A former Northampton College art student has been included alongside the likes of The Pope, Donald Trump and Lady Gaga in a list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Billionaire businesswoman Pat McGrath, known as the ‘stylist to the stars’ for her work in the global make-up and beauty industry, was named in Time Magazine’s annual list of world leaders and rubbed shoulders with her fellow nominees at a lavish gala in New York.
It’s a long way from Booth Lane, where she took an art foundation course in the mid 1980s, and college staff are thrilled to see the progress of their star student.
Former teacher Julie Teckman said: “Pat’s journey has been phenomenal. It’s incredible to think just how far she has progressed since arriving at Booth Lane as a 16-year-old girl to her position now as one of the most powerful women in the world.
“Her story is truly inspirational and proves that if you work hard enough and channel your passion and ability anything is possible. She’s arguably Northampton’s greatest export and someone for the whole town to be proud of. All our students should look at her and think ‘that could be me’.”
Pat’s career has seen her develop a line of cosmetics for Giorgio Armani and enjoy a spell as global beauty design director for Proctor & Gamble, where she created collections for CoverGirl and MaxFactor.
She now has her own brand of beauty products, ‘Pat McGrath Labs’, available in Selfridges and can regularly be found at leading fashion shows around the world working with leading designers such as Prada, Versace, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton.
Writing in Time Magazine, supermodel and author Beverly Johnson, the first African-American model to appear on the cover of Vogue, said: “When I started modelling, there were no black makeup artists. We were just trying to get people to really see us. All you want to do is to be seen for who you are.
“Pat McGrath allows us to be seen. Her bold, beautiful colours make a statement. You usually don’t get that with world-renowned makeup artists. People are afraid of stepping outside the box.
“People of colour have long been immersed in beauty, from adorning our bodies and our hair in Egyptian times and in African culture to inspiring street-wear trends. But we have never really been celebrated for our contributions to the fashion industry. And now we have this woman, this creative genius, being celebrated not only for her artistry, but also for her business acumen. It’s something we just haven’t seen before.
“Pat must already have the sense that she can do anything, because you have to have that in order to be able to do what she’s doing. In our business, she’s a legend already.”
Next week marks Love Our Colleges Week, with a series of events lined up to lobby Government over the importance of fairer funding to support the work of Further Education (FE) institutions up and down the country.
Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett, said: “It’s essential the Government understands the difference FE can make to peoples’ lives. Nobody better illustrates that difference than Pat McGrath.
“Her achievements prove that anyone can achieve their dreams, all they need is a chance. Colleges give people that chance and the Government needs to recognise that they, in turn, need to give colleges the resources we need to be able to do what we do best – prepare the next generation of pioneers, business leaders and influencers.”