Being a celebrity has its perks — money, fame, and fortune. But when it comes to living under a media microscope, superstars like Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé & Mariah Carey always have to look their best when they step out whether it’s dinner with friends or a red carpet. Needless to say, celebrity glam squads are a vital role in a celeb’s team, especially the makeup artist. We caught up with some of the best makeup artists in the biz Sir John, Tatiana “BeatFaceHoney” Ward, and Rachel Wood to learn what it’s like working with entertainment’s biggest stars.
Clients: Beyoncé (pictured), Karlie Kloss, Joan Small, and Chrissy Teigen
Sir John: I was [British makeup artist] Pat McGrath’s assistant, and I did fashion shows in New York, Paris, Milan. I was running around that whole circuit for a couple of years and met everybody. Naomi Campbell came along first, and then Beyoncé, and things started to take off from there.
What do you think it takes to really be a professional makeup artist?
You need clients and to also need to be an assistant first, because you cant lead until you can effectively follow. If you can be a stellar assistant to a really great makeup artist or the ones who are doing the work you essentially want to do some day, then that will be a great avenue for you to kick off your career.
What are your thoughts on social media, with so many people claiming to be a professional makeup artist?
I’m not gonna knock anyone on Instagram because I feel like this vehicle gives people behind the scenes a platform and an audience that we need. It’s good to see who gets people ready for the Globes and major events. It helped me with my career.
How do you control sweat and shine?
You want to makes sure when you are buying your foundation that you are focusing on a sensibility at the core that is matte or oil-free. If you have a matte or oil-free foundation, you are not going to have to worry about oil control. Also, try to use a blot fill or powder.
If you had to chose, blot paper or powder?
Blot powder is better because it is quicker. A lot of people think they are going to use a blot film because it is quicker and convenient, but you are going to use more throughout the day.
What feature does Beyoncé like to emphasis the most with her makeup?
Beyoncé is a lip statement kind of girl. She doesn’t have a lot of time. It’s always a situation where it’s one color lacquered on and we are out or she is on stage.
What are some lip trends you love?
Right now what is huge are dense rich applications of color. You want to really saturate and hug your lips in as much opaque color as possible. Think like a nail coat.
Be sure to watch the video below where Sir John takes us shopping in Sephora for beauty product must-haves.
Tatiana “BeatFaceHoney” Ward
Clients: Brandy (pictured), Nicki Minaj, K Michelle, and Sevyn Streeter
Tatiana Ward: I started doing makeup in strip clubs in Philadelphia, where I’m from. And as I was trying to figure out my way I was making videos on YouTube duplicating celebrity makeup from popular music videos. I duplicated Brandy’s “Put It Down” video and next thing I know, she tweeted me. I found out she was coming to Philadelphia to play a show, so I got all my followers to rally behind me and harass her into letting me do her makeup. And that’s how I started!
Is that how you ended up working with Nicki Minaj?
Same thing. I said to my fans, if you could get me Brandy, you can get me Nicki Minaj. So [my fans] kept tagging me on her on Twitter and Instagram and within three hours she followed me on Twitter and then DM’d me asking for my phone number. And an hour from that, she called me.
What did she say when she called?
She called me on the telephone directly and said, “Hi it’s Nicki Minaj,” and I was like, oh my god, you’re calling me. And she’s like, ‘First of all, what’s your name because I’m not gonna call you BeatFaceHoney.’ And I was like, they call me Tatiana but you could call me BeatFaceHoney. And then she’s said, ‘do you have my makeup? Like my foundation color?’ And I was like ’of course, I’m a makeup artist.’ After that she said, ‘okay I’m gonna get my people to contact you, if you can come tomorrow I’ll audition you, and we’ll go from there.’
The next day I drove to New York in my 1998 Cavalier, which I thought wasn’t even gonna make it because the car was so old. Next thing I knew I was in a hotel with her. [I] probably spent about three hours there doing her makeup. She was very quiet. After that, the next thing I knew, I was with her damn near every day for a year.
What was some of your work?
I did an ad campaign with David Lachapelle for her Minajesty ad campaign, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and I probably did like six or seven music videos, including Chris Brown’s “Love More.” I also did the 2013 BET Awards and her ad campaign for Myx Moscato.
