When prepping for a celebrity interview, it's helpful to brush up on past articles written about your subjects. But when it came to chatting with the somewhat infamous Brant brothers about their collection with MAC Cosmetics, I thought it better to go in unprepared.
A quick Google search of Peter Brant II, 22, and his brother Harry, 19, pulls up headlines like "Little Lord Flauntleroys" and "Rich Kid of Instagram Arrested For 'Drunken Ruckus' at JFK Airport." You'll also learn that they prepped for the Met Gala one year by hiring a baby panther draped in diamonds. But despite the sensationalist headlines, I knew I'd probably be charmed by them.
The brothers are two of the stunning offspring of billionaire businessman Peter Brant and supermodel Stephanie Seymour. They're whip-smart, well spoken (with something of a transatlantic accent, I might add), and well educated, and they look damn good doing pretty much anything. They also share a lifelong passion for makeup, which won them their latest collaboration with MAC Cosmetics.
"We've been using makeup since around the time that you start getting puberty spots, so around 13," Harry divulged. "I was wearing a lot more makeup," added Peter.
"He had pancake face," Harry interrupted incredulously. "Serious pancake," his brother admitted.
"Truthfully, when Peter started to wear makeup, I thought it was weird — that's just what society had told me," Harry remarked. But once Harry got past the weirdness, he became the makeup artist of the two, applying Peter's makeup on a regular basis. The two playfully recounted how cosmetics were a source of strife between the two of them.
"If I ever wanted to mess with Harry, I would pour a bottle of wine in his makeup kit," Peter announced. "Remember that time you took a hammer to my watch?" he asked Harry. "That was because I had destroyed your makeup." "An eye for an eye is how I see it," Harry said scornfully.
Harry's love of makeup persisted, so his model mother introduced him to an important friend she had made on set. "There was a very professional makeup artist who kind of took me under her wing and took me backstage with her to a couple of shows," Harry said modestly. "I call her Mama Makeup." Some online digging reveals that Mama Makeup is none other than the legendary Pat McGrath, who taught Harry invaluable techniques, including how to apply highlighter.
But that doesn't mean that the boys chisel and illuminate like Instagrammers or YouTube vloggers. "I don't think you can learn how to do makeup on YouTube," declared Peter. Harry concurred. He said that their little sister uses online tutorials, but he believes they provide too much room for error. "Makeup isn't formulaic — it depends on you and your face."
That's why they worked very carefully on their collection with MAC, which includes skin care as well as a contouring duo, shadows, liners, brow color, and a lip stain. "These products accentuate the best features of someone's face," shared Harry. "Bring that to light and you can bring out the hottest parts of yourself — make yourself look and feel really good."
When Harry says "yourself," he means both men and women. When I asked the two of them about making men's makeup more mainstream, they suggested that there has to be a change in society. "Men's makeup has always been there, but it's always existed in the shadows," Peter observed. "Male movie stars, a guy on a runway, even a delegate doing a national debate — they all wear makeup. But we see it move in and out of fashion."
The pair reminded me that Mark Antony wore makeup when he was coupled with Cleopatra, which was scandalous for the time, and that John F. Kennedy may have been elected simply because he chose to wear cosmetics when televised, while Nixon refused and appeared sickly on screen.
"Men's vanity has always been something that's looked down on," Peter said. "But I don't see it as vanity so much as a way to project the best version of yourself to the world."
"I don't wear makeup for other people; I wear it for myself," Harry said, echoing the sentiments of so many women who have been confronted with makeup shaming. "You just have to say 'f*ck it' and do whatever makes you feel good."
If you're a man interested in wearing makeup, the brothers suggest you start slowly. "Ask a girl for tips . . . unless she's terrible with makeup," Harry deadpanned. "But concealer is something everyone should own." He also finds that brow products, highlighter, and eyeliner are both "revolutionary and conventional."
"Look at Johnny Depp!" he exclaimed. "You can find him incredibly sexy and he uses just a little bit of eyeliner — he looks like a rock star!" "Pirates of the Caribbean eyes," Peter added. "It always looks better at night."
Not convinced yet? To demonstrate that any guy can look sexy with a bit of makeup on, Peter and Harry gamely agreed to model three looks for us: a more natural "metrosexual" style, chiseled contour, and full-on glam. MAC Cosmetics senior artist Regan Rabanal, who has worked with Caitlyn Jenner and Lion Babe's Jillian Hervey, made over the Brants and gave us his top tips for re-creating their looks at home. Read on to see more shots of the beautiful brothers, then shop the MAC Cosmetics Brant Brothers Collection when it launches on June 2.