For those of you unfamiliar with Cat Marnell, she is something of a nightmare, a nightmare who through time and soul-searching, we’ve realized we adore. During her stint as beauty editor at XOJane.com, she documented her harem of substance abuse issues through the lens of beauty product reviews. In an New York Times op-ed regarding Marnell-mania, Sarah Hepola epitomized Cat’s appeal, singling out the headline “I Loathe My Scary Dad But I Love My Black Eyes: My 3 Favorite Liners of All Time.”
At her best, Cat wrote hilarious, honest pieces about beauty products cut through with frank, moving asides about her life. In one post, she wrote, “You see, I only love myself when I’m extremely good-looking, and thus the beauty product stakes are always high. So you can always trust my recommendations.” And then there wasthe occasional piece like this one, “Get It Together, Girls: Every Pharmacy in New York is Out of Plan B! Every One!” a piece subtitled “Yeah, I don’t want to go on the Pill or wear condoms either, but it’s like… come ON.” The post earned 949 comments (a lot, even for a Cat piece), and responses like “XOJane is Written By Monkeys with Typewriters.”
Eventually, Cat went to rehab. And then, a month later, she was gone from XOJane. Since her departure, Cat’s been penning Amphetamine Logic for Vice.com. Some of the columns are beautifully written, some are vaguely infuriating, and all of them make us hope she’ll get relatively clean sooner or later.
Here are a few of our Cat Marnell posts, a greatest hits of the kind of beauty writing that there just ain’t enough of.
“Blasphemy Bonanza: It’s Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s Favorite Beauty Products, B*tch!” – Cat’s celebrity-obsessiveness—particularly with beauties who met tragic ends, a la Marilyn and Edie—is merely one of her more endearing qualities.
“Introducing… ‘Wanna Cyber?’ With Cat: ‘Icy Parents, Beautiful Decay in L.A., + What Are the Best Mascaras Ever?’ Edition” – To those who doubt Cat Marnell’s intelligence, we direct you to this series of reader IMs. It also proves without a doubt that girl knows her mascaras and might just be a delight to hang out with.
“Tangled Up: How to Get These F-ing Hobo Knots Out Goddamnit! (PLUS: The Secret Shampooing Life of Pillheads)” – It’s Cat’s guide to detangling unsightly snarls in tresses—whatever they may be a symptom of—and there’s a Bob Dylan pun in the title. What more does one need?
“Yes, You Probably Could Be Better-Looking: This Self-Tanner Changed My Life” – Our pale, wraith-looking selves have never been much for the self-tanner route (save for one or two flirtations with Tan Towels), but rereading Cat’s glowing praise for Lancome Flash Bronzer has us reconsidering.
“How To: Defeat the Office B*tch (One Cat Marnell) and Make Her Smell Fantastic at the Same Time” – Cat mentions Chanel Platinum Egoiste cologne in this, but mostly it’s just good, honest writing.
“Unexpectedly Killer-Gorgeous: Sally Hansen Lip Shimmer Plumping Balm” – Cat is a great writer any way one slices it, but Cat was a great beauty editor because of her knack for bothering to find items that have not appeared in the beauty pages of every magazine, items that one might otherwise miss out on. Like this phenomenal, unassuming looking Sally Hansen gloss.
“It’s Makeup Monday: 3 Secret Weapons for My Black-on-Black ‘Vampy Weekend Eyes’ Look!” – A beyond-useful tutorial for over the top, Anita-Pallenberg-esque peepers.