I love her music, I love her message, and I absolutely love her style — British import Estelle has been making big stateside buzz finally, and she’s made an impression on me as a style icon to watch. Here’s why.

Estelle is an unconventional beauty. She’s got distinctive features, and she doesn’t try to be anything other than who she is. From her first track, the phenomenal 1980, she revealed her roots in the lyrics, along with some offhand beauty advice —

Boil a big pot of water on the stove to take a bath, Rub my face with Olive Oil, All my mates used to laugh...” ahem, is she talking about the oil cleansing method? No wonder she’s got such amazing skin!

Estelle seems to have sprung out already a self-confident, full fledged star. Her name’s more than appropriate in that regard. In the UK, she first made big waves in 2004 with her album The 18th Day, and she seemed poised to make worldwide waves, along with the then-new crop of British singers, including Miss Dynamite and Natasha Bedingfield, who she collaborated with on Free. LOVE that song! It didn’t happen for her then, and Estelle’s gotten some flack recently for speaking out against racism in the British music industry. Quite a few have branded her as a racist for her statement, but Paul McKenzie, editor of the urban music magazine Touch, agreed with Estelle. “There is a fashion for YWFs – young white females. They are the ones who are given the money and the time, and most importantly, people are patient with them. Duffy, if she hadn’t had this hit, would have been given a second chance, and a third. Estelle wasn’t. The people who hold the purse strings are looking at trends rather than talent. If you’re not a young white female – in other words if you’re black – I can imagine that is incredibly depressing,” he’s quoted as saying.

Estelle’s statement has been blown up into a beef between her and Duffy, which has brought attention to both artists. Estelle’s outspoken, but I think there is some essential truth worth considering in her brash statements. Either way, she’s flying a flag for dark skinned beauties and truly talented musicians. She’s got a gorgeous singing voice and she’s a skilled rapper. I think she’s going places, and I hope that kicks down the door for more musicians of her caliber.

Estelle’s look is simple, effortless, and easy to do. She plays up her beautiful eyes — she’s got eyelids perfect for bold makeup looks. Check her out in American Boy — her makeup is FLAWLESS. Glowing skin, big, beautiful kohl rimmed cat eyes accented with white or silver shadow, lush, mascara-ed lashes, and a pretty, subdued lip. Very polished, very fresh. She rocks the short hairstyle she describes as “Audrey Pepa” — Classic Audrey on one side, Salt-N-Pepa sass on the other. There are rumors that Atlantic Records has pressured her to change her hair and get her teeth fixed… but in this SOHH piece, Estelle says that’s rubbish. I sincerely hope so — the last thing America needs is another contrived pop singer whose style is borne from a Svengali who can’t see beyond a lacefront wig.

Estelle’s new album Shine is poised to make a stateside splash, and her hits are already blowing up on VH1 — American Boy is in regular rotation, as is Wait a Minute, which is produced by Will I Am, and relies on a heavy sample from Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME. (the Nina Simone version rules too!)

I adore Estelle’s makeup in Wait a Minute — glow in the dark eyeshadow rules! That’s a fun club look — bold white/silvery lids under a black light guarantees attention. You could use MAC’s white Kohl eye pencil to accent just above your lids, and Urban Decay eyeshadow in a pale silver/pink like Cherry or Midnight Cowboy would be ideal for this look as well (don’t forget your Primer Potion! Wouldn’t want to sweat off all that gorgeousness on the dance floor). Of course, if you REALLY want to glow, you could go bananas and use real ravers’ glow in the dark eyeshadow. That bright yellow would really pop on brown skin.

Like myself, Estelle adores reggae music — her Grenadian background played some influence there, no doubt! Her new album — which drops next Tuesday, April 29 — includes a
cover version of one of my favorite classic reggae tracks of all time, Substitute Lover by Half Pint. (new reggae fans, don’t sleep on Half Pint. I think he was one of the main inspirations of Sublime’s sound. Listen for yourself and see. Half Pint rules). Here’s Estelle’s new, Wyclef-produced version.

Love that hook. She’s a stellar live performer, and I am just livid that I missed her performance this week in Miami. I hear it was fantastic. Alas. Next time for sure, Estelle!

Are you feeling Estelle as a style icon? Do you have a favorite Estelle track already? I love American Boy and the title track, Shine, which just makes me wanna dance. That beat is bangin’! Can’t wait to cop this next week. Enjoy Estelle with me this Friday, bellas and fellas. Happy weekend to you all!

