Sunday 5 February 2017

Interview: Laura Geller | MUA

Laura Geller is a veteran makeup artist who has worked with some of Hollywood's elite (Audrey Hepburn and Ginger Rogers and Paul Newman to name but a few). Her talent and experience lead her to create the much-loved makeup brand, Laura Geller.

I recently got the chance to grill Laura on all things beauty. Here's how it went down...

What inspired you to work in the beauty industry? And how did your career journey begin?

I grew up in the suburbs of Rockland County in New York, and there was a woman on my block who worked at a department store selling products. She was gorgeous. I was so fascinated by how she made herself up, that I'd go to her house and have her make me up for all my parties. I saw how empowered I felt, and I saw that as an opportunity. Could it be big? I wasn't sure; I didn't know what would happen. Out of high school, I went right into the industry. I got my license and studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York. I was young when I started, just 18. I probably could've gotten to where I am today a lot sooner, however I have enjoyed the learning along the way.

I’ve now been a makeup artist for over 35 years, and started in television, film, and theatre. Early on in my career I started doing makeup for my clients privately. They wanted to purchase the products I used after I finished making them up. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was able to communicate how to do makeup in a way that encouraged people to buy products, and break makeup down in a way that was goof-proof and not intimidating. I thought, 'what if I could develop a whole line around products that really help women enjoy doing their makeup in an uncomplicated way?' So I created my own line in 1997.

What is your career highlight?

I got to work with some of the late greats - Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, and Gene Simmons of KISS. Those opportunities truly became the fabric of who I am. However at the end of the day I was searching for my comfort, which was teaching women how to do their makeup. And I found it, by happenstance.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in the industry?

I have always been a very positive and optimistic person and really do credit overcoming most of my obstacles because of my attitude and outlook on life. I would say to anyone looking to get into the industry that a positive attitude and hard work goes a long way.

What are your makeup bag essentials?

Our Spackle! It’s a phenom now. I thought it was going to be a one and done but, after 20 years of going strong, it’s clearly not. We started off with one Spackle, and it spun off nine children. Each one does something different as an under-makeup primer. We sort of spearheaded that category!

What is the biggest beauty crime a person can commit?

Not having a concealer that matches your skin tone - it shouldn't be lighter or darker. Don’t listen to what other people might say. Once your concealer matches your skin tone, it will then likely match your foundation too, making it easier to blend. Your whole makeup will look and sit so much better.

What is your top beauty tip?

Always do your makeup before doing your hair. That way, if you get any stray makeup or powder in your hair, you can blend it or blot it out. My worst case scenario makeup artist tip is to use a brow brush to comb out any excess foundation that might get into your hair. The spoolie end is small enough to get into even the most hard-to-reach places! And lastly, you can use my favorite lambswool paddle to soften and smooth edges along hairline or jawline for last step blending. It’s a secret weapon among those in the know!

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