A look into the world of Gregory Arlt, globe trotting makeup artist extraordinaire

How excited was I to get an interview with makeup artist Gregory Arlt! Los Angeles native Gregory has been a Senior Makeup Artist for M.A.C for over 15 glamour-filled years, helping make the world a more beautiful place and creating some of the most stellar looks coming off the international runways. He also clocks up frequent flyer miles working regularly around the globe with the likes of the fabulous Dita von Teese, and is a red carpet regular in his own right. Here’s what he had to say, in answer to my rather adoringly delivered questions…

What is your first make up memory i.e. your mom's lashes, a teacher's rock solid hair?
I have quite a few, actually! When I was 8 my mother went to the local department store to have a 'makeover'. She left the house my ‘mom’; very little makeup, a clean eye, a hint of mascara and her signature red lip. She came home a GLAMAZON with shadows in blues, purples, and navys... tons of mascara, blush, and capped off with a coral lip. I thought if makeup could do that to my mother, think of what it could do for others! I was hooked.

Did you always know that it was an area that you wanted to move into?
I knew I had to do something in the arts and I'd always been obsessed with makeup and art. Besides, anything with that much glam, glitz, creativity, and travel had my name written all over it! When I was 11, my graphic designer father brought home Francesco Scavullo's booked entitled Women. There were before and after shots that my dad was showing me in a "this is amazing!" sort of way. There was a before shot of Patty Hansen with no makeup on. Her freckled face and blonde eyebrows and lashes made her look erased. The after shot was full glamour! I could really see the power of makeup and thought of my mother's makeover. I knew at 11 that I was definitely going to be a part of that world! Life goes full circle - I've recently acquired the book on eBay and have found that I've worked with several people in there, including Janice Dickinson and Zandra Rhodes!

How did you move into creating make up looks for celebrities?
It was sort of an organic process. It's LA, and there's really no fashion/editorial scene, so it's unavoidable. I worked with many celebrities when I worked at the boutique Fred Segal where I started out, and it kind of became a word of mouth thing until I got an agent who began pitching me regularly. I am grateful to work with the people that I get to work with!

Do you prefer shoots or the madness of show work?
I'd say it's 70/30, with shoots being in favor. I love fashion shows - creating, orchestrating, and having a strong team with beautiful faces in our chairs, but the controlled environment of a shoot is definitely more appealing to me!

Has the make up artist's profile lifted a lot since you have been in the industry, from back stage to front row and loving it?
Makeup artists and hair stylists have definitely become ‘stars’ in their own right. Makeup artists have launched successful makeup lines, written books, and have been seen on TV regularly commenting on trends. It's opened many doors for those of us in the industry!

Whose is your favourite face to make up?
ALL of them! I will say I love working with Dita Von Teese. Her skin is flawless and she LOVES makeup so it's fun for me, like painting a pinup portrait!

Do you have a Gregory Arlt signature ie. lashes, a bright lip?
I think I'm most known for skin. I love it to look flawless and glowing, yet natural at the same time. Though lately people have been asking me for my "signature" black cat eye, so maybe I'm transitioning as well!

What is your must have product that never leaves your kit?
I would be dead without M.A.C Face and Body foundation. It works on everyone and is SO lightweight and natural!

What is a favourite trick of yours, that you can spill about?
I LOVE mixing a little highlighting cream into foundation to brighten it up and make the skin luminous.

Lastly, what do you think makes a woman beautiful?
At the risk of sounding horrifyingly cliched, beauty comes from within. I am merely a messenger when it comes to makeup!


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