That's Dame 'Mother' to You: Pat McGrath Is the First Makeup Artist to Be Granted Damehood

Pat McGrath on November 14, 2012 in New York City.
Pat McGrath on November 14, 2012 in New York City.
Photo: Theo Wargo for Barneys New York (Getty Images)

Makeup mogul Pat McGrath, fondly known as “The Mother of Makeup” by fashion and beauty insiders, received a well-deserved honor by Queen Elizabeth II for the new year. Previously named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 for her services to the beauty and fashion industries, McGrath, who has since launched her eponymous billion-dollar brand as well as becoming British Vogue’s Beauty Editor-at-Large got a historic promotion as part of the Queen’s New Year’s honors list. She is now the first makeup artist and among a handful of Black women to be granted damehood, the female equivalent of knighthood (an honor simultaneously granted to race car driver and fashion designer Lewis Hamilton as part of this year’s celebration, among others).

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“I am beyond humbled that I have been awarded a Damehood in the Queen’s New Year 2021 Honors List as a D.B.E - Dame of the British Empire for Services to the Fashion and Beauty Industry and Diversity,” said the newly named Dame McGrath, 50, in a statement acknowledging the new title (h/t People), adding: “I am truly delighted and humbled to be given this wonderful honor. My mother’s obsession with beauty and fashion ignited my passion for this amazing industry and I feel blessed to have the privilege of working with some of the most extraordinary people throughout my career.”

McGrath expressed further thanks via a New Year’s Instagram post, writing:

I want to thank all of the amazing people in my life - my mother Jean McGrath, my family, friends, colleagues and you, my fellow Beauty Lovers, who contributed to this award. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that one day Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would recognize me to be amongst the incredible recipients of this honor both past and present. When I first launched my brand, PAT McGRATH LABS, it was designed to inspire self-expression and individuality. I dedicate this honor in tribute to Makeup Artists everywhere, I adore each and every one of you. Never give up on your dreams - with hard work, creativity and perseverance anything is possible- Pat XX

Speaking upon her already legendary career in 2019, McGrath spoke to Elle magazine about her other honorific, “Mother.”

Being considered as the ‘Mother of Make-Up’ is beyond divine. It was a nickname that started backstage and on shoots as a joke amongst friends. It’s always a giggle when I’m walking down the street and out of nowhere hear ‘MOOOOOOTHER!’ screamed at the top of someone’s voice.

No one loves beauty and cosmetics more than I do, so to have earned the title after twenty five years spent doing exactly what I love every single day can be summed up in one word - heaven. It is truly an honor to be considered a mentor by the new generation of MUAs, illustrators, designers, musicians and filmmakers. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my own visual universe and products reinterpreted by different voices, hands and eyes. J’adore!

Speaking on the development of her luxury line, McGrath also noted that every product is “universally flattering and tested—rigorously—on women of all complexions.” Capping off her latest achievement with a bit of kismet befitting her new royal title, on Friday, Pat McGrath Labs will debut its next offering, a crown-embellished Crimson Couture Lip Kit ($55).

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And as a new, hopefully far more inspiring year dawns, Dame McGrath’s 2019 advice reads like a much-needed resolution: “Love what you do. Work as hard as you can. Seize every opportunity presented. And most importantly, be cool, be nice, and treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.”

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?

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