It is an interesting classic story of riches to rags to riches— except, with Trinny Woodall it was more of Temperley to Zara.
Often ribbed by other British personalities for her ‘posh’ background (what with her boarding school education and coming from a wealthy ‘aristocratic’ family who, not unlike the late TPT, were well-connected with the London upper sets in their heyday), Trinny Woodall is a personality who not only commands the hearts and minds of millions by virtue of her having been a TV celebrity in her former life, but also due to her having burst right back into relevance the past few years despite having sunk to unenviable lows, and in spite of her age contrasting starkly with the influencers of the millennials-dominated social media scene.
If Martha Stewart was once described as a “54 year old uncompromising cyclone”, Trinny at 54 is quite possibly a feistier tornado-volcano by her own right. Unfazed by the quietly ticking biological clock, these days Trinny is known for her shock jock antics in the social media world (that she had partaken in since 2012, way before some of these young influencers were even legal enough to sign up for an account), unapologetically refusing to act her age and at the same time transforming the face of beauty and fashion as we once knew it. Perhaps, it might actually be due to her midlife crisis rather than in spite of it, that Trinny Woodall has found sweet success in reinventing and rejuvenating herself in a phenomenal way that has taken the world by storm in the form of stacking pots of guerrilla makeup fodder— simply named “The Stack”.
Although not Trinny’s first foray into entrepreneurship (she and her former TV partner-in-crime Susannah Constantine had dived into the internet business back in the 90s before it even became a thing, as well as have sold more than 10 books on fashion and styling and a range of shapewear on QVC, among other paraphernalia), this time round Trinny is hawking something that she is actually good at, as she has spent much of her life hunting down the perfect makeup and skincare to keep herself looking as ageless and classy the way she does. And the best thing about Trinny pushing this entire concept of down-to-earth makeup that makes everyone of all ages feel good about themselves is that the whole brand comes packaged with rays of affirmative self-confidence, and even (gasp) actually bears in mind women of colour who for decades had been ignored and shunned by Big Pharma OTC labels before Iman.
The fact is, a strong message of empowerment lies at the foundation of Trinny’s new makeup range, in that it gives new life to women over 40 who might be stuck in a rut in their lives, marriages (or lack thereof) and general disposition. After all, Trinny gracefully accepts her ageing— her incantations are more often than not geared towards the real women around her age who feel more and more overwhelmed by the influx of the influencer culture the more they partake in social media. In a sense, Trinny’s brand ethos draws women in not just because she is refreshingly kooky and they feel inspired by her, but because it is in fact age-appropriate and as real as can be. And because Trinny is also candid about the fact that she indulges in a spot of Botox every now and then for her face, and has never been evasive about her facial regime, both her fans and detractors alike hang on to her every word when it comes to makeup and skincare simply by virtue of her no-holds barred honesty in giving her opinion on whatever products that capture her attention.
This honesty is of course evident in her thousands of certifiable, unscripted videos where she slaps on a product or two in her bathroom (sometimes with the dodgy video quality of a potato, and sometimes with the products “attacking” her to great comedic effect https://youtu.be/mciWh4JvHCU) and rates them with the expertise that only a discerning middle-aged woman with the benefit of decades of experience putting gunk on her face in the course of living the life of a TV personality would.
It helps to give Trinny some street cred also that her body, which she claims gained 2 stones since she hit menopause, could be mistaken for a 19 year old’s (especially given her penchant for going bra-less) and given that she broke the internet once when she showed it off in a rather fetching bikini while on holiday in the summer of 2017 https://www.instagram.com/p/BWPzG28gqOm/ . In other words, Trinny is giving young influencers a run for their money.
Uncomplicated and made almost entirely of glass, Trinny has an allure most men and women would find polarising. The Stack is the same.
While one would not be faulted for fantasising about Trinny as one’s ethereal and recalcitrantly cheeky best friend from one’s teenage days of yore, there are others who loathe her straight-talking and seemingly unfeminine demeanour (not to mention some of her more objectionable choices of clothing that can range from Big Bird-esque feathery jackets engulfing her entire lithe frame, to the dodgy chunky Prada brogues that make her look like a PRC tourist in a china shop). Indeed, what you see is exactly what you get with Trinny Woodall— cussing, confessing to a weakness for Feast ice creams and chocolate, changing in the back of cabs (no, she was never in a Fake Taxi clip… not that I know of) and of course constantly flashing naughty bits (albeit accidentally) in the course of her crazed videos and all.
