Lupita Nyong’o Rocked Red Contacts & Black Lipstick on the Red Carpet for an Interesting Reason

Makeup has the power to transform. Usually that means upping the cheekbone ante with the help of a little contouring or erasing signs of brows over-plucked in the ’90s with some pencil. Well, Lupita Nyong’o just harnessed the power of makeup in a rather, um, unexpected way.

The 36-year-old Oscar winner celebrated the London premiere of her first horror film, the Jordan Peele–conceived Us, by walking the red carpet with a dramatic, if not vampiric, look.

Now, Nyong’o is no stranger to bold makeup—she even started a petition at her high school so she and her peers could wear it. But this time around the Us star redefined daring and rocked smoky eyes, black lipstick and—wait for it—bright red contact lenses. She embraced the scary sensibilities of her upcoming film by making spooky faces and really vamping (get it?) it up on Instagram.

According to her makeup artist, Nick Barose, however, Nyong’o wasn’t just trying to be scary. She was actually paying homage to empowered female figures of the ’80s. Barose told Vogue, “We wanted to avoid pretty red carpet looks and be more experimental, taking wicked beauty ideas from fierce women in 80’s music videos who really played with makeup that echoed their strong powerful attitude.” He used supermodel Grace Jones, musician Annie Lennox and photographer Irving Penn’s work for Vogue as references.

We don’t expect to rock a red contact lens anytime soon, but it feels like Nyong’o’s horror-inspired look is the optimal amuse bouche to whet our pallet before Us hits theaters Friday, March 22.

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
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