ago, the family wondered if they could keep doing the show, they were getting so boring. "And then Bruce [Jenner] will say, 'Hey, you know…' and something wild happens," she laughed, referring to Jenner's gender change. "If you were writing a sitcom, you couldn't think of this."
Kardashian hasn't just put her life up for public consumption — she has publicly displayed her body, too. She mentioned how uncomfortable she was during her first Playboy shoot — "Times have changed," she jokingly added. She said that being a mom has made her more proud of her body. "I wake up every single day, at 5:55, to work out for an hour before the kids get up. I worked so hard both times [to lose weight after my pregnancies], you feel, at least for me, a sense of pride and I felt sexy again and I felt just empowered… If I post a nude selfie, I don't mean to offend anyone, I do what I want to do... That's what makes me feel good about myself. I felt so proud after the babies and getting back into shape." She says she's currently trying to get her body circa 2010-11 back — 120, not 135, pounds.
An audience member asked Kardashian what advice she would give to women who want to be more confident. The answer wasn't makeup. "Surround yourself with people who are really confident and proud and can teach you good things."