Even on Zoom, Hannah Murray has great posture. The British makeup artist comes by her enviable body mechanics honestly: As a lithe teenager growing up in Gloucestershire, England, in the mid-’90s, Murray trained rigorously at the English National Ballet School in London, where Diana, the Princess of Wales, was famously a patron. “I was determined and a perfectionist. I was blinkered and focused,” she says of her ambitions to become a professional dancer, until a debilitating injury sidelined her at age 19 and subsequent injuries forced her to hang up her slippers for good. But ballet’s loss has been the beauty world’s gain.
In her nearly 20-year career, Murray has channeled that same discipline into a skin-focused natural approach to minimal make-up that has earned her countless magazine covers and one very exciting new contract: In 2021, Murray officially begins her role as the first-ever global artistic director for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics as the brand celebrates its 30th anniversary.
“I’ve always loved the products. I remember when I first bought the pro face palette; it had every color you could possibly imagine, every foundation, corrector, and concealer—even the darkest espresso in 1992,” says Murray—a nod to an ethos that has always prioritized what she describes as “approachability, artistry, and the celebration of real beauty.” Although Murray has never met Brown, the pioneering founder who stepped away from her New York–based company in 2016 after 25 years at its helm, she has long admired her legacy, which she hopes to imbue with a “fresh eye” toward everything from product development to building a presence backstage: At Gabriela Hearst’s spring show in Paris, Murray multitasked Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Shine Jelly Stick in Honey, a blendable cream, on eyelids and lips for a wash of tawny color. This technique—as well as frequently reaching for the brand’s translucent Lip Balm to dab onto cheekbones for a “gorgeous glow”—offers stealth, Zoom-friendly tricks for perking up tired skin. (For anyone still hoarding pieces from Topshop’s well-loved and now discontinued makeup collection, which Murray developed in 2010, those cult-favorite cheek gels serve a similar purpose).
“I love beauty. I love enhancing someone’s character and attitude but ultimately making someone feel the best version of themselves. Beauty is individual and interesting and captivating. We should celebrate who we are”
“Ten layers of makeup, that’s not me,” Murray says, emphasizing her attention to subtle details, such as an extra-thin brushstroke of Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner along the upper lash line to define eyes “without looking like you have any eyeliner on,” and a fluffy brow courtesy of the brand’s Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch Up, which creates separation and adds a tint but never feels makeup-y. (“Brush, brush, brush the hairs upward,” she advises.)
Murray hopes that this kind of focus will help strengthen the brand’s authority with artists while also speaking to what she sees as the “flawless but light-handed” direction that beauty is heading—a boon to the work from home lifestyle that many of us have adopted in the COVID-19 era (and may never give up).
Murray tells us more about her brand new role:
What will be your main areas of focus at Bobbi Brown?
I will be working alongside the team on product development innovation, creating make-up looks for the campaigns, leading shows at New York Fashion Week and working directly with Bobbi Brown’s wonderful community of Global Artists. I will represent the artistry voice of the brand.
How would you describe your artistry and aesthetic?
Effortless and polished. I love the simplicity of a bold lip with flawless fresh skin and nothing on the eye. And equally, a defined but lived-in eye with perfect, glowing skin. I think it’s that balance that I always look for—a refined and polished finish with a modern nonchalance.
What do you love about beauty?
Beauty for me is to be celebrated. There’s a realness to it. I don’t believe in covering or erasing features and flaws but embracing our individuality and having fun with it.
How do you hope to influence the beauty world?
I want to build on Bobbi Brown’s message of real beauty for everyone, especially at this important time. And to continue to create products that are innovative and exciting, and do the work for you—to simplify the process. I’m also looking forward to bringing my European aesthetic and sensibility to the brand.
Hannah’s first campaign in her new role for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics will debut July 2021.