Tips for nailing an airbrushed look, a test drive for anti-cellulite jeans, French girl beauty, and face rollers—it’s all in a day’s listen with Fat Mascara, the podcast that turns up the volume on the juicy world of beauty. It’s hosted by Jessica Matlin, deputy beauty editor at Cosmopolitan and Jennifer Goldstein, executive beauty and health editor at Marie Claire. The duo sat down with Ed to dish on everything from how an episode of Fat Mascara is made to tips for getting your foot in the beauty industry door.
Ed2010: Thanks for having us! First things first—where did the idea (and name) for Fat Mascara come from?
Jennifer Goldstein: It was Jess’s idea to do a podcast. She was really into the medium, but at the time I had only listened to Serial. After we hashed out the format, we started brainstorming names. We wanted something that conveyed how obsessive we are about beauty, but also that injected a bit of humor. Jess, genius that she is, suggested Fat Mascara.
Jessica Matlin: It just sort of came to me. We went through all of the other obvious names (Beauty Chat, The Beauty Corner, etc.) and none of them felt us. Then I thought, “What captures the ridiculousness of the industry?” Immediately, I thought of those insane jumbo mascaras. Every year, they get bigger, brighter, and more insane. It’s gotten out of hand, but I think that sums up the business. But I say all of this with a lot of love.
Ed2010: Why a podcast as opposed to video?
JM: Podcasts really are the best medium for thoughtful conversation. What I’ve always loved about beauty—even before I got into the business—was talking about it with friends. My best friend and I would talk about makeup for hours and go through magazines dissecting looks. When I got into the industry, I got to meet these creative people, which was just a dream. But naturally, due to space constraints, all of the conversations we had never made it to the page. When I got into podcasts a few years ago, I thought this was the perfect place to have an open, unedited conversation about beauty. That said, we’re open to expanding in new areas—a blog or vlog isn’t out of the question.
JG: Podcasts are great for multitasking women because of the convenience factor. Sitting down to read a blog or watch a YouTube video all the way though takes your full attention, at least for a few minutes. With a podcast, you can listen while you’re doing other things.
Ed2010: Can you walk us through what it’s like to record an episode of Fat Mascara?
JG: We record the news segments and “Raise A Wand” product suggestions on Tuesdays for the episode to air on Thursdays. So every weekend we’re texting and emailing each other ideas for topics to cover and checking social to see what the listeners want, and by Sunday night we usually have a lineup set. We record at our production company’s studios, and they stitch it together and add in the music and everything.
JM: Guest interviews take a bit more planning. We spend a lot of time thinking about people who really have a distinct point of view in the industry or have helped push it forward. We have a list of guests we’d like, and from there, we actively book them. Some are international or have extremely busy schedules—for example, it’s not easy to get Sir John, Beyoncé’s makeup artist, on a random Tuesday! We’re lucky that many people are reaching out to us now, so booking has become easier. The guests come to the studio for an hour or so on a Tuesday, and we sit around a table drinking Perrier or wine (depending on their taste), and just chat. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, and that’s the point. The show is about having a candid, off-the-cuff conversation about beauty, but really, show who they are as people too. Our conversations can run about 45 minutes, but they get edited down to about 20 to 30 minutes.
Ed2010: You’re both juggling your jobs as editors and podcast co-hosts. What’s your advice for anyone struggling to maintain a work-life balance?
JG: Don’t take on anything extra unless A) You need the money or B) You’re passionate about it. The minute a hobby or side project begins to feel like homework, it’s time to cut it out of your life.
JM: I agree with Jenn. Also, something my dad always told me is some variation of, “Nothing takes just 10 minutes,” and it’s so true. If you take pride in your work, you’ll get sucked in, and there goes your afternoon/evening/you get the idea.
Ed2010: If a Whippersnapper wants to break into beauty, what does she need to do to stand out?
JG: If you really love this industry and want to write and report on everything it entails, I would expect to check your social accounts and see lots of posts about beauty. And I would think you’d probably have a blog and maybe even a YouTube channel devoted to beauty. I wouldn’t care if you only had, like, 200 followers, because if you’re passionate about it, you’re doing it because you have so much to say and you just can’t not do it—not because you’re trying to become famous.
JM: Excellent advice from Jenn. I would also expect that you have knowledge of the business. Read about beauty retail in WWD and WSJ, Business of Fashion, and even sites like Racked and Fashionista are taking a more macro angle. Have a bigger sense of what’s going on in the industry than what your favorite blogger just posted or when the new Kylie Lip Kit launches. This will give you perspective, putting you far ahead of most of your peers.
Psst! Want more podcast recommendations? Check out some of Ed’s favorites!
Photo: Terry Matlin