Tierra Whack has finally gotten the beauty campaign she's deserved all along. A critically acclaimed debut album? Check. A Grammy nomination? Double-check. Now, the Philadelphia native is the latest muse for E.l.f Cosmetics. "I wanted everybody to know that I did this collaboration with E.l.f. because this is like, 'Yeah, bitch!' you know?" Whack tells ELLE.com over Zoom. "I feel like I'm a big wig."
E.l.f and Whack are launching the #BIGMOOD Energy campaign for the brand's new Big Mood Mascara ($7), a clean, cruelty-free, and vegan formula for larger-than-life lashes. Matching the mascara's go big or go home vibes, Whack is also releasing a new song called "Walk the Beat."
With one dream collaboration under her belt, I ask Whack who she would like to work with next. "I've been thinking about Jim Carrey a lot," she says. "I want to pick his brain. I feel like there are not many people like him. And also Mary J. Blige. Mary has survived so many decades. She's so solid, and I love her so much. Not even for a collab; I just want to talk to them. Every day I wake up, I'm like, 'I hope Mary J. Blige is okay. I hope Jim Carrey is okay.'"
Ahead, Whack talks about her new campaign with E.l.f., her special relationship with Erykah Badu, and what to order at Wawa.
What was the inspiration behind the #BigMood Energy campaign?
E.l.f came to me with the idea, and I'm like, heck yeah! It made so much sense. I'm just so thankful. My mom, she's like, "Oh my God, you look so beautiful." It's in every store. So for me to be collaborating with this huge, amazing brand, I'm just like, "Wow, this is crazy."
How do you channel #BigMood Energy?
Big mood is just me being me 24/7, 365. I'm always in my mood. I'm doing what I want to do, saying what I want to say, being who I want to be. So I'm always giving that big mood energy.
A huge part of the campaign is embracing your most extra self. So what’s the most extra thing you’ve ever done?
I do so many extra things. Extra is regular to me, but my friends remind me every day, "Do you remember when you did this when you said this when you did this?" And I'm like, "No, not really." Because I'm doing random stuff all day, at the same time, I'm a simple girl. When I'm running errands and stuff, I might throw some mascara on and some lip gloss.
You're debuting a new song with the campaign called "Walk the Beat." Can you take me through your songwriting process?
I've always wanted a fashion show song, like a glam diva, it song. I remember when Estelle and Kanye dropped "American Boy," and I was like, oh my God, I wish I made the song. I needed a piece that makes me feel like a badass. So I got in the studio with my producer, and I was acting like I was on a runway, and he started pressing buttons, and I started saying random stuff and, "Fancy, fancy." He made the beat in 10 minutes, and I was like, yo, this is the vibe. I picture it in every store, every shopping mall.
Who are your beauty icons?
I was always obsessed with Lauryn Hill. Her skin, her face, everything. She's so gorgeous to me. This sounds creepy, but I love her skin. She's so chocolatey. I remember seeing her first album cover and being like, "Wow, this lady looks like me. I can relate to this brown girl."
Tracee Ellis Ross and Erykah Badu. I'm spoiled now because I get to call and text these people. Erykah and I, we talk almost every day. She gives good advice, but at the same time, she rocks with me because I am doing what I'm supposed to do, you know? So I know that I can go to her for advice if I need it.
What's your beauty routine?
I just started a new regimen: cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I exfoliate. Just making sure my skin is clean. I started using sunscreen. I'm trying to stay even.
You rep your hometown of Philadelphia so hard. What's your Wawa order?
I was just in Wawa the other night! I got the jalapeño cheese pretzel. That was so good, oh my gosh. And then I got a strawberry smoothie. I also got a Twix, but I think I lost the Twix in the backseat of the car. I love the broccoli cheddar soup too. It's so good.
What can you tease about any upcoming projects?
I change my mind all the time, so if I tell you anything, I'll probably be lying. But more music. I'm so happy I'm back outside now. I'm back talking to people. I'm just back.