The delightful Bruce Grayson has big plans for Oscar night: working it hardcore behind the scenes as the Academy Awards's makeup department head. We quizzed the Olay ambassador and professional makeup artist on concerns of the stars, red carpet essentials, and how he gets male actors to say yes to cosmetics.
Real Beauty: So, what does being the Oscars's chief makeup guy entail?
Bruce Grayson: Besides the stars you think of on the red carpet, we have production numbers, singers, and dancers who all need tending to. In the past, I've worked with as many as a team of twenty and as few as six-it's always a team effort. You have someone in the VIP green room doing makeup and an artist on either side of the stage. At the awards, there's not a place you can go where you won't find a makeup artist.
RB: So when Anne Hathaway hosted and you had all those singers and dancers…that must've been a lot of work!
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RB: What are some of the nightmare situations that could happen backstage?
BG: Lashes going off! Adhesive strips pop off or flares will come unglued. Or a female will kiss another female on the side of the cheek, and you'll get a big lipstick stain. Crying is a big one, too. After they win they have to go straight to the press line, but they get to stop in with us first to clean up any runny mascara.
RB: Who's the most famous person you've seen cry?
BG: Probably Oprah when she received her honorary Oscar [editor's note: in 2011, Miss O received a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy's Board of Governors].
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RB: What are you predicting, beauty-wise, that we'll see a lot of on this year's carpet?
BG: Translucency in cheek and lip color, and foundation. It'll look effortless and accessible. I'm a big proponent of using skincare to make sure skin's pristine before the big night. I like two applications of Olay's Regenerist before doing any makeup since it'll keep everything really smooth. A lot of people recommend primer for the same reason, but that's risky on Oscar night. Once the silicone in it has sat on skin for awhile, it can start to bead up-a problem when women are getting their makeup done at 11 a.m. and will be partying until late.
RB: What are some of the celebrity concerns you hear when stars are sitting in your makeup chair?
BG: An insecurity is an insecurity is an insecurity. They're worried about the same things as any woman. I hear pores as being a big concern, and uneven skin texture. On the red carpet, they're under a lot of scrutiny with digital photography and everything. You won't see a lot of foundation since the less makeup you use, the less likely it is to migrate to fine lines. I usually tell my clients to bring a short foundation or concealer brush so they can pat any areas where makeup has accumulated to blend it in. It's a modern addition to what women should bring in their cocktail bags.
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RB: What other necessities do you think need including?
BG: Pressed powder, blotting papers, and a gloss or lipstick or pencil.
RB: What kind of work do you have to do on the men?
BG: Men don't think they want to wear anything. It's really like they have to suggest it themselves. We'll usually just powder them, use a little bronzer, or hide a blemish.
RB: And who will you be keeping your eyes on this weekend?
BG: Halle Berry, newcomers like Rooney Mara, and of course the queen of the red carpet, Angelina Jolie. She usually doesn't do much but she has recently! I'm also excited about the Bridesmaids girls: Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.