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“Grace Kelly, Harlow Jean, pictures of a beauty queen.” While Madonna sings about timeless beauties, her makeup artist, Gina Brooke, is responsible for creating fierce looks for the icon herself. Brooke has worked with the superstar for the past decade, creating the makeup for each tour, including the current one, MDNA.
Here, Brooke takes time out from the road to talk creativity, cult products and cosmetics that can pass the on-stage sweat test.
What’s the process of creating the makeup look for Madonna’s show?
I listen to the music to get a feel for the show and [stylist] Arianne Phillips presents sketches of each outfit. I watch the show for about a week and then make storyboards. Ultimately, Madonna chooses what she likes best.
How has Madonna’s approach to beauty evolved over the last 10 years?
Madonna usually has an idea of what she wants to look like, but hires people around her to facilitate it. It’s a collaboration between wardrobe, makeup and hair.
How long does it take you to do her makeup?
Andy Lecompte and I do hair and makeup at the same time, which takes 45 minutes.
How many touch-ups do you do over the course of a show?
There’ll be about six touch-ups, which is the most I’ve had to do.
What’s the best trick for getting the makeup to stay on and how do you keep it sweat proof?
The best way is to prep the skin properly. Madonna uses Intraceuticals, which is a treatment for dehydrated skin. Then I use a primer, which helps the makeup stay put. During this particular show, I heard Make Up For Ever was making an Aqua Rouge lip line. Everything is sweat proof and waterproof. This is how my collaboration with them came about.
How has Madonna’s face changed and how does that impact what you do?
Everyone’s face changes from loss of hyaluronic acid. I love to work with creams because they’re absorbent and look like second skin.
What do you carry in your kit?
I can’t live without Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. I love Clé de Peau concealer. I create my own lashes, so a curler is a must. Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Rouge eye shadow literally doesn’t move. I like to use a highlighter to contour the face because it makes the person look younger. And red lipstick, always!
You created a special shade of Aqua Rouge Waterproof Liquid Lip Color called Iconic just for Madonna. Tell us about it.
Every tour, I make her something special. I’ve created mink lashes, diamond lashes and rose gold eye shadow made from real gold. We always enhance her eyes, so for this I wanted to enhance her lips. This show has a very 1930s Parisian feel and enhancing the lips was a necessity.