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Cover Story: Kate Bosworth

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The Violet Files

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Director Michael Polish captures intimate, dreamy portraits of his wife Kate Bosworth as the actress prepares for the Venice Film Festival with makeup artist Beau Nelson.

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kate bosworth

Kate Bosworth has had quite the summer. First, there was Bali, where she managed to disconnect entirely. “I actually deleted the email and text icons from my phone,” she says of her attempts to unplug from the Los Angeles scene. “There’s just the jungle, and a hotel I’d always wanted to stay at called the Hanging Gardens of Bali,” name checking the ne plus ultra of island luxury. “Then we went to the monkey forest,” she laughs. “There’s this big sign, with a person looking a monkey in the eyes, and a big cross through it. It was like a horror movie,” and she mock screams. “I bought a bunch of bananas, and I turn around and there a ten monkeys galloping up to me!”

Needless to say, dear reader, she survived the onslaught of fruit hungry primates. And then: “From Bali we flew to the Venice Film Festival, with Mrs. Prada,” she says. If ever there was a more delicious sentence, do let us know. During the festival, Miu Miu present a series of short films made by women (in conjunction with the label), known as the ‘tales’ and also featured a series of women in the industry in conversation with each other.

Here, Kate and her makeup artist Beau Nelson, discuss the pleasures of Mrs. Prada, film festival fashion, Kate’s secret skin remedies, and her necessities for getting ready both on and off the red carpet.

kate bosworth
kate bosworth
  • 01

    VIOLET GREY: So tell us a little about Women’s Tales, and the festival within a festival that Miu Miu creates.

    KATE BOSWORTH: It’s a series of conversations between women in film. It’s really such an extraordinary experience. She brings together a group of women artists; photographers, actors, film makers, producers. And there are two short films that are screened at the Venice Film Festival, by women. One was by Celia Rowlson-Hall, and Chloe Sevigny did the other. Celia’s is a silent film, featuring her choreography. Chloe’s is very dry, in Chloe Town. They were both really great pieces kind of playing against each other.

  • 02

    VG: And then you spoke at the festival?

    KB: My panel was with Zosia [Mamet], from Girls. She’s so funny. Anyway she’s producing a lot at the moment, as am I, so we spoke about the experience of being behind the lens, and being proactive in a different way. I think being an actor is an incredible experience, but at the end of the day it’s also a limited one. If you have the drive to be more involved in the collaborative experience, you’re going to become a director or producer. Obviously I’m married to a filmmaker, and we have a production company now called Make Pictures.

  • 03

    VG: Being a producer or a director involves a lot more control.

    KB: It’s so interesting. When you have more of a seat at the table, if you will, you’re just more heard. And obviously, look, it’s a frequented topic right now, women in film, and what that means. So I think to come on in a different capacity gives us more of a voice. And for me it was also very organic—I’ve always read a lot, and wanted to develop source material.

  • 04

    VG: What was it like being the guest of Miuccia Prada?

    KB: She’s so deeply curious. I’ve had the fortune of getting to spend time with her, and she’s so curious about the arts, cinema, and literature. And it’s things that I think a lot of real artists are interested in. I think what’s interesting about this time is the blending of artists and mediums. I remember only ten years ago, to think that I wanted to collaborate with a fashion label was taboo. But my father was in fashion, I love fashion, it’s just a different expression of art that I love. I remember at the time thinking, if Kate and Laura [Mulleavy, the sisters behind the Rodarte label and now the movie Woodshock] wanted to dress a movie, no one would find that strange, and here they are! I’ve never enjoyed the idea of being limited. And my favorite people in the world are like that. Mrs Prada is one. The people I relate to are rebellious in nature.

I think being an actor is an incredible experience, but at the end of the day it’s also a limited one. If you have the drive to be more involved in the collaborative experience, you’re going to become a director or producer.


kate bosworth
kate bosworth
  • 05

    VG: And of course, you got to wear some gorgeous Miu Miu.

    KB: I don’t work with a stylist, so I just went in to meet the girls at Miu Miu, and I saw this dress. It’s a beautiful dove gray. I really thought about Venice, and what it meant to be there, the Venice Film Festival is so iconic. It’s just so glamorous. So I really thought about how I wanted to feel. And yet, what I love about Miu Miu, is that even with the most elegant of dresses, there’s a playfulness to it which is important to keep in mind too. I also wore this almost burnt orange, groovy seventies suit. It’s not my go to, but I loved the idea of being of another time in Venice.

  • 06

    VG: Is getting ready something you enjoy?

    KB: I’ve never felt comfortable on a red carpet, it just feels like such an assertive thing to do. I mean truly, swanning around. It is so far removed from what I am as a real person in the world. But with that said, the way I’ve found myself able to enjoy it is to come up with a kind of character. So in that sense it does get creative for me, and Venice is a good example. I was thinking of a Grace Kelly or an Audrey Hepburn, that character, and working with hair and makeup. And because I’m flying solo when it comes to styling, I immediately started thinking about the total look. Because I think when you’re looking at a whole it’s about balancing!

  • 07

    VG: Do you wear much makeup in your day to day life?