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Valoree says:
April 25, 2008, 10:50 am
I LOVE Estelle's style. She stands out but, I think she is going to conform to what the executives want her to be. I saw a picture of her recently where she is sporting braces. I am not against dental health but remember that is one of the things they wanted her to fix (change). Why can’t people see that there is “beauty in imperfection”!
Candy says:
April 25, 2008, 11:02 am
I really like Estelle from what I have heard. I've only heard "American Boy," but I really like it. When I first saw her, I was like "Wow! They let a chocolate girl sing?" LOL But seriously, there are not many chocolate singers out there. At least not in the mainstream. If the rest of her album is as good as you say it is Bella, then I will definately go and pick it up. Peace & Blessings Candy
Wes says:
April 25, 2008, 11:04 am
One of the reason's I admired Estelle was b/c she did not want to conform to the American standard of what is supposedly 'beautiful'. Valoree- I hope she doesn't change anything else!!!
Jamerican Muslimah says:
April 25, 2008, 11:18 am
I love her new CD! It's right on time and worth every penny.
Angie says:
April 25, 2008, 11:23 am
I love that you love Estelle, I second everything you said. Her sound is so eclectic, and she has songs for every mood. Also who ever is styling her is always on point, Estelle has the kind of beauty that is not always celebrated -as we know- but that our children need to see. Sorry to blog in your comments.
SoFrolushes says:
April 25, 2008, 11:37 am
I like Estelle. In the UK we are so lacking dark skinned sisters. Its like they only want the naomi esque chocolate singers like jamelia who are pop tastic. One of the things that i like about estelle, is that from her first album she had black artists guest starring her videos which shows a sense of unity which is lacking in the uk black music market. But yes she has got some article make-up hgoing on. reading this blog makes me wanna refine my technique ps if music execs do not like her hair now, i wonder what they thought of her back when 1980 was doing the rounds
Danielle J says:
April 25, 2008, 11:44 am
I'm excited about her and am adding her to my "list". I'm always on the look out for new artists and especially talented ones. I think she's beautiful and totally herself. It's not easy to be authentically you and I'm glad she's strong and proud enough to do so.
Ayosi says:
April 25, 2008, 11:59 am
So far I like what i hear from Estelle. She is refreshing, there is nothing generic about her at all. That remix is the stuff!
Tua bug says:
April 25, 2008, 12:11 pm
Ok... “beauty in imperfection”! if you have the means to have "some" imperfections fixed, please do so:) As soon as I pay off my 10 yr old braces, I'll be right there in some, in all my 35 years glory:) I'm enjoying Estelle. The cd is bangin from start to end. She is representin for us CoCo Sistas!
BluTopaz says:
April 25, 2008, 12:44 pm
I love the fact that she speaks the truth in an intelligent manner in these quotes. And re: that posted article link about UK record execs not knowing what to do with talented Black artists who don't fit any formulas; unfortunately the same holds true this side of the pond also.
TJ says:
April 25, 2008, 12:49 pm
Estelle is beautiful. I like her sound. I am always happy to see a darker sister get shine, because there is so much more to us than Beyonce and Alicia Keys. They are both wonderful, but it is great to see the whole spectrum of black beauty represented in the media.
Pink Bella says:
April 25, 2008, 12:58 pm
I am LOVING Estelle! I'd have to say "Wait a Minute" is my favorite track. It even inspired a blog post over at my spot (it was so appropriate and on time - upset with a dude after he went from a little friendly making out to full on "get down" mode! I had to tell him WAIT A MINUTE!) LOL! Anyway, I'm feeling her music and style. Glad to read more about her here. HAPPY FRIDAY
Kalila says:
April 25, 2008, 1:18 pm
I have to add that she's part senegalese as well, i like to see my British African stars do well, because it was never fashionable to be african when i was growing up. Anyways i love her eyes, but he's been around a lot longer than 04, i'm glad she's doing well, and she's speaking the truth about the lack of British soul stars, if joss stone, amy winehouse, adele, duffy even lily allen were black they would get one chance and one chance only if that!
Bebroma says:
April 25, 2008, 1:36 pm
Sexy but not slutty...how cute she is. As for the braces thing, from personal experience I know that sometimes an imperfect bite can cause you problems inside your mouth or when you eat some foods, like an apple...anyway, the girl can sing and harmonize! I'm not a fan of rap, I confess, but her rap I like, it reminds me of the way most rap was when I was a teen, there was a message and it wasn't negative. Once again, thanks for the exposure to something new! I probably would have never explored her on my own.
