Betsey Johnson backstage at her show, “Has everyone met Charlie? My favorite makeup artist on earth?”
I remember first seeing celebrity makeup artist Charlie Green on MTV several years ago, with her platinum pixie hair and effervescent attitude she literally sparkled on screen like a Christmas tree caught fire. With over 20 years of painting the faces of celebrities (Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz), top models for the runways (Betsey Johnson, Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger), celebrities and models for major ad campaigns (Cover Girl, Estee Lauder, Revlon) and magazine spreads (Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair), Charlie is the makeup artist for delivering sexy, feminine looks. She doesn’t stop at applying the cosmetics, she helps companies design them too. She’s worked with tons of beauty brands developing and launching products. You know that sexy shimmering body lotion from Victoria’s Secret that make your legs look like Barbie legs? Yeah, Charlie designed it. In fact, she worked with Victoria’s Secret to design their entire line and then put it to the test on the runways with the likes of Gisele, Naomi, and Adriana.
Despite her impressive resume, Charlie comes off as grounded, personable and the kind of woman I would want on a girls’ vacation. (No, I wouldn’t ask her to do my makeup while we were on this make-believe vacation. I mean, maybe she’d want to, just once. A girl can dream…) I was instantly intoxicated by her soothing British accent and inspirational attitude towards the magical world of makeup.
BB: How did you discover you were destined for a career in makeup?
I was studying architecture in my hometown of Bath, England. The roman architecture of the city influenced my eye very strongly and I found that the same properties translated to makeup — both are all about light, dark, shape, and making objects project and recede. I never took any makeup courses but once I moved to London a friend of mine asked me to assist on a makeup job for Boy George and the Culture Club and I simply fell in love with the process. I was working in a clothing shop at the time but I would use my days off to volunteer as a makeup artist assistant. I got the best education by learning the ropes on set – how to work as a team with hair and clothes stylists, photographers and such.
BB: Did you ever consider taking a course in makeup artistry?
This was London several years ago and all the makeup artist education programs were all about cinematic special effects. I wasn’t interested in creating fake blood, I knew I wanted to make people pretty. I practiced as much as I could on friends and I got in touch with local hair salons and asked if they needed makeup artists for their photographs. I went to modeling agencies and volunteered to do makeup for new girls working on their portfolios. Half the time the photos were crap or black and white, but I knew I needed to build a portfolio to get an agent. Once I got an agent I paid my dues by doing newspapers and smaller magazines and eventually built myself up the big jobs.
BB: When did the “big jobs”start coming into play?
I was getting magazine spreads and such, but once I got my first contract I was able to get involved with the chemistry side of the makeup. Working at factories with chemists, putting potions together – they needed my artistic angle and I needed their science. I worked and lived in Paris for 5 years and had the chance to work with mind-blowing photographers and designers, and working with cosmetic companies revamping their lines. Then I moved to New York and started working with Victoria’s Secret as their spokesperson and creating their first cosmetics line.
BB: What is your number one rule when it comes to makeup?
It’s so important to have the right canvas. You can’t expect your foundation to look good if you sit in the sun and don’t take care of your skin. You have to invest in a great exfoliator. I love AMOREPACIFIC Enzyme Peel ($60) which has the consistency of powdered milk and is ultra-gentle. Another one that I like is Mary Kay TimeWise Microdermabrasion Set ($29) – it comes with an exfoliator and a cream to calm down the skin. Retinol also really helps. If you treat your skin right you’ll find that your same makeup looks so much better.
Okay, Bingers I know I barely scratched the surface with Charlie but she gave me so much good stuff I need to separate her interview into two posts. To give you an idea of what’s coming… Charlie shares her biggest pet peeves when it comes to beauty and explains why you need to hide your tweezers from yourselves.
Make sure you follow Charlie on Twitter for makeup tips and fabulous photos at @CharlieGreen999!
Janna Posted by janna Tags Amore Pacific, Charlie Green, Makeup Artist, Mary Kay, Victoria's Secret