Christine Quinn's Makeup Collab With Ciaté Is Every Bit as Sassy and Sexy as You'd Hope It Would Be
As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. If you buy a product we have recommended, we may receive affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.
If you're one of the millions of people who watch Selling Sunset (and who are not-so-patiently waiting for season four), you are well-acquainted with Christine Quinn. The show's ultraglamorous breakout star has captivated audiences with with her sassy personality and vertigo-inducing stilettos, which she wears with ease as she runs around Los Angeles selling multimillion-dollar homes and putting people in their place. If you're someone who loves beauty (which very much includes this editor), then you also know that Quinn has the most incredible hair and makeup moments on the show, from neon-green stiletto nails and hoop-studded ponytails to her out-of-this-world highlighter and patent-leather red lips. There was no doubt in my mind that a beauty brand would eventually collaborate with the reality star/real-estate agent, it was just a question of which brand that would be. The answer: Ciaté, a brand well-versed in celebrity partnerships.
Developed entirely over Zoom thanks to the global pandemic, the Ciaté x Christine Quinn Under the Influence of Sass collection has been two years in the making. Each and every product in the five-piece range is something you can envision Quinn herself wearing: a nine-pan eyeshadow palette full of sweet pink and mauve tones, a luminising powder that makes cheekbones glow, a plumping lip gloss, and two of the brand's heat-transforming lip creams that change colour if you have a cold drink or hot beverage (Quinn laughed that they had lots of ice lollies on hand for the campaign photo shoot). The outer packaging is equally reflective of its creator — a feminine pink with a badass black-and-white illustration of Quinn by her favourite street artist.
"The process was very collaborative," Quinn told POPSUGAR. "I won't name names but there are lot of brands that like to push out products and the talent not only doesn't care, but the brand will just say, 'Here are your colours, go promote it.' This was so much more than that. This was me working on it late at night, testing it on friends, coming up with colours, coming up with formulas, making sure everything worked, down to the way it opened up and the reservoir tips of the lipsticks. They made me feel like I was part of the family and like I was creating my own brand. I think that's so great because I got to put so much of myself into it and also have the backing and advice of someone who's a boss b*tch herself."
We sat down with Quinn ahead of the launch to get all the details on her first makeup launch, as well as to ask her all of the beauty questions we've been wanting to ask her since finishing season three. Read our chat ahead, then shop the entire Ciaté x Christine Quinn Under the Influence of Sass makeup collection.
Image Source: Ciaté
POPSUGAR: Has beauty been something you've always loved, or something you've discovered over time?
Christine Quinn: I've always loved it. Growing up, my mom was pretty strict. She is beautiful and statuesque, but she never wore makeup. It was actually my aunt and my grandma who are the fabulous ones. They always looked so good — my grandma always wore red lip and had her hair done once a week with the rollers — so I was immediately attracted to makeup from a very young age. I got my first job when I was about 15 years old because I wanted to start buying more makeup products and experimenting and testing with them. Well, I also got tired of shoplifting makeup and was like, "One of these days I'm going to get caught and CVS are going to kick me out."
Seasons one and two of Selling Sunset I did my own makeup because I love it and it's so fun for me. Makeup is something that I pretty much taught myself. I didn't have social media or Instagram until I was 29 years old and the show came out. I never followed anyone for tricks or tips. It was just something that I learned on my own by buying magazines like Allure or Marie Claire and reading all the tips and tricks. And so, I really just experimented and I pretty much taught myself and figured out what worked for my face. I'm also always about the latest and greatest [in beauty]. My favourite thing in the whole entire world is to go into a makeup store and just try new things. I just have fun and play with it, so it's just always been in my blood.
PS: I love that. I know you talked on the show a bit ago about being bullied in school. Was beauty any form of escapism for you at that time?
CQ: I grew up in theatre, and I was a class clown. I was always making people laugh, always getting into trouble and getting kicked out of class, but entertaining people was just something that was really fun for me. I didn't really know it was going to pan out, but I always knew I was meant to entertain.
Being in theatre wasn't really cool at the time. You were a nerd if you were in theatre, but that's where I learned to act and started having a lot of fun experimenting with different characters. That's where my makeup really transformed and I learned how to do stage makeup. I was bullied because I was so different. I always dressed differently and my parents never had money for me for clothes growing up, so they gave me a lot of my sister's hand-me-downs. My mom had a Singer sewing machine and taught me how to sew. So I learned to go to TJ Maxx or take my sister's clothes and sew them and cut them. And I was always doing really different things. I was ahead of the times and people just thought it was so weird. But I didn't care. I just had so much fun with it and now all these b*tches on the show are just copying me left and right, so I must be doing something right.