heyhey says:
April 25, 2008, 2:41 pm
I've been liking everything I've heard from her (she was just on Letterman rocking this cute gold dress and legs for days!), and this version of "Lover" has summer jam written all over it. :-) Apropos of nothing, you been following the Brownfemipower plagiarism "scandal"? Thoughts? http://jezebel.com/384139/allegations-of-theft-racism-rock-the-feminist-blogosphere
RObleu says:
April 25, 2008, 2:54 pm
The issue between Estelle and Duffy is just a small example of how the Brits treat members of their black population yet they believe that they're "not as racist as the States". This same treatment goes on in other sectors such as academia, where many brilliant black British academics such as Paul Gilroy have to come over to the States to gain recognition.
Styleis20/20 says:
April 25, 2008, 2:59 pm
Gotta Go and Buy this CD! I love her style!
BK says:
April 25, 2008, 5:06 pm
Thanks for the heads up.. off to check her out!
Ethanie says:
April 25, 2008, 6:19 pm
I saw Estelle two weeks ago in Philly and she ROCKED!!! Her spirit is very warm and is she is very real. She shared a little about her life regarding working on her first album and being signed to a US label for her second. She also spoke about her inspiration for this album. She performed a song that is a duet with Kardinal Offishall entitled Magnificent that is sure to climb the charts. Then there was a surprise appearance by John Legend for their duet on You Are. Needless to say, the sister is very talented and is a welcomed rebirth for music lovers. I am putting out my dollars for the album!!
LeAnne says:
April 25, 2008, 6:29 pm
Miss Dynamite is coming back? Wow! I heard Duffy will be the next "It Girl" but I think Estelle is on the other level stuff. She's going to make it. Hopefully American record companies won't try to changer her too much. I don't want her to start rocking a tacky hair weave. hairsmystory.com
Ethanie says:
April 25, 2008, 6:29 pm
Oh, I forgot to talk about/mention her makeup. It was just as good in person as it was in her video(s). I don't recall seeing braces when she smiled. I find it very interesting that the "music industry" will sign you with what they deem to be "imperfections", but switch up when the masses are feeling you. Why is that? Estelle is not the first and we all know she will not be the last one to be subjected to such. Again I ask, why is that?
che says:
April 25, 2008, 9:10 pm
damn that brought back some sweet memories of back home. great remake.
trinigul says:
April 25, 2008, 11:35 pm
I don't have the time to keep up, so glad we've got u. Thanks for the heads up.
regina says:
April 26, 2008, 12:06 am
wow, I am loving this chick's style! Very nice! That "substitute Lover" was hot! I am impressed (and I don't impress easily, which is why I usually stick to gospel music!)I may have to go out and buy her cd. And her look is flawless!
Jamaicandiva says:
April 26, 2008, 2:16 am
hey bella! love your blog & love estelle! i love how she's showing WoC that you don't have to use sex to sell records & be an amazing artist!!! Anyway, Congrats on winning & I can't wait to read your Kiehls review. . . can we expect that anytime soon? I'm just asking b/c i'm at my wits end w/ my skin & I'd like to try Kiehl's, esp. the Tea Tree Toner & the Brightening Facial Moisturizer you mentioned, but for a student, the line is a bit pricey unless it really delivers?! Since I trust you, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this brand before I shell out a lot of my hard earned money!!! thanks so much & blessings!
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
April 26, 2008, 3:32 am
Bella I just posted on her the other week. She is HUGE in Italy. I have heard from some people in the biz that she is in fact under great pressure by her American label to fix her teeth and get a weave. Can you believe that mess? She is perfect the way she is. We do not need another Black Barbie. Enough.
Aziza Ayo says:
April 26, 2008, 10:33 am
Wow! Her sound reminds me of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. But she's so individual too! I think I'm hooked! She's lovely.
ebonys says:
April 26, 2008, 11:28 am
You are always on the pulse of things! I never heard of Estelle until Thursday night when I caught a lil of her performance on Letterman! I did think there was something Caribbeanesque about her! She definitely puts a different interpretation on Substitute Lover! I'll have to seek out the songs you mentioned. She definitely sounds like she is someone you should pay more than passing attention too! Thanks for sharing.
