Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

MAC Cosmetics x Teyana Taylor Is A Dream Come True: "I Always Told Myself This Had To Be Me"

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I've been obsessed with just about everything about Teyana Taylor since she graced my television screen nearly 14 years ago with that iconic episode of My Super Sweet 16. And while she's come a long way from the tutu, sneakers, big hair, and heavy bright pink blush, my phone interview with her earlier this month proved that no matter how famous she gets, she'll always be the down-to-earth girl from Harlem who makes no apologies for who she is. MAC Cosmestics x Teyana Taylor, launching July 14, is yet another representation of that. The line — and her aesthetic — is marked by a no-frills, simplistic approach stemming from beauty lessons she learned in the era she loves the most: the '90s.

Whether it's her albums which ooze that old school feeling, her cropped hairdo reminiscent of Halle Berry in Boomerang, or her chic spin on TLC's crazy-sexy-cool fashions from the decade, Taylor, 29, is intentional in bringing that same energy to her first-ever makeup collection. "One thing about MAC is when you walk into the store, it's flooded with these dynamic campaigns," she tells me in a phone interview. "You go in there, and are inspired by what you see in the photos. I used to always tell myself like one day, this has to be me, I want to have a campaign like this. I want to be that person. Now I am."

So ahead, check out why her love for MAC runs deeper than just lipsticks, how Ballroom culture played a huge role in her self-love journey, and the lessons she hopes to instill in her children.

On Her Longtime Love For MAC Cosmetics

Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

"The clear lip glass is one of the first makeup products I ever had," Taylor says. "It became one of my favorites before I even stepped into a MAC store because my mom always would have it in her purse." That said, this partnership was inevitable for Taylor. "It's a perfect fit for me because like I said, to already be in love with something before really even knowing what it was or before even being into makeup, this relationship is one that's genuine," she says.

But most important, however, wasn't the highly pigmented formulas or chic packaging. It was the long stance of inclusion that the brand has taken over the years. "For so long they've shown appreciation for the culture," she says. "Their campaigns would always be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and would always have women of color. There's a MAC store on 125th and Lenox where I grew up and being able to leave school everyday and to see like Eve or Missy Elliot in the window was amazing."

And now, as the fight for racial justice continues, Taylor notes that MAC showed their support for Black Lives Matter without even having to be asked. "I've been working on this collaboration for about a year and a half now, so everything was already done before everything that's happening now with the Black Lives Matter movement began," she says. "The product, the photos, the packaging, everything was done. But as a Black woman it reinforced my decision to collaborate with MAC to see that my concerns were theirs, and that they've taken a stand before. That sh*t is important, especially at a time like this."

On The How The Ballroom Community Taught Her Self-Love

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Taylor's vibrant collection is something that she says, is an homage to the community that embraced her beauty even she didn't. "Being a part of like the ballroom culture at such a young age, just literally 14-years-old, and growing up in that, everyone makes you feel beautiful and makes you feel sexy," she says. "You see all these people with strong, beautiful features, and look in the mirror and you feel like, 'Hey, this is what I look like.' They're embracing my cheekbones, they're embracing my lips, they're embracing my body at such a young age. Imagine like being in the ballroom scene and then being a tomboy at the same time trying to find yourself, they helped me with that. That's why this collection is dedicated to them."

On How Her Mommy Beauty Routine Has Evolved

Instagram/TeyanaTaylor

With an active 4-year-old daughter, Junie, and a son on the way, Taylor doesn't have time for the robust beauty routine that she used to. Nor, does she have time to peruse the aisles of big beauty retailers. "Usually, people go out to all the stores searching, or you ask their friends what they use, but everybody's skin is different," she says. "I personally stay away from that." Instead, she's adopted a natural skincare routine filled with products that she likes to find from street vendors in her hometown of Harlem, New York City.

"I like to keep it natural. Something as simple as African black soap, tea, tree oil, coconut oil moisturizers, or shea butter," she reveals. "I just stopped all the extra stuff. It gets to the point where I don't want to wear makeup either so I'll just do my skincare and grab my clear lip glass, put it on my lips, my eyelids and my cheekbones, and that's it. I'm in a state where less is more, and I love that more."

On Raising Strong, Black Children

Instagram/Teyana Taylor

With so much happening in today's society, Taylor and her husband, NBA player and rapper Iman Shumpert, are facing tough conversations with Junie. "I'm at a place in my life where not only am I the mom of a Black daughter, but I also have a Black son on the way," she says. "So it's time for her to be that big sister and to protect. These conversations are always hard because I never want my daughter to be naive, it doesn't matter what age she is. She will not learn to be naive. She will learn to take a stand, she will learn to protect herself by any means necessary and do what she has to do by any means necessary."

And while the conversation surrounding race isn't yet something that Junie understands, Taylor is adamant on teaching her kindness. "The most important thing to talk to her about right now is good versus evil, and love versus hate, because racism is something that's taught," she says. "These babies are innocent and they are pure. I could take my daughter to the park and another child may look her up and down or say certain things she doesn't understand, so I have to instill in her that it's okay for someone else to not look like you."

And so far, Taylor is doing a hell of a job. "She's already very strong and very fearless," she says. "She's always going to defend herself, she's really honest, and she doesn't take any bullsh*t. As she grows and as she gets older, the conversations will get more and more intense. But even where we are right now, the fact that she's able to comprehend and understand good from bad and love from pain is something that I'm very proud of myself as a parent."