PS: You said you did your makeup for the show. One of the things I've always noticed while watching you is that your lipstick never moves. How do you do that?"
CQ: I've tried everything, and antifeathering lip primers just don't work. I think a lot of them have too much silicone in them, so what happens is they just rub and spread. The trick that I've figured out on my own is when I'm doing my foundation, I put foundation completely over my lips, and then I will take a makeup wipe and wipe around my lips and trace a line with the makeup remover. Next, I go in with the lip liner and overline my lip liner where I put the foundation. The foundation really helps set the liner and the lipstick as well, close to the lipline. Then I will take a powder and I'll use a tiny little brush and go around just so that it doesn't feather.
PS: Another thing I noticed (can you tell I'm a fan?) is that you seem to prefer glossy over matte lips, which is interesting because so many people stay away from lip gloss.
CQ: I do! I think it looks better and I just love the look of patent red — I think it's so gorgeous. I also love to wear plumping glosses on top [of my lipstick], but I only wear gloss mainly in the middle [of my lips] and then blot it out, because if you apply it all the way to where your lipline goes, it starts running down. I personally like the plump and the feeling of a little tingle, which is why I created the plumping gloss in the collection with Ciaté.
PS: So tell me more about your partnership with Ciaté. Is it a brand you've always loved?
CQ: I've known about Ciaté forever and [founder] Charlotte [Knight] is an absolute icon. Plus, being here in London is so near and dear to my heart. It's my happy place. Every time I visit I love the energy, the people, the fashion — I've actually been wearing so many London designers actually in season five. So it was a natural collaboration, especially since Charlotte is so wonderful. She came to me with this fabulous idea to do the [Flip Lip Creams] because it's a formula that she patented that changes colours. So we built that into a collection around duality because she's like, "I love how on the show you're the sassy villain who puts everyone in their place, but I know there's the sweet, caring, loving side to you, too." She wanted to encompass both of those aspects with the collection. You'll see that in the packaging, which is designed by one of my favourite artists, 1penemy. He's a New York-based street artist who did this very sassy, bad-girl vibe meets very girly packaging.
PS: Why was that notion of duality something that you wanted to get across with the collection?
CQ: I think that people who see me on the show but who don't know me and don't follow me on Instagram think, "Oh, my God, she's so crazy. She's such a b*tch!" But everyone has two sides. Human beings are three-dimensional and I think it's so important for us to realise that we all have different aspects of ourselves. It's the perfect collection and collab because I want people to be unapologetically the best versions of themselves. I want people to be like, "You know what? I am a b*tch, but I'm also caring and loving and loyal and I want to embrace that, too."
PS: How did you land on the colours we see in the range?
CQ: For the nude lip cream, I wanted it to be a more mauve-nude so that it wouldn't look too yellow or chalky. For the red lip cream, I wanted it to be more of a vampy dark, dark, dark burgundy — so I wanted it to start off as a beautiful red and then transform into some theme that was deeper and sexier.
For the eyeshadow palette, I wanted to do beautiful, everyday colours with the addition of sparkle and glitter shades if people wanted to go out and make it a little bit more fun. Because let's be honest, there are so many palettes that come out with the craziest colours and you're like, "OK, so I love four shades of this, but the rest of these I'm never going to wear."
I also wanted colours that were going to look beautiful on any skin tone, that was very important to me. When we were developing the collection, I called all my friends over to my house who come from a variety of different backgrounds and have a variety of different skin tones. I told them I wanted to play with makeup and I put everything on their skin and asked them if they liked the colours and they did. They loved them, and they also loved the fact that the eyeshadows and highlighter showed up on their skin tone.
Image Source: Ciaté
PS: Who is your personal beauty inspiration?
CQ: Dolly Parton, honestly. She was way ahead of her time. She was someone who said, "I accept and love all; I don't care who you are." I love that she has a heart of gold and has been a big supporter of so many people in so many different ways. She also puts on a performance. She's known for being glamorous, and fabulous, and funny, and witty, and all these great things. My favourite line of hers is, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap," and I'm like, "Girl, I get you. I get you." I just . . . I love her.
PS: Have you ever met her?
CQ: God, no. I wish. Oh, my God. I would sh*t my pants if I met her . . . seriously. No, I would. I don't think I could handle it.