For a 54year old lady, it is a mean feat to have over 300,000 Instagram followers who are mostly genuine people engaging her in daily conversations. Trinny’s posts attract much scrutiny from the UK media, whether it be to pander to the likes of the iTV This Morning crowd or the sensible millennials who love her classiness, sense of fashion, style and inimitable zest for life. Her post comments are often filled with people shrieking with joy about seeing things with a different perspective after Trinny’s fashion recommendations, or having a newfound appreciation for their own self-esteem. Equally worthy of note is how Trinny isn’t content with having all the attention on herself, as she often features her assistants Chloe and Frederica (who are of a very much more different constitution, size, skin tone and age from her), her sweet daughter Lyla and other celebrity UK-based fashion/beauty names like Caroline Hirons and Nadine Bagot in the fray.
As most of her faithful #TrinnyTribe would know, Trinny has an eccentric approach to life and has a delightful penchant for doing things absolutely haphazardly. The good thing about transparent women like her is that she comes off as very much a best friend more than anything else, so when she kept getting thrown out of Zara for Instagramming videos of herself trying on their clothes to recommend to her legions of #TrinnyTribe across the world, many rooted for her and wrote in droves to the Zara management to pressure them into letting her film those videos. Unsurprisingly, it worked— resulting in a complete about-turn of Zara’s policies where they eventually allowed her to continue transmitting visual evidence of her madcap adventures amongst their gilets and sequinned wares, instead of her having to skulk around furtively like a wombat. It is not every day that a big international name changes their policies for one woman, so this was testament to the fact that Trinny is fast becoming a force to reckon with (all over again) in the high street fashion industry.
But before this article ends on a gushing note, it is absolutely critical to append a significant footnote in the form of a proper review of the most raved about item in her Stack stable: the “BFF”.
Touted as a sort of love-child of a tinted moisturiser and BB cream, the BFF as a “skin perfector” had been getting a lot of praise from the get-go, by the women who had purchased it. At first I was afraid, I was petrified… I was genuinely suspicious of how this seemingly miraculous thing would work with my rather adolescent-natured skin that was prone to acne and the resulting dark marks even though my skin was relatively decent for the most part.
Bearing in mind that I am a lady for whom makeup serves only as a last-resort effort to look halfway human (except when I am required to by decorum for official professional work purposes) in disastrously humid Singapore, I went in with the prejudice that all the foundation and makeup in the world would never ever be able to make me feel as liberated and confident as I do when I do not have any makeup on. Regardless, I did my Match2Me on the Trinny London website: an algorithm-based feature that uses the manual input of skin/hair/eye colour coordination of hundreds of real women, to suggest to you what colour or shade of lip tint or BFF or Just A Touch best matches your unique individual features— and I ordered my BFF in the suggested shade.
To my pleasant surprise, it arrived by DHL barely 3 days later in its signature immaculate packaging. After I tried it on, I found that the BFF really did live up to the hype of all the Beta users who raved about it— I almost didn’t notice it after I had rubbed it all over my uneven skin toned-face, and it even did a decent job of slightly covering up my dark acne marks from the past, giving the impression that I was somewhat wearing some makeup but not overdoing it.
As the Stack prides itself in being so idiot-proof that it can be smeared on while on the go with one’s fingers (as Trinny Woodall often does, oh for instance, on a ski lift while holidaying in France https://www.instagram.com/p/BSROoF-Aso2/ ), I felt the BFF went on quite well onto my skin given that I am one of those people who prefer to apply my foundation with my fingers rather than sponges or brushes of any sort. It is only in this respect that I would think anyone else, particularly someone with a penchant for using said implements to apply their makeup, would have some issues trying to recalibrate their habits or routine. Another thing I felt could be bettered was that the smell reminded me too much of my Banana Boat sunscreen lotion— arguably because it indeed has SPF 30 in it.
However, apart from those minor issues, I was really impressed with how the products and their pretty packaging measured up to the hype, and will be looking forward to buying more to add on to my Stack when I am able to afford it!
The Stack can be ordered online at www.trinnylondon.com; their Instagram account is at @trinnylondon. The BFF is S$82 inclusive of shipping to Singapore (they ship anywhere in the world— mine arrived in Singapore on a Sunday!), and they have a promotion where you get a free really cool-looking Trinny London toiletries pouch with every 7 items purchased. Gift vouchers can also be bought on their site, for you to give a special lady or friend.
The writer is a complete idiot with little to no expertise in makeup; this article serves no other purpose than to show how spellbound she is by Trinny Woodall and how someone with very minimal interest in makeup could actually fall prey to the sheer idiot-proofness of The Stack.
Bianca Castafiore, Singapore