You worked a lot with Nicki in 2013 when she was revamping her look. Did you feel any added pressure from her or the media?
No. I felt a little disappointed because as a makeup artist, all the crazy eye shadow looks you see on Instagram, nobody ever asks for that stuff. So if any client was gonna ask for it it was gonna be Nicki. I love doing that stuff; every artist loves doing that. I went out and bought a bunch of vibrant colors and glitters and I’m like, “Look at this stuff I got for you, Nicki!” And she’s like, “Oh I’m trying to go natural.”
What are some of the mistakes you have made over your career as a celebrity makeup artist?
Remember I went from working with strippers to doing celebrities overnight — it’s a totally different scenario for what you have in your kit. One of the first times working with Nicki, I’m at her house in L.A., and she says to me, “Hey, where’s the leg spray?” And I’m like, “I didn’t know it was my responsibility to have leg spray.” And she responds saying, “Yeah, duh, go get it!” So I tell her, “I don’t even know where I am right now!” and she’s like, “I don’t care where you get it, just get it. And yeah, that’s part of your job.” Thankfully, Nicki put up with the small stuff and would have me come back even though she’s worked with the best of the best. She was tolerant of me and my errors in the beginning.
Clients: Mariah Carey, Fifth Harmony, Zac Efron, and Louise Roe (pictured)
Who has been your favorite client to work with?
Rachel Wood: British fashion star Louise Roe. I met her six years ago when she was hosting a fashion show that I was running the makeup on. She was living in LA and was coming to NY for Fashion Week, so she called me up to do her makeup. She was about to pay me and I told her to just give me money for a cab. She said that she was doing a show and would put me up as the makeup artist. Since then, she puts me forward for every one of her shows. She’s so loyal and dedicated, she takes me out for drinks, and named a handbag after me. She’s become like a sister to me.
Do you feel like you see a different side of celebrities, and if so, has it changed your perspective of them all together?
Yeah. I do a lot of personal make-up — I’d say 50 percent of my job isn’t a shoot. They are going on the red carpet, they’re going to a dinner, they’re going to an event. So I see 50 percent of my celebrities when they are just coming out of the shower with no makeup on in a bathrobe. That’s how I first met Mariah Carey.
What is your favorite thing to do?
I love doing red carpet events because it’s like having a girly party. You’re making people feel good, beautiful, and confident, and for me, that’s so much fun!
How do you usually prep for work with your clients? Do you make suggestions or do they tell you the look they are going for?
For a model or a shoot, a lot more of my input is put into it. For a personal, I Google them and get a good idea of their aesthetic and their look. For example, if you were doing someone like Joan Collins, she always wears red lipstick, so I would make sure I had five different types of red lipsticks to choose from. Usually when I am there I ask questions like, do you like lash extensions? Do you want me to put mascara on the edges? Do you like this or that? There are a couple of things people don’t like, so I just put my own twist on it.
Do you travel a lot for your job?
I do, although, this is the first year that I’m starting to travel a little less. I’m 41, I have a boyfriend, and I just want to be home a bit more. The past four years I’ve pretty much been on the road five to six months out of the year. I use to do a show for MTV called Plain Jane and we would be on the road five months out of the year. We were based in L.A. and every week would travel somewhere — so I would be in Berlin for three days, then Morocco for another three days, Norway, and then back to L.A. and N.Y. and pretty much lived out of a suitcase.
Check out the photo gallery to see some of Sir John, Tatiana, and Rachel’s favorite work on their clients.
Beyonce, Makeup by Sir John
Karlie Kloss, Makeup by Sir John
Chrissy Teigen, Makeup by Sir John
Joan Smalls, Makeup by Sir John
Nicki Minaj, Makeup by Tatiana Ward
K. Michelle, Makeup by Tatiana Ward
Sevyn Streeter, Makeup by Tatiana Ward
Sevyn Streeter, Makeup by Tatiana Ward
Dinah Hansen, Makeup by Rachel Wood
Mariah Carey, Makeup by Rachel Wood
Louise Roe, Makeup by Rachel Wood
Bethenny Frankel, Makeup by Rachel Wood