As far as symbols of luxury and glamour go, there is none more recognizable than the red carpet. The “crimson path” (as ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus called it) marks a lavish route of prestige, traditionally taken by VIPs and celebrities during ceremonial and formal occasions. But the red carpet can also be an unforgiving place for today’s celebrities, especially under the bright lights of paparazzi and harsh eyes of Hollywood critics, who often lie in wait for that one headline-making misstep.
If anyone understands the importance of the red carpet, it’s Gina Brooke—internationally acclaimed makeup artist and beauty expert. Brooke has worked with a throng of A-list celebrities, including Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Cher, Anne Hathaway, Gisele Bündchen, Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham and many others. Her red carpet beauty knowledge spans over 19 years and encompasses countless movie premieres as well as the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and the Metropolitan Gala.
Brooke recently sat down with Previews® Inside Out to talk red carpet beauty, style and the best ways to prep and primp at home for the ultimate walk of fame.
Previews Inside Out What are some of the most memorable red carpet looks that you created?
Gina Brooke Madonna’s transformation of punk chic at the Met Gala this year really surprised people with her radiant alabaster-looking skin, red lips and brunette bob. I still receive compliments when I did Anne Hathaway’s makeup for the Met in 2010. I loved her look, as she truly looked like a princess in her Valentino dress.
Previews Inside Out What’s your No. 1 rule for getting a client red carpet ready?
Gina Brooke My No. 1 rule is to emphasize and prep the skin first and foremost, as I believe it is the foundation to beautiful makeup.
Previews Inside Out Do you have any red carpet rituals?
Gina Brooke Intraceuticals oxygen facial is my secret weapon. And of course, I never leave home without my makeup lights, magnifying glass and eyeglass lights.
Previews Inside Out What beauty essentials must be in your bag for a red carpet event?
Gina Brooke Shu Uemura blotting papers, a mirror, Shu Uemura sheer colorless powder and, of course, lipstick.
Previews Inside Out You’ve made your share of celebrity makeup house calls. Which spaces were the most memorable to get your client ready in?
Gina Brooke Since Madonna is such a professional when it comes to prepping for an event, I love getting her ready because she’s always prepared. In fact, she loved my makeup lights so much that I gifted a set for her birthday one year. They are always set; ready to go by the time I arrive. Trust me, it’s not fun to have to schlepp my lights from one house to another—but one has no choice! I think every person in the public eye should have proper lighting at home to get ready for a big event.
Previews Inside Out If a client asked you to help her design a personal beauty salon in her home, what would be your must-haves?
Gina Brooke I’ve designed many of my clients’ makeup rooms before. It’s one of my favorite projects—to provide each client with the proper mirrors and lights. It’s not work at all for me. I love every minute of it!
Previews Inside Out Who are your favorite Hollywood beauty icons?
Gina Brooke I’m inspired by classic icons that exude femininity, poise, beauty and class … from Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn to Rita Hayworth.
Previews Inside Out Any new beauty trends we should be on the lookout for during the 2014 awards season?
Gina Brooke I never follow trends.
Gina Brooke has appeared as a beauty expert and makeup artist on the TODAY Show, Fox News, Good Day LA, Extra, E! Entertainment and beauty blog BellaSugar. She also served as the artistic director and creative driving force behind L’Oreal’s Shu Uemura brand from 2005–2010 and collaborated on four of Madonna’s world concert tours.