Pat McGrath has become the first makeup artist to be awarded a Damehood in the Queen’s New Year 2021 Honors and listed as a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) for Services to the Fashion and Beauty Industry and Diversity on the honors list for the year. In an interview with Vogue magazine, she said she was honored to win the award, especially since it was given for diversity in addition to her beauty industry services.
McGrath has been a strong influence in the beauty industry for some 30 years and is known for pushing boundaries with her theatrical, experimental, and inclusive approach to makeup. In her work, she uses various materials, including feathers, lace, prosthetics that blur distinctions between the traditional artistry of makeup and special effects work.
McGrath has also had great success with her own makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, a line she launched in 2015 known for its playful approach and for providing products for a wide array of skin tones. By 2019, Pat McGrath Labs was valued a $1 billion.
McGrath was born in Northampton in the UK in 1970, moving to London during her teen years in the late 1980s. In London, she met many people who would become her collaborators throughout her career, including the editor of British Vogue, Edward Enninful. McGrath posted to Instagram after receiving the damehood, thanking her mother Jean McGrath, who is a dressmaker and a first-generation immigrant from Jamaica, for inspiring her toward her career in makeup and fashion.
In her Instagram post, McGrath also thanked her family, friends, colleagues, and “fellow beauty lovers” for her award. She went on to say that she had never imagined that one day she would be recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for the honor, adding that when she first introduced her Pat McGrath Labs brand, the goal was to inspire self-expression and individuality. She dedicated her award to “makeup artists everywhere” and counseled them to “never give up on your dreams – with hard work, creativity, and perseverance anything is possible.”