Jai says:
April 26, 2008, 11:33 am
I've heard the entire cd and it is HOTTTTTTT!!!!!! It's one of those cd's that you can listen to over and over again without skipping songs. One of my favorites is "Shine". I hope everyone supports this sista by BUYING the cd next week. Here's a part of the chorus: Oh this is my song I'm just like you I gotta fight to stay strong Just cuz it clears it don't mean that it's over Imma shine While my lights on
Lee Coles says:
April 26, 2008, 1:08 pm
She rocked Letterman. A fitting career, given that her name means "star".
Calming.Corners says:
April 26, 2008, 1:11 pm
I totally agree, Estelle is amazing. One of her older songs "I wanna love you is awesome." I encourage each of you to check it out. She is a true talent.
Prima Donna says:
April 26, 2008, 8:21 pm
It does really piss me off that black british artists are treated like shit by the british music industry! If your talented and ethnic over here the chances of making it are soo much slimmer. Its unfair that Estelle has been criticised for her comments because she was speaking the truth! But people are too afraid of hearing the truth. I really wish Estelle the best of luck in her career, shes soooo talented and speaks her mind which I like. ive heard snippets of her album and it sounds fantastic so I will be buying it. Its great that she took the initiative to go to the states and pursue her career because if she stayed in England she woulnd't get the credit she deserves, they dont appreciate talent over here.
islandgirl550 says:
April 26, 2008, 10:36 pm
Estelle is the truth!!! I haven't been this excited for a new artist since... well... Lauryn Hill. Wasn't that over 10 years ago?
Ms. Independent says:
April 27, 2008, 12:25 pm
I rarely buy cds now, but I will definitely cop hers and Erykah Badu.
Jamillah says:
April 27, 2008, 9:08 pm
I can understand Estelle's point that she made. Duffy is a great artist but haven't you notice the ads for television shows are blasted "Mercy" in the past week. I don't hear American Boy or Wait a Minute in promos. I love Estelle's album( unnamed source leaked) she has an amazing flavor and swagger. Being a redbone sister, I wish that I had had that chocolate hue. But we all have to love what we are. I hear that rumor about them wanting to change her look. Why mess with sheer prefection? Love your blog...Keep up the great work!
TX Girl says:
April 28, 2008, 10:59 am
I like her style and her vocal talent. I kept looking at the photo on here. Now I know who her face reminds me of. She was also very beautiful. Meli'sa Morgan. Remember her? Even though she doesn't have the big hair.Their features resemble each other.
DH says:
April 28, 2008, 12:51 pm
Hey everyone :) The entire album is streaming on AOL First Listen this week for your listening pleasure.
NotUrAvg says:
April 29, 2008, 12:25 pm
I loved American Boy the moment I heard it and when I caught her performance on David Letterman last week I was like, "Okay, will be copping the CD." I LOVE her voice and her style-- she literally made me want to get out the bed and dance or call people and tell them, "She's the bizznes....check her out!" Also, she was just too cute....flirty, fun and feminine without being amped up on "sex" and she has the most beautiful doe eyes-- Like Bambi. I love the makeup, but I would love to see her bare-faced or more naturally made up...I know she'd be just as stunning cuz there is just too much there to not...graceful high cheek bones, full lips and PERFECT skin. YAY for beautiful, talented, gutsy, black women!
LV says:
April 29, 2008, 9:57 pm
I love Estelle's music and bought her CD. I love her hair and see nothing wrong with her teeth they obviously function well, but I did see photos of her today and she had braces. http://theybf.com/2008/04/29/2245/
makieya says:
May 1, 2008, 8:24 am
I love her too! Wait a minute...hmmm... lol
kikko says:
August 12, 2008, 5:37 am
Estelle I love you!!!! I'm not an american boy you are beatiful!!!!
Camilla says:
October 3, 2008, 12:16 pm
I just want to say I Love Estelle...Feels great that somebody else tink the same ;) Hugggs
the rave clothing store guy says:
October 29, 2008, 10:29 am
to start wtih - those of you touting how she doesnt care how she looks crap - look at those pictures. Not only is she wearing makeup and dressing in designer clothing, but the images are photoshopped. her music on the other hand is a breath of fresh air with great vocals! I hope her the best, and I hope to see her out on stage here in LA very soon.
Rave Gear says:
September 15, 2012, 12:14 pm
Her looks aren't so great, but i love her music. I cant wait for her next concert.


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