From being the lead singer of the all-girl punk band Lunachicks, to her current role as ‘glosser in chief’ of Armour Beauty Lip Gloss, Theo Kogan has the whole “Renaissance woman” thing on lock.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to see Lunachicks perform live, a trip to YouTube is in order. The band’s unapologetic lyrics and style (which ran the entire spectrum from over the top glam to twisted beauty) has cemented their spot in punk rock history. In addition to her music career, Theo has – among other things – been a New York City nightlife fixture, stomped down runways for Patricia Field, and was one of the models/subjects in Kenneth Cole’s famed ‘We All Walk in Different Shoes’ campaign.
These days, Theo has been focusing her creative energy into her line of cruelty-free lip gloss, Armour Beauty. The line – which is formulated with a lip-smoothing blend of butters and oils including shea, avocado, mango, olive, grapeseed, and Vitamin E – is cruelty-free and divided into three catagories: shimmers, opaques, and the brand new vegan formula, Armour V. In these very self[ie] centered times, Theo takes a refreshingly transparent approach of sharing and celebrating the inspirations for each shade, which she personally develops.
We recently had the chance to chat with Theo Kogan about everything from personal style to the elusive work/life balance. Lucky for us, the bleach-blonde Brooklyn native who is known for her punk rock glare also likes a good laugh and is quick to crack a smile, here’s what she had to say:
As someone who is known for her personal style, what advice would you give a person who is trying to carve out a style of their own?
Do what feels natural to your personality and don’t force yourself into a trend or outfit/look if it feels ridiculous. But also take some risks here and there. Take a friend you trust shopping with you. Dressing can be as fun as an adult as it was when you were a kid.
From the Lunachicks’ album Pretty Ugly, to your modeling career, to being the creator of a makeup line, it seems that beauty is a thread that has run through many aspects of your life. What is beauty to you?
I have always been interested or shall we say obsessed with beauty. [Everything] from beauty product obsession [to] beauty’s role in modern feminism. As a child I had a gigantically tall Barbie Doll, which made me want to basically become a drag queen. Which I sort of did. I love beauty in all its forms, from natural undone to loads of makeup and lashes and lips. And I also find it very interesting when beauty becomes ugly. Such as people who may be beautiful but are ugly on the inside, which then makes them unappealing. Ultimately, beauty comes from within, but we are bombarded with so much noise from all forms of media to tell us it’s all about the outside. And it isn’t.
Each Armour Beauty lip gloss is named after an iconic cultural reference or person, which icons have you been drawing inspiration from lately?
We have some new Armour V glosses coming out soon that are inspired by bands from the early 1970’s. I feel like with all the various revolts and revolutions going on in the world right now icons and bands from the 70’s are on point. I am always inspired by the classics of music and Hollywood as well as some musicians today. I have been looking at a lot of pictures of Sophia Loren lately. She may be my current obsession. A current icon in music today that I love is Janelle Monae. She’s got it all, talent, style, personality, realness. Love, love, love!
While we are on the subject, a statement red lip is certainly the trademark of many an icon, what advice would you give to those who are shy to rock a bold lip?
Just try it people! Try wearing a bold lip that you wouldn’t normally wear for one day, or one event, one dinner and see what happens. You just might really like it.
What are the most universally flattering shades in the Armour Beauty line? Are there any shades that you can’t keep in stock?
Diana is one of our universals, it just makes lips look even better yet natural. Grace, which is a very bold fuscia with blue shimmer. And our reds – speaking of a bold lip – Barracuda, a blue red and Siouxsie, a warmer red are very popular.
Your most recently launched gloss – a light coral peach named Brigitte – boasts a vegan formula, why was it important to you to offer this option to your customers?
Yes, I have been working on a vegan formula for quite a while, and I am so happy to have it out. More shades are coming. I have been getting requests for years to have a vegan formula. Ultimately, I believe in it, I have been a vegetarian longer now that I haven’t been one, so I am so with the program there. I am thrilled to bring this line to my customers and to my new vegan customers.
Since becoming a mom do you find it more challenging to maintain a work/life balance?
It has been the biggest and hardest challenge of my life. Finding balance between work and life is hard in the first place and then throw a kid into it and wow. I am still trying to figure it out, but it’s getting easier the older my daughter gets.
Do you think that it is more difficult being a woman in business?
It’s hard to say since I have never been a man in business (heehee), but I imagine it is difficult no matter what. I just have always ‘done my thing’ without thinking about my gender. I just make like Nike and do it.
What’s on the horizon for Armour Beauty?
New Armour V shades, new venues, new products. Same badass beauty.