Best New Artist Grammy nominee Jorja Smith’s star may just be rising on this side of the Atlantic, but in her native United Kingdom, the singer-songwriter is winning big—including a recent Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist.
Now, Smith has more to celebrate, joining Dior Makeup as their newest ambassador, which was announced on Tuesday in conjunction with her debut on the cover of Elle UK’s June issue. Smith announced the happy news to fans on Instagram, writing:
So excited to finally announce my collaboration with @DiorMakeup as an official makeup ambassador♥️ Little 14 year old J would not have even thought about this while stealing my mom’s mascaras. Such an honour to be part of such an incredible house and a big thank you @elleuk for having me on your cover to capture this moment. More to come.
Interviewed by friend, activist and model Adwoa Aboah for her cover story, Smith got candid about her career, her style, and the reality of burnout when your career is on fire. And as a mixed-race woman in the U.K., she’s excited to be a fresh face on the Dior stage, and, as she told Aboah, also mixed race:
“[F]or young mixed-race girls at school to see me and be like, ‘Oh – I look like her!’”
While many of us may not see a dearth of mixed-race beauty ideals, it’s worth noting that Dior has been doing the work—both with its multiracial casting (their recent show in Marrakech was a brown girl bonanza) and with the full-spectrum makeup range they launched last year to rave reviews, including by dark-skinned YouTube beauty sensation Nyma Tang.
Smith, who prefers to look “glowy and fresh,” loves the foundation, as well.
“I really love foundation!” she says. “And I like that Dior has skincare in its products. Normally I just do a skin base, with a nice highlight and bronzer, then sometimes blusher, eyebrows and eyes—I like looking like me.”
Looking like herself also includes not being a sample size—an occupational hazard in the entertainment industry (one this entertainer-turned-writer can personally attest to).
“Having to deal with not really fitting into certain clothes taught me a lot,” Smith admits. “If I was 15, I would have been so upset. But you just have to wear what you’re comfortable in.”
“It’s being comfortable in your skin, and knowing that your imperfections make you perfect,” she adds. “You have to realise that you’ve got flaws and they’re fine – they just make you who you are.”
It’s a cogent reminder in our perfectionist culture. But as May 1 also marks the beginning of Mental Awareness Month, it’s Smith’s admissions of her moments of deep discomfort—especially amid a rising profile in entertainment—that are the most inspiring.
“I’ve learned I’m good at acting as though things are fine,” she revealed to Aboah. “On tour last year – it wasn’t that I didn’t want to sing, but so much had happened in such a short space of time and I was working so hard – it was too much.”
“I’d come off stage and cry in between encores,” she continued. “I’d feel so shit, then have to walk out and smile and seem like I was having the best time. ... It was a big learning curve. I’m not a fucking robot. I tried, and I can’t do it.”
It’s the type of vulnerability Smith’s fans look forward into in her music; and as The Root takes a deep dive into mental health this month, a moment many of us can all relate to.
“I’m really hard on myself, just like you are. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am,” Smith said. “I used to cry a lot, when all the doors were closed, when I did stuff wrong. I just got really upset. It’s now about finding that balance of being hard on myself but knowing when enough is enough. And looking at what I’ve done and being proud.”