Real Women Doing Real Things: Celebrity Makeup Artist Mélanie Inglessis

If you ever wondered who does the red carpet makeup for celebs like Karlie Kloss, Allison Williams and Kate Hudson then you need to know celebrity makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis!  I chatted with the makeup master about how she got her start and, of course, what some of her favorite products are :)

How did you get your start as a celebrity makeup artist?

I grew up in Paris and moved to London for school.  After studying makeup at the London College of Fashion, I worked at MAC and Shu Uemera.  My goal at the time was to get into fashion, and I was fortunate enough assist big makeup artists like Val Garland, Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath, all of whom I learned so much from. I then moved to LA, New York City and then back to LA, where I ultimately settled down. At that point, it was a natural progression from fashion to celebrity since that was where all the jobs were. While celebrity wasn’t what I initially set out to do, I absolutely love it.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started that you learned along the way?

Persistence is the key to success! I struggled for a longtime financially and if I had known along the way that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and all of my hard work would pay off, it might have made some of those tough days a little easier.  Success doesn’t come overnight, especially in competitive industries like fashion and entertainment, but if you love what you do, stick with it and continue to work your absolute hardest, I do believe that you’ll be rewarded.

What’s the best advice you have for women who want to become a makeup artist? 

I have to say again…persistence!  When I began my career, I was working at the MAC counter. Was this what I wanted to do long-term? No, but it proved to be extremely valuable. I did makeup all day, everyday, on women of all ethnicities and ages. School and education are key but if you want to really succeed as a makeup artist, you need a lot of practice and real world experience.  If you can, I highly suggest working at the counter of a professional makeup brand and use that time to perfect your skill.  Also, be knowledgeable about your industry.  Know who the key players are and the different areas of expertise.  Whether you want to specialize in fashion, celebrity, special effects or weddings, choose a category and master those specific skills. One of the things that I love most about my job is being able to help up-and-coming makeup artists. I’m so passionate about education and really enjoy teaching master classes and taking part in seminars. There is a lot of young talent out there and if I can share some of the knowledge I’ve picked up throughout my career to help them succeed, that is the ultimate reward.

What are some of your makeup kit staples? 

Giorgio Armani Luminous Foundation, Chanel Bronze Universal, Cle de Peau concealer…just to name a few!

What’s one makeup trend you’re currently loving and why? 

Skin…I don’t know if it’s necessarily a trend since I hope it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, but finally skin has become a feature. Years ago it was either a statement eye or a statement lip.  Now healthy, glowing skin is able to stand out as the area of focus. This has always been my go-to aesthetic, so I’m excited that I can really show off the skin and keep it natural, light and dewy.  For Ruth Negga at the Met Gala this year, that’s exactly what we did.  Her makeup look was very clean, and her gorgeous complexion was really able to shine.

What’s one of your favorite celeb looks you’ve created recently? 

Ruth Negga for the Oscars. We went all out with her look, and I loved it! Sometimes I go into a job with a plan and sometimes I don’t, since the wardrobe and hair can really influence the makeup. In this instance, it initially wasn’t the plan to have such a bold eye, cheek and lip, but it was a fun process to build.  As soon I saw the dress and the jewelry, I was really inspired and created the look from there, making the decision to just go for it. It turned out beautifully.

Melanie’s Favorites:

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