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Celebrity makeup artist Denika Bedrossian with is not only in charge of some of the most gorgeous faces in Hollywood, she's also a style icon herself, with edgy black and gray hair, red lips, and a pinup-girl style. Denika's been Kelly Osbourne's main makeup guru for years now, and she's since taken on tons of red carpet and editorial projects with the likes of Hailey Baldwin, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Sarah Hyland, and Miley Cyrus.
We sat down with the superstar makeup artist herself at a recent MAC Cosmetics master class and Denika gave us the real scoop about what went on behind the scenes at that Miley glitter photo shoot, how she gave the Jenner sisters a fresh look, and why contouring isn't all it's cracked up to be.
What's your favorite red carpet look that you've done recently?
Hailey Baldwin for the Elton John Oscars party. She was wearing a beautiful red dress and then her skin was just buttery, bronzed, and gorgeous. I can't get enough of her face. It's insane. It drives me nuts! She couldn't take a bad picture if she tried.
How do you decide what look to go with for a red carpet event?
It depends on the dress. If the dress is really patterned and there's a lot going on with it or it's the main focus, you want the hair and makeup to be really clean so that the dress shines. If the dress is solid and just has a basic but beautiful silhouette, then you have the chance to kind of pop one or the other. So, I would never do a super heavy eye with a super bright lip, especially on the carpet because with all the flashes, it can kind of be taken in a really aggressive way, which isn't usually the look people want.
What was it like working with Kendall and Kylie?
I did Kylie and Kendall actually for a Marie Claire Mexico cover. That was about two years ago I think I did that, and it was a really fun day. They were the prettiest, sweetest little girls ever.
They're gorgeous. Have you worked with them since?
I have not. They have a team that's been with them for a long time and so I was really excited to get the opportunity to do a fun cover with them that was actually very opposite of what their normal makeup looks are. So, it was kind of fun to do something they never do. It was very clean and dewy, just a red lip and brows kind of look. And that wasn't something that they had done really, at the time. I think it was a really nice moment to shine, and a different look on them.
Has anyone ever come to you for a look and you thought they were going to ask for something super simple, and it ended up kind of crazy instead?
One of my favorite things I've ever done in my career, I'd say, where I had full creativity to create the character in the moment was when Miley Cyrus did a video with Future called "Real and True" and she was supposed to be this ethereal, alien-ish kind of moment in his whole journey through the song, and they wanted her to glow and they had said to me, "Black light or something that's going to glow in the dark or whatnot." And I was like, "You know, can I just have a chance to do something and see if you like it?"
I literally doused her in probably like 85 jars of all different styles of silver and gold glitter. She literally looked like she was floating in the air with diamonds encrusted all over her. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever done. We did it where literally, for two hours, I sprayed and glittered, and it was from her ears to her toes to every corner.
What's the real deal with contouring?
I feel like that's more transformational makeup, and that could be great for stage or great for an editorial if you're trying to really reshape and become a character for a photo. That's not realistic for a real woman to do daily. And nobody's got the time or the patience to do that. And also, it's not good for your skin to wear that much every day either.
As a human, and as a woman you should be embracing your skin and your beauty, and I don't feel like layering on, and re-chiseling, and recreating something is necessary for going to get your hair done, going to yoga, going to this, going to that. It's like you don't really know what you're getting, because every Instagram post is not only like 12 pounds of contour and highlight but filters, slimming. You could reshape your eyes, your nose, like everything, and that's crazy. So I feel like it's like it's not an accurate persona to give to the world of who you are.