Exclusive Interview: Spencer Barnes

Mimi ON Sep 30, 2011 AT 1:14 pm

Spencer Barnes

Spencer Barnes

From Hollywood red carpets to TV shows and films, makeup artist Spencer Barnes has styled a whole host of Hollywood celebrities. Amongst his celebrity clientele is BATD HQ favourite, Olivia Wilde, who he worked closely with on House series 7 (out now on DVD) and for the 2011 Golden Globes.

Check out our exclusive interview with him where he talks all about THAT Golden Globes look and all the tips, tricks and trends that you can handle for achieving great beauty finishes…

Read our exclusive below…

For those of our readers that don’t know exactly what you do, can you give us a bit of background into how you got to where you are today?

Over the last decade I have carved a niche in the freelance world of celebrity styling as a top makeup artist.

I attended film school to study producing and directing and enrolled in my first makeup class where my teacher grabbed my hand one day and said: “You need to do this!” She encouraged me and introduced me to the work of legendary makeup artist and photographer, Kevyn Aucoin and I was hooked.

By the time I graduated, I became the go-to-makeup artist in town and worked in the retail world as a national artist for Lancôme as well as commercials, music videos and two feature films. That was 8 years ago!

Has it been an easy ride?

I feel fortunate to have had so many amazing clients and opportunities to date and I look forward to what lies ahead. Some people may find the uncertainty of the freelance artistry world stressful, but I have come to love and welcome the adventures the journey holds, focusing on my artistic craft, as well as the respecting the business/profession that it is.

What’s your favourite type of work and why? Celebrity clientele, shoots, shows, production etc?

Whilst I come from a background of creating characters for film and television shows, I preferred the freelance world of celebrity and fashion makeup for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I enjoy making-up women as themselves, rather than as the characters they are playing within a story. I love the personal connection, rather than the character connection. Make-up for TV and film is more technical and focuses on the continuity factors so it can be repetitive.

While I definitely have long days in the freelance world I am constantly working with new teams, on different projects, which feels more collaborative and creative, yet allows me a good degree of artistic expression.


Olivia Wilde at the 2011 Oscars

Olivia Wilde at the 2011 Oscars


You did the lovely Olivia Wilde’s makeup for this year’s Golden Globes. What techniques would you use to recreate the perfect eye flick and flawless complexion and which products are best and easiest to use at home?

Olivia came to me with images of actresses from the 50s with a vibe that she called “The French Girl” look. When I think of the greatest starlets of the 1950s – Bardot, Monroe, Loren – they all had one thing that made women envious and men weak in the knees. They had great big “come-hither” eyes.

Two trade secrets I used to create Olivia’s seductive, coquettish look for this year’s Golden Globes are: Individual flare eyelashes to elongate and intensify her lash-line. And second, a bold sweep of espresso eyeliner extended far beyond the outer corner of her eyes – creating a deceptively wearable version of the cat’s-eye flick.

I wanted to keep her skin fresh and radiant, so I used neutral, bronze tones to enhance her facial structure, rather than obvious rose, or peachy toned rouge on her cheeks and face. I wanted her to look effortlessly beautiful, instead of looking like she was wearing lots of beautifully applied makeup.

Olivia Wilde in House

Olivia Wilde in House

Her character ’13′ in House opts for a much subtler look. Which reflects her personal preference for the red carpet more? The natural look or the glam?

Olivia has a bohemian side to her that is artistic, independent and carefree, yet she has qualities that make her very sophisticated and fashionable, giving rise to the glam aspect of her personality, which are so much fun to explore.

I first worked with Olivia three years ago for the cover of Women’s Health and the look was indeed very natural and approachable – her eyes just draw you in.  Later, her glam side really commanded attention on so many red carpets, sometimes modern, other times understated with a classic Hollywood throwback – giving rise to those aspects of her personality.

Have you done any celebs/shoots recently that you’ve been particularly fond of?

Recently, I shot two covers for Italian Vanity Fair with Mark Liddell featuring Rebecca Romijn and UK’s own Talulah Riley.  I look forward to seeing those in print very soon. I have also been working with Angie Harmon, Brooke Burke and Audrina Patridge doing shoots and press for her hit TV show, magazine shoots and new her new workout video, and fashion shoots/endorsements respectively.

CLICK HERE to read all his best makeup tips and tricks and trend predictions…

If you love Olivia Wilde as much as we do here at BATD HQ you can catch her in the seventh series of House (which co-stars Hugh Laurie) which is available now on Blu-ray™ & DVD.

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