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My Travelling Life

Looking good is golden when you're travelling, says Beyoncé's beauty guru

Celebrity makeup artist Sir John tells us about his travels - and shares a great tip for getting top treatment in transit

18 November 2018 - 00:00 By Claire Keeton

I travel often. Sometimes I am on a flight once a week.
My earliest memory of travelling abroad was when I went to Milan in Italy. I was assistant to (British makeup artist) Pat McGrath. She took me to my first show, Dolce & Gabbana, and then I went to a Prada show.
That was about a decade ago and it was my first passport stamp.
A perfect holiday must have sun. There must be sun and water and a beach involved. I'm a beach bum, I love the beach. I love to be in the water, I love the ocean so Cape Town's perfect. I'm a little bit afraid of these waters though, I hear that they have the most dangerous sharks.
When it comes to choosing a favourite city, I have a tier: I want to spend my youth in Barcelona and I want to retire in Amsterdam. That's it.
I'm not really a thrill seeker. I'm not a guy who loves mountain climbing or rock climbing. I don't jump off cliffs. I don't do anything I'm terrified of.
My favourite holiday destination is Barcelona. I love the Mediterranean, I love that ocean, I love the energy of Barcelona and the history of the Catalan architecture.
My best holiday is whenever I'm in Spain. I spend every summer in Spain and every New Year in Rio.
My most adventurous travels have been when I've done world tours and got off the bus at 3am after a show or a shoot. Recently, on my day off, we shot a Vogue cover with Beyoncé and the next day we had a concert in another country.
My best piece of travel advice is to travel in comfortable clothes that are very presentable. Your presentation is everything in the airport. Back in the '50s, people wore their Sunday best to go flying. When you look presentable, people are a bit more polite to you, they are bit more kind, they allow you to go ahead of them, they will sometimes make curtsies for you at the counter.
My one travel essential is my headphones. I love to listen to music - it takes me away. The security lines in the airport are stressful, they herd us like cattle. The airport gives you anxiety: no one has a good time there, so listen to smooth jazz, listen to some soft music, chill out, vibe out, and also have a glass of wine before your flight.
If I lost a bag, I would be most upset about my brushes. You can buy makeup anywhere, but I cannot replace my brushes. They are more personal to me than any other item I have.
I love luxury bags and I invest in bags. Both of my suitcases are just clothes and makeup...

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