Five Minutes With Celebrity Make-Up Artist Gina Brooke

Madonna’s make-up guru on working with the Material Girl, beauty blunders and looking good on the run…

Celebrity make-up artist Gina Brooke has been working with Madonna for 12 years, working on the last five of her world tours, so she knows a thing or two about make-up.

marie claire spoke with the celebrity make-up artist and Intraceuticals brand ambassador to find out what it’s like working with Madge, her all-time favourite looks and some of the best tips and tricks she’s learned during 25-years in the biz.

How did you get into make-up artistry?

I was at art school and a model friend asked me to do her makeup for a shoot. I had always loved makeup so I agreed. A few weeks later I received a call from the photographer and he asked me to do a campaign with him and that was beginning of the journey.

You’ve been working with Madonna for 12 years, how did that relationship come about?

My neighbour in LA had a gathering and there was an agent looking to sign artists. I gave her my portfolio and she managed to get it to Madonna. Three days later I was on a plane to work with her.

What is it like working with Madonna?

Madonna raises the bar with everything she does. That pushes you and makes you a better artist.

Can you tell us about her four looks for this tour?

Each look represents romance and strength. There is a duality to the tour and the record about reconciling the rebel with the romantic. Each look had to be feminine but also powerful and strong.

Do you guys collaborate, or does she give you free reign?

We started collaborating during the “Living for Love” music video. That look has stayed the same with different lip colours being used to create separate and distinct looks.

Can you share an interesting story from life on the road with Madonna?

On one tour we had set the look. During Rehearsals Madonna told me that she wanted to have the diamond lashes I had created for her with Shu Uemura, to be added during the quick change. That meant that I had to apply lashes in a confined space every night under the stage with less than 2 minutes, while the hairstylist and dresser simultaneously changed her hair and costume. It was the most stressful experience. One false move and it could have been a catastrophe. Now I can apply lashes anywhere, anytime and it doesn’t phase me.

You have worked on her last five tours, which has been your favourite?

The first tour is always the favourite because it is new and exciting. Personally I really enjoyed Sticky Sweet and the use of graphic liner.

What is the one makeup product you can’t live without?

It’s a combination of two products, as an artist we always mix products to get the texture and finish that is required. So it would be Cle De Peau Concealer mixed with Intraceuticals Daily Serum. The combination creates a flawless finish that looks like second skin and gives a light to medium coverage.

What is the biggest mistake women make with their make up?

Not understanding their strengths in terms of features. Most women want to look like that girl in the magazine. Not taking into consideration that they have different bone structure, hair and skin-tone. My advice is to accentuate your best feature. Your eyes, your skin, or your lips.

What are your top tips for making your make-up last, whether on stage or just to last the day?

The key factors to longevity is prepping the skin. I use the Intraceuticals Hyaluronic layering on all of my clients. The combination revives, replenishes and protects, creating beautiful hydrated skin that leads to longer-lasting makeup.

What advice do you have for women who are keen to try a new look but are a little unsure of their skills?

The more you experiment they more you feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Makeup is about expressing your personality and having fun. It is not something to be taken too seriously. Makeup is a way to show your individuality, the way you feel and how you want people to perceive you.

If a woman only has 5 minutes to do her makeup in the morning, what are the keys you would stay to stick to?

Prep the skin, curl the lashes, add mascara and add a bold lip.

What is the best piece of beauty advice you have ever been given?

Mr. Shu Uemura gave me the advice to never stop thinking, innovating or creating. To always be open to the possibility of learning.