    KB: What you see me wearing on the red carpet is as far as I’ll go with hair and makeup. On my day to day, I usually don’t wear makeup. I take very good care of my skin. I’m not obsessive, I like my cocktail and my burger like everyone else. But in terms of drinking enough water, and wearing sunscreen. I definitely think about that. I have this sunscreen I really like right now that I use as my foundation, it’s all organic. I find it difficult to find organic sunscreen that’s really good. They make it in France. Sun Si’Belle. I’m quite fair so I get sun damage really easily. I like tints or stains on my cheeks eyes and lips, I’m a minimalist. If there’s a multi function product, I’m a sucker for that. I need three things to get ready. Part of my job is hours and hours of makeup, so in my personal life I’m incredibly impatient. I do love Glossier, I love their Boy Brow. I like their concealer for everyday use. In terms of colors, I love Tom Ford, his gel eye creams. You can do a wash, that’s my go to if I go out at night—a really nice sheen-y wash of color.

  • 08

    VG: How do you feel about scent?

    KB: I love scent, but I tend to go more toward male scents. I love the musk-y, sandalwood, tobacco scents. I’m a huge fan of Byredo for that reason. Ben I think is just brilliant, I’m a total die hard fan. Gypsy Water is my everyday scent. I have one of the fragrance brushes too. I think he’s an artist, that just decided to work in scent. My body wash is the Bal D’Afrique. That’s also my bath oil. So I have a little hint of that on the skin, and then I have Gypsy Water as my per diem. I like to layer them. That’s also why I love Byredo because they kind of all speak to each other and work together. I terms of candles I really love Dyptique’s Vanille, it’s a classic but I love it. It has a tobacco note. It’s almost like some sort of old French manor. It’s clean but grounded in nature.

  • 09

    VG: Is there any skincare you can’t live without? Any tips you’d like to share?

    KB: In terms of skin care, I really love this natural ISUN oil—she literally picks the flowers. I think people with acne get nervous about oils, but this will not break you out, it’s too pure for that. It’s an anti-inflammatory, it’s very calming. The one I use is called Sapphire Facial Oil, and you smell it and it’s so gorgeous. Also, this is a good little tip, I learned this one on set. If you find that your skin is freaking out, you can buy colloidal silver. You’re supposed to take it internally, but you can also get it as a gel, and it’s so anti bacterial. Wash your face and then douse it in colloidal silver, and it will literally take redness out immediately. And if you have Rosacea, you should apply Vitamin K topically. You have to be really consistent with it. I think that’s the best thing on the market for rosacea. I did college anatomy in high school, and I’m very fascinated with the body! I always think things are snake oil until I use them and see the results, and I only take recommendations from people I truly believe. Everything I’m telling you I’ve been told about and tried!

kate bosworth
kate bosworth

The people I relate to are rebellious in nature.


kate bosworth


  • 01

    VIOLET GREY: Kate wore very different looks in Venice, the pink feathery number and the burnt orange suit - perhaps you could describe how you went about creating each of the looks, including which products you used.

    BEAU NELSON: Kate is very collaborative and usually has some ideas about how she wants to look. For the white feather dress, we decided that a fresh face would be best. I started with Kate’s favorite foundation Suqqu, which she has used for years and provides even flawless coverage that looks like real skin. I used Cinema Secrets concealer to refine the skin even further, and powdered using Laura Mercier Translucent powder only in the T-zone, with a bit of Laura Mercier Brightening powder under the eyes. I used a bright pink cream Pot Rouge shade from Bobbi Brown on her cheeks, with a blush brush treating the cream blush like it was powder. On eyes I used a creme shadow in an apricot shade, which gave her eyes a bit of a pop. I filled in her brows lightly with Tom Ford Brow Pencil and her curled lashes with the Chanel Lash Curler. On her lips I used Charlotte Tilbury’s Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, pressed in with my finger to make the product really settle into the lips. As a final touch on eyes I used one of the Stila Glitter shadows for a touch of sparkle over the creme shadow For the Yellow Dress, the base was the same. Her cheeks were NARS orgasm blush, and the eye shadow was NARS Duo in Isolde, but only the left side of the palette. For the Burnt Orange Suit, her base makeup was the same with a slight contour from Charlotte Tilbury’s Contour wand. I used NARS All About Eve Duo on her eyes which are my favorite lid priming shades. They create a natural looking glow to the eyes, while evening out the eyelid tone perfectly. I mixed the lip color from MAC Lipmix to create a custom Orange-red tone just for Kate, but a similar color is MAC Lady Danger or NARS Heatwave. I refined the edges with Lancome Makeup Bi Facil Makeup Remover, and a pointed q tip, then went back in with concealer for the ultimate sharp lip line. I used the same shade as the lip on the cheek using a soft blush brush, and then used my foundation brush to blend the color into the skin even more.

  • 02

    VG: Kate's known for her fashion forward choices. Is she similarly brave in her makeup decisions?

    BN: Kate knows what works on her both in fashion and in beauty. She’s definitely up for a calculated risk, but she has a very strong directional sense and knows when something is or isn’t working. She loves to play with color in subtle ways and once in a while she loves a bright lip!

  • 03

    VG: Is there a favourite beauty reference you have for her? Does she ask for a certain look?

    BN: For me, Kate’s face is all the reference I need. She’s so beautiful that you can’t help but be inspired when you are working with her.

  • 04

    VG: What did you enjoy most about Venice (presuming you got a minute to yourself!)

    BN: Wandering Venice is a pleasure! Getting lost in the maze of streets and finding fabulous little artisanal stores, or small family owned restaurants is a charm unique to Venice.

kate bosworth
kate bosworth