Pat McGrath appears on the cover of the February issue of Allure, making her the first makeup artist to ever do so since it first launched in March 1991.

You can also refer to her as Dame Pat McGrath. Right at the end of 2020, Queen Elizabeth II added McGrath to the Queen’s New Year Honours List, a select group of those who are rewarded for having accomplished acts of greatness in their field. Queen Elizabeth II had already bestowed McGrath with an MBE (member of the order of the British Empire), the third-highest-ranking award, in 2014. But being a dame is an entirely different system and puts her in esteemed likes of Anna Wintour, Emma Thompson, and Elton John. It also makes her the first makeup artist to receive the honor of damehood.

“I am an entrepreneur, but I am a Black woman first and that undoubtedly influences everything I create. I know what it is not to see yourself represented and not to have a seat at the table.”

Below are some quotes from the profile. The full feature—with anecdotes from Marc Jacobs, Naomi Campbell, and hairstylist Guido Palau—can be found here.

On inspiration:

“I see makeup and color and just incredible imagery all the time. Mostly when I’m awake. To me, imagery is as important as the air we breathe.”

On showing up every day:

“I feel blessed, and I find that inspiring. How lucky I am, that my work is something that I’m obsessed with. And that I love.”

On not letting anything hold her back:

“I think in my career I have chosen to embrace freedom over fear. I have felt free to make the creative decisions I wanted to make, to take risks.”

The full feature is here.

Photos by Richard Burbridge and Kelly Marshall.