Makeup Artist in the Spotlight: Geraldine Shaker

I’m always asking makeup artists lots of questions. I mean lots. From the minute I step into the makeup room, I’ll be poking about in all of the products, talking at a million miles an hour about new launches and favourite eyeshadows and best foundations. I have a feeling that I drive them slightly potty – doing makeup for a beauty shoot can take hours and hours, so you can imagine how many questions I squeeze in!

Luckily for Geraldine Shaker, top international makeup artist and co-founder of Kitten Vixen cosmetics, I had to ask my questions via email, which meant that she didn’t have to listen to me chattering away for eight thousand years. Geraldine has had an amazing career, working on huge advertising jobs, great editorials and glamorous superstars, and I’m very pleased to announce that she managed to find the time to answer every single one of my questions!

AMR: Did you have any terrible/bizarre/amusing jobs before you started as a makeup artist? (We’ve all had one, surely!)

GS: I started my career as a hairdresser. I was an apprentice at Vidal Sassoon for three years whilst I learned how to cut hair. I swept the floor, made cups of coffee and washed hair in an environment I can only describe as an oversized family – it was a lot of fun – I went on to become a teacher at the Bond Street school and after seven years I left Sassoon’s to study make-up at The London College of Fashion which is how I launched my career into the world of freelance make-up & hair.

AMR: Are there any downsides to your job that you’d like to share?

GS: As a freelance artist there is no set schedule to my week. I work when the work comes in – unfortunately this sometimes means missing out on really exciting projects because I am already booked on another job.

AMR: Who would be your Dream Makeover Client?

GS: I’ve always wanted to do a make-under on Dolly Parton. She’s naturally beautiful and I’d love to give her a dash of sophistication with the right colour choices.

AMR: And is there anyone (real or fantasy!) that would be your Nightmare Client?

GS: There are no nightmare clients in my industry only challenges! In my job, its often the situation we’re shooting in that can be difficult- a lot of the locations we shoot in are remote (which in ladies’ terms means no bathroom.) If we are lucky we will be in off-road vehicles to get to the location but I have had to climb very steep terrain with my kit before. Extreme heat can also be diffficult to deal with.

AMR: Which is your favourite decade for drawing beauty inspiration?

GS: The roaring twenties. It fascinates me that make-up and hair was so perfect. The high arched brows and finger waved hair requires a certain amount of dexterity, which everyone in that era (if you believe the photographs) seemed to possess.

AMR: Do you take any notice of the more ‘out there’ beauty trends or do you prefer to stick to classic, ‘tried and tested’ looks and techniques?

GS: I love the trends that come out of Fashion Week. If nothing else they are a regular reminder that’s its time to change our cosmetic routine. Of course, they are always extreme but you have to consider the setting – stage make-up has to be bold or it will disappear on camera. By the time the trends hit street level, for the most part they have been hugely diluted.

AMR: What do you think is the single most anti-ageing makeup trick or technique?

GS: Shade the socket of your eyes with a dark eye shadow – this will knock a decade off older eyes.

AMR: What’s the best way to achieve that Hollywood Red Carpet glow? Is there a simple way?

GS: Skin prep is vital if you want your skin to glow. Use a great moisturizer and apply a good primer before your foundation. I like new CID i-Prime skin perfecting serum or Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.

AMR: Do you tend to use the same products on yourself as you do on clients?

GS: Some products I use on set are great cross over products that can be used for day-to-day make-up. On set, I apply foundation with an airbrush and that’s not something I would use daily, but I do use the same blushers or eye shadows usually.

AMR: Do you have a most-loved product that’s indispensable?

GS: Ha ha, no, I would say everything is replaceable. I love finding new products and am constantly searching for better products to replace my current ones. Cosmetic formulas are constantly changing and its fun to make new discoveries – however I do have a handful of old classics that I trust and often bounce back to.

AMR: If you had to create a Cosmetic ‘Capsule Wardrobe’, which five products would be in it?

GS: I think this answer would change from day to day, but if I had to create the capsule right now it would be: Helena Rubinstein’s wand-less mascara, Armani foundation, Kevyn Aucoin concealer, Kitten Vixen lip-gloss, Scott Barnes blusher.

AMR: Finally, (I have to ask this!) who are the biggest Divas – Models, or Actresses?

GS: Well if I answer this question honestly I’ll never work in this town again – so I’m going to plead the fifth -my lips are adequately glossed and sealed!

Thanks Geraldine! I have to say that the anti-ageing tip is genius, and I shall be trying out the New CID iPrime to get my red carpet glow!

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