The Oscars: Secrets Revealed from a Makeup Artist
It's time to shut down the streets of Hollywood and lay out the red carpets. It's Oscar Sunday. Gowns are tailored to perfection. Brows are perfectly waxed and groomed, tans are sprayed, faces are perfectly botoxed and frozen.
To most of us, it's a time to sit in front of the television and watch four to five hours of celebrity recognition. If you're anything like me, you may watch in anticipation, secretly hoping for someone to have some sort of mishap. You know, the occasional nip slip, trip over the dress, etc. Come on, you know you're out there...
Don't forget about all of those lists. We love those lists. Best dressed, worst dressed... you get the idea. The thing is, most people think it's all about the dress, but believe me, it's not. Anyone remember Angelina Jolie's big makeup malfunction on the red carpet? No one was talking talking about her stunning dress, were they?
That's why makeup plays such an integral role to the success of anyone attending this grand event. As you will see from my average day on Oscar Sunday, makeup and hair stylists ensure more than beauty from the neck up.
Here are a few things you might not know about my day as a makeup artist at the Oscars.
"Tipping Out" the Concierge
Most of the people that go to the Oscars get ready for the big day in a posh hotel very close to the location of the Oscars, regardless of whether they live in LA or not. I will let you in on a dirty little secret - we stylists grease up the concierge big time. A very large portion of what I make in a day goes right back into the pocket of said concierge. You get the better clients, more pay, and hopefully put yourself in a position to get a call from them over the sea of other makeup artists. A lot of time the client will bill the cost directly to their room, requiring you to get the cash out from the concierge. Whether that is the case or not, if you get the job from the hotel, you can expect about 15% to go back to the person who gave you the job.
"Oh honey, you don't mind, do you?"
Let's just say I don't just do the makeup for my clients. I keep many non-makeup items in my kit just for this reason. For example, I consider myself quite the boob expert. I have taped them up, taped them in, covered nips in band aids, and even developed "the powder puff insert" to enhance the size of cleavage. Here it is - you take an old school pink powder puff, found in most beauty supply stores, and simply fold it in two. Then, simply stuff the flat side underneath each boob, inside an underwire and - viola! - instant boob job!
"Need a medic? Makeup Artist to the rescue!"
I can't tell you how many times I've had to nurse someone back to health the day of the Oscars, be it a nasty hangover, a migraine, or even almost getting hit by a car in the middle of La Cienega Ave. Yes, that actually happened 2 years ago. My clients were VIP's from a large sponsor of the Academy Awards, and although they were in very high positions in this company, the Oscars were a very new experience for them. They flew in from NYC, where walking everywhere is much more commonplace than here in LA.
The morning I arrived at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills they had decided to simply walk across the street to get a pedicure. Of course, they didn't bring any proper footwear, so they were going to wear the free plastic sandals provided back to the hotel. The problem was, LA was experiencing a downpour of rain that day. Yes, it does rain here, and when it does, the streets become extremely slippery. Needless to say, running back from the nail salon in plastic flip flops in the rain across La Cienega Blvd. resulted in my client going ass over tea kettle in the middle of the crosswalk. OOPS.
After being helped into the hotel by a few a good samaritans, I arrived at the room a few moments later to tears, cuts and slightly sprained knee. No problem. I iced and elevated the knee, dispensed about 4 Advils, cleaned cuts with peroxide, and bandaged her up. While I did her makeup she lied in bed sipping tea I had brewed for her, with a cold compress on her forehead. By the time we had finished, she felt beautiful and comforted enough to make it through the night. Can you tell which one just had the accident??
"What do I carry in that little bag?"
I always keep the essentials with me to help my clients be prepared for their big night out. You must remember, this is a LONG night. The only thing you'll have is that trusty little handbag for about 8 - 12 hours, and it can only fit a few small select items, so here is what I suggest:
Bendy straws (so you don't get lipstick on your teeth and ruin your lipstick.)
Small Nail File
Small Container for Lipgloss, Lipstick (the real thing takes up too much space)
Small Mirror with Powder Puff
Cash for Tipping, Credit Card for Emergencies, ID
Phone (Fully Charged)
And what about that white powder malfunction?
Oh, and about that white powder mishap Ms. Jolie and many others have had? Here's the secret to make sure you don't have that happen... That has to do with using makeup that is not specially formatted for high flash lighting. Stay away from foundations that contain an SPF, as the ingredient that protects you from the sun can cause a white cast on the skin. Don't put translucent powder under your eyes, the shadow can cause the flash to overexpose that area, giving you that raccoon-eye effect. And lastly, use foundation and powder that is made to be camera ready - here's a hint - anything that says HD in the name (which stands for High Definition) is specially formatted to withstand high flash levels.
And there you have it! All set for a night you will never forget! And neither, surely, will I.