They are the magicians who make stars look their best, know all their flaws and cover them up. Make-up artists, who work with celebrities, tell us about the perks of their job, being friendly with A-list stars and the challenges of such a career.
“A celeb make-up artist charges anywhere between Rs. 25,000-Rs. 1 lakh per day for a film shoot (which could be a contract for 20-60 days). And the make-up charges for a public appearance, a commercial or a magazine shoot could be Rs. 15,000-Rs. 50,000. Some may charge higher, though,” informs the manager of an A-list female actor. “Even if it’s for a film promotion, the actor likes their own make-up artist and hairstylist. So, the staff gets to travel with the stars and stay in the same luxury hotels. Some also get business class tickets,” adds an insider.
Remember the scene from Heroine (2012) where Kareena Kapoor Khan’s make-up artist who gives her gossip about Mugdha Godse’s character’s age? Yes, a make-up artist knows almost everything about his or her celebrity clients. “We generally end up becoming friends with most of our clients. In fact, I have worked with many former beauty pageant winners, and many of them are A-list Bollywood actors today. We kind of grew up together, so we are still friendly,” shares make-up artist Vidya Tikari. Another make-up artist, Soniya Chandola adds, “The actors become comfortable with us that they insist on travelling with us. So, we know a lot about them.” As a result of this comfort level, they know all about the stars’ secrets and the latest developments in their lives.
“We have crazy work hours and pressure,” says a celeb make-up artist, adding, “At times, you also have to deal with a cranky star who walks in on the set right out of a party with puffy eyes. But we have to make them look like a million bucks.” There are also competitors who try to sabotage your work. “Once, I was told the dates have been changed. So I was dropped from the shoot, but I later learned that someone else gave the in-charge a commission and that’s why I was replaced. We also have to upgrade our skills and stay updated regarding the latest technology,” adds the make-up artist.
On The Job
We talk to celebrity hair and make-up artist Ojas Rajani, who has an impressive list of clients to her credit, including Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Sonam Kapoor, to get an idea of her work. “I have a crazy work schedule. Sometimes, I do back-to-back film shoots, commercials and magazine covers. I travel with the stars for weddings and other events,” she says.
And she claims that she only flies business class. “I ask clients for a business class ticket for myself and an economy one for my assistant, as well as two separate rooms,” she says. Ojas has been in the industry long enough to know who has taken Botox shots or needs to hide a birthmark with make-up, but she doesn’t “kiss and tell”. “It’ll be unethical of me to talk about it, but I do know them closely,” she says.
But Rajani admits that some respect her work so much that they are willing to pay for her services from their own pocket. “I was doing Sophie Choudry’s make-up in a film, but the production house said that they could pay only half my fee. Sophie paid the rest from her own pocket. Others should learn from her,” she adds.
Not Just The Face
There is nothing that a bit of foundation and lipstick can’t fix. While male actors have to wear foundation, an under-eye cream and a concealer, female actors are caked in foundation. It’s applied on every visible part of their body — from their legs and cleavage to the waist — even their face has to match the body. And there’s more. For instance, in Dhoom:2, Aishwarya Rai Bhachchan had to wear a bronzer on her entire body for the tan look. And while playing special characters, they even have to don prosthetics.