The Secret Message Behind Elizabeth Holmes’ Lipstick In The Dropout

This lipstick look has a backstory worthy of an entire episode

The Dropout

by Annie Vischer |

Anyone who has watched the first three episodes of The Dropout - available now on Disney+ - will appreciate how well Amanda Seyfried has captured the essence of the show's central character, Elizabeth Holmes. She's the wannabe Silicon Valley magnate who conned the world into thinking they would soon be able to get their blood tested in minutes during a trip to the supermarket, and persuaded investors to put up millions of dollars for a product venture that was years away from developing a working prototype.

At the peak of her fame, and a few years into her charade, Holmes was being hailed as the next Steve Jobs - an accolade that could not have pleased its subject more. Holmes had long admired the Apple Inc. founder, and even styled herself on him and his signature look - their mutual love of black roll necks was no coincidence.

The Dropout
©The Dropout

The first three episodes of The Dropout focus on Holmes' evolution from Stanford student to the face of Theranos - the name Holmes gave to her enterprise. It's only in the final scenes of the third episode that we see her switch from plaid flannel shirts to her signature roll neck, and embrace a little make-up. Her hand has been forced. Her board of directors were about to place her under 'adult supervision' and leach away her control of the company. The red lipstick and black liner come into play when Holmes realises she has to up the ante.

READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Elizabeth Holmes, The Model Millennial Who Hoodwinked Silicon Valley

That red lipstick has caused more consternation among The Dropout viewers than just about anything else. Some bemoan its poor application, others the poor shade matching. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair__, the show's head make-up artist, Jorjee Douglass, was keen to point out that everything about the lipstick look was intentional, and inspired by Holmes. 'I used liquid lipstick,' - Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Drama Ink in French-Bisou, £28.50, - 'sometimes not using the liner so it would bleed or fall out of line. And then sometimes I would use liner to draw a line that went off to a side.'

Elizabeth Holmes
©Getty

Douglass also thought long and hard about what would have gone into Holmes' make-up routine, or lack thereof. 'I think sometimes she borrowed it from her assistant. I think sometimes she kept make-up in the office, because she slept in her office. I think she had lipstick and foundation in the car - which is why nohing matched right. I think sometimes she went to bed with her makeuip on and thats why sometimes it was very clumpy because she'd wake up and kind of refresh herself as best she could.' said Douglass in the interview.

She was using her make-up as a weapon

There was something strategic about the make-up look Holmes adopted too. 'She was using her make-up as a weapon,' says Douglass, 'using this stereotypically sexy red lipstick, black-rimmed eyes kind of thing. She was selling that image to the people she was getting money from, but I feel like that also guarded her.'

There was certainly method in Holmes' product choice. In a 2011 study by Procter & Gamble, researches from Harvard and Boston University found that women felt more confident while wearing make-up, and that those wearing brighter cosmetics - like a statement lipstick - were seen as more competent and reliable by others. It stands to reason that Holmes, who initially pursued a degree in electrical and chemical engineering at Stanford University, would set a lot of store by Ivy-League-backed studies like this - and it is possible they even directly influenced her, now signature, lipstick.

Holmes knew she had to look the part. Speaking to her would-be designer Ana Arriola in_The Dropout,_Holmes says, 'when I was with Mark Zuckerberg at the photoshoot for Inc, he was wearing soccer sandals, flip-flops.' 'Yes,' Arriola replies, 'but you're a woman.'

Shop: The Lipstick Amanda Seyfried Wears In The Dropout

Gallery

The Lipstick Amanda Seyfried Wears In The Dropout - Grazia 2022

Lancu00f4me Lu2019Absolu Rouge Drama Ink in French-Bisou
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