PS: She's truly out of this world.
CQ: What a lot of people don't know about her is that she's actually another example of an amazing boss b*tch and businesswoman. She runs multiple companies, hotels, different properties. There's a lot of stuff that she does that people don't know about.
PS: Speaking of businesswomen, you now have your book and this makeup line. Do you plan on expanding your own businesses?
CQ: Absolutely. It's never stopping. It started with my book, How to Be a Boss B*tch, which was really important to me. I wanted to write a book because everyone asks me for advice. The book is not about me, it's not like, "I was born in 1988 on a cloudy day in Dallas, Texas." I wanted a book where I could help people become the best versions of themselves. Every chapter I teach things from manifestation, to getting organised, to talking back to your boss, to having confidence, to style.
This is just the beginning of so many business ventures that I have in the works, because beauty and fashion have always been so important to me. I had a conversation with Charlotte last night and I was just like, "All right, what are we working on next? What are we changing the world with next? What's our next latest and greatest thing?" So this is one of many, in addition to a perfume line that I've been working on, which I'm really excited about.
PS: I had read you created your own fragrance! I know you probably won't share the notes, but what was that process like? It must have been pretty cool.
CQ: I had this one fragrance that I loved. It was my signature and I wore it for years. Then everyone started wearing it. My hairstylist started wearing it. I got tired of people smelling like me, so I decided to work with a perfume house and I made about 300 samples of my perfume, just personally, for myself.
After I did my Vogue segment, there was really high demand for the perfume I made; everyone was asking me about it. I was like, "Well, if I sell it to you b*tches then you're going to smell like me." But I did limited drops here and there with my Xtine Quinn Closet, where I sell a lot of my clothes, and it sold out like hot cakes in seconds. In under one minute, the entire site was sold out and crashed. So now I've gotten to the point where I'm speaking with fragrance houses and we're really going to scale it. My actual perfume is going to be a little bit different than the one that I'm making because I still want to be individual, but what I can tell you is that it's a gourmand. The best way I can describe it is sexual cotton candy.
PS: Oh, my God, I love the sound of that.
CQ: Imagine the Body Fantasies at CVS we had in the US when we were growing up. It's like an escalated, sexy, deep version of that, and it's an eau de parfum. The silage was really important to me, so it contains 20 to 25 percent oil.
PS: What are you most excited about for the next season of the show?
I'm most excited about for people to really get to know me. I think that I felt this responsibility to always be strong and I translated that to, "OK, people want to be inspired; they want to be empowered, and I need to be strong for them." But I got to a point where I said, "You know what? I'm a f*cking human. I'm only human." And after the birth of my son, it was a really difficult time in my life, and you're going to see all that in season four.
I got vulnerable and I cried on the show and that's something that I've never, ever, ever done, but it was authentic. It was genuine to me; I almost died, in addition to my son. And since then, you'll see a dramatic shift in me. I realised I only want to be around people that make me feel good. So you're going to see a big shift of me being a mother and realising I don't care about this petty stuff anymore. You know? If you want to be my friend, great. We have new cast members who I absolutely love and adore. I'm so grateful that I met them and we get along really, really, really well, so I'm thrilled for the new cast members. I think the whole world is going to go nuts for them and it's going to be great.
PS: How have you adapted to all of the fame that has come from being on the show, especially after lockdown, when so many more people got hooked on it?
CQ: I'm really, really grateful because a lot of people come up to me and say, "X, Y, Z, because of you," and I love hearing that, whether it's, "I got my real-estate license because of you," [or,] "I felt confident to do this because of you." My whole thing is that I want to be able to be a positive role model for people, so it makes me happy knowing that I'm able to change someone's life, whether that's making them feel more confident, or making them feel good, or giving them style tips, or whatever it may be. It's not about the fame. It's just about being able to make people feel good, and I enjoy that.
PS: I mean, I can imagine it must be overwhelming when all of a sudden everybody knows your name . . .
CQ: It's honestly not, because everyone's been so fantastic. I respect people [who come up to me], because I know it takes balls. I've been in that position where I was a nobody years ago and there were so many celebrities who I admired. I would walk up to them and they would be really, really sweet to me. I was just like, "Wow! I will remember that forever." But I also remember there were so many people who I went up to that totally blew me off and I was like, "I'm never going to be that person," because it made me feel horrible. I decided that I never want to make anyone feel less than perfect, so I feel like that's my journey now — to really just inspire women, whether it's through beauty, fashion, or advice — or anything really.