Preparing for the BAFTAS
For this post I wanted to go through the amazing stages of getting one of my wonderful clients and friends ready for this years BAFTA event held in the beautiful Royal Albert Hall. A day in the life of a red carpet makeup and hair artist, as wonderful and glamorous the event is, full of beauty, splendour, pomp and circumstance, there is a lot of behind the scenes that goes into creating, mastering and eventually achieving such wonderment.
With a dream to be nominated and having worked with the awe inspiring Stephen Fry in the past experiencing his quick wit and renowned intellect first hand, to witness his hosting skills in all there beauty, what a wonder. To sit amongst your piers and witness the talent in the room from screenwriters to makeup designers, hollywood icons to the driving forces behind their careers. One day I will perhaps be lucky enough to belong in that room next to my love, and even, win an award for my chosen field, the dream that everyone in this industry chases and works so hard towards, lets call it the English dream, but until that day I will simply enjoy the daily ritual I am fortunate to be a part of, preparing and making the beautiful even more dazzling for such an event.
This year my day started at 11.30am with a hair and makeup appointment for the beautiful actress, Alexa Morden, the lead female in Bafta nominated short film, Standby. I arrived to a fresh faced beauty that day, Alexa is someone who adamantly follows her skincare regime and determined to always appear her best. This shows immensely in her well prepped skin, allowing me to do a clean fresh makeup job and show off that wonderful glow of a well maintained human. Her supportive partner Will popped up to say a cheery hello, out of the mound of Bafta party dresses from the night before and todays wonder was hanging in its full elegance afore me. A stunning classic, statement piece by Ashley Isham.
We began by wetting the hair and applying copious amounts of the wonder curl cream from Boucléme. This product is fantastic for smoothing the hair, helping combat that humidity frizz and allowing the curls to fall in a gorgeous vintage Hollywood wave, like a flowing ocean on a slightly tempestuous day, that was the movement I wanted too get into the hair to flow with the watery blue tones of Alexa's dress. After blowdrying the hair I set it into pin curls to hold the shape before we styled it. I then continued to start the makeup.
Using some Skyn Iceland hydrating spray and Hourglass veil primer we began (Alexa had already moisturised that morning) It is so important not to over clog or over moisturise the skin before you start, we want this look to last the long-haul, if you feel the skin may look too greasy, gently blot with 1 ply of a tissue this will absorb and gently remove excess product on the skin, I like to feel the skin with my hands before I even begin applying anything as this is the way you know what it needs, Alexa has beautifully hydrated skin which cuts my job in half from the get go.
I next apply to the eyes, starting with a Delilah base to ensure the eyeshadow does not move for a lifetime and using a range of matt cream and brown tones from my Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette we began a very soft, 1940's style smokey eye, followed by a beautiful fine liner and soft flick using Inglot amc gel liner, and a black mascara, again for me vintage Hollywood was very much the inspiration (the dress muttered this gently to me upon my arrival as well as the immaculate porcelain complexion of the actress afore me)
Next my agile fingers reached for my Nanshy marvel blender and on we went with the base, for this I used a mixture of Giorgio Armani luminous silk and Hourglass vanish stick as I love the longevity of this stick and the glow of the Armani, together they work like silk on melted chocolate, the textures compliment each other. No need for concealer on this face, just a little YSL brightener under the eyes. We contoured gently using Anastasia contour palette, the flash and bright lights can really flatten the face on the red carpet so I find this is so important to keep the 3d effect of the face. I then highlighted the hell out of those dynamic cheekbones. I am currently in love with Champagne pop by Becca
cosmetics and nothing in my kit seemed more aptly named for the occasion. Along the upper cheekbone and brow bone we shined and buffed, there is nothing more soul warming for a makeup artist than seeing those photographs the next day and when that gorgeous glowing skin just pops off the page, it makes all that hard work and years worth it. Next a soft pinky blush to give the coy appearance of a "What me sir?" Marilyn Monroe cheek flush. I finish with a soft brow, gently filled in with a medium brown shadow and set with a clear brow gel. Sending Alexa off to dress in the pin curls and lacking the red lip, the last thing we need is a red smear campaign happening all over that porcelian finish!
Like a bride getting prepared for the finest wedding day an event Louis the XVI would be proud of, we button up, buckle up and lock into the dress for the evening. Next step we take those curls out! Gently unlocking the pin curls from their hybernation we let them flow free, I then simply comb through the soft ocean of Alexa's hair with a Denman brush, sprayed with Bumble and bumble spray just to ensure we lock that moisture and finish down for the night ahead, I continue until I have reached a flow I love and then set in place over to one side. I hide three secret pins behind the ear of one side to hold the hair in place and not allow a piece to fall, I gave that hair a damn good talking to, I think it understood this evening was important to all involved! Car ordered, bag packed, ladies room visit complete, finally on with the red, holding long lasting in mind and a love of a matt finish, I decided to use a Kat Von D Beauty everlasting lipstick in Outlaw, we lined those beauties with Mac pro longwear pencil Trust in Red. I get so involved in all the makeup and hair's I do as I am so passionate about my job, to see this creation come to life is an amazing thing, its like an artist completing a painting, the only difference is my canvas moves, breathes and often speaks!
Then ensues the mad rush, cars downstairs, Christian Louboutin bag packed, shoes need tightening and out the door she flies, carrying the beautiful train of the dress behind her, waves flowing, as I blink I can almost flashback to what an artist in the 1940's may have felt like, the basics from my industry thankfully have not changed much, the principles are still there and the feeling of warmth and excitement for your clients night ahead. To the make-up table I return, to pack down my kit wash my brushes and prepare for the next 5 clients ahead for the awards and then Baftas after parties.
I finished my evening at the Rosewood Hotel London at midnight, walking out now a little more exhausted than I was that morning to say the least, wheeling my suitcase of kit, strutting in my sturdy and wonderful Penelope Chilvers boots (the only things that keep me sane and protect my long standing feet from falling off) past all of the guests arriving for the Harvey Weinstein after party observing a glowing Dev Patel arrive after a very rewarding evening, only hoping that maybe one day I can be a part of that party, but knowing at that exact moment in time, I could not think of anything worse!! All I wanted was my man, my bed and a lovely big cup of tea!
Photography by the wonderful: Will Finlason Instagram: @bigpicturewill - Twitter: @willfinlason
Actress: Alexa Morden Instagram: @alexa_morden - Twitter: @alexamorden