Gina Brooke: Confessions Of Madonna's Makeup Artist
Beauty and brains, plus she spills her makeup secrets…Gina Brooke pretty much rocks our world. Her talent, work ethic, intelligence and foresight make her a force in makeup. Which is perhaps why she created a perfect pairing with another powerful, wildly creative woman, Madonna. Gina has collaborated for almost a decade with the unstoppable superstar and along the way has caused instantaneous influence with her makeup creations. If her story sounds hard to relate to, it isn’t.
When Gina moved from New York to Los Angeles to pursue her craft full-force, it wasn’t magic at first. Her entire portfolio was lost during the move. Hours and hours of her work – her calling card – was completely gone and she had to start from scratch in a brand new city. More struggles compounded things and, if you believe in signs, you’d have thought it wasn’t meant to be. Gina stayed with it and it’s lucky for us she did. She has expanded the boundaries of makeup artistry with many A-listers and luxury brands. In addition, she has lent her expertise to cosmetic giants in the industry, and has collaborated with Madonna on tours, music videos, and editorial shoots.
Below, Gina divulges some of her makeup secrets and shares literature and art that never fails to inspire her.
Interview with Gina Brooke:
Did you always feel a passion for beauty while growing up?
A. I always loved beauty, particularly fashion. My mom would always buy Vogue each month and I remember pulling out pages and posting them up on my mirror… Little did I know it was the beginning of creating a story board.
When you came to LA you faced an unbelievable disaster (the loss of your portfolio!), how did you find the fortitude to keep going when it seemed things were working against you?
A. My best friend gave me the book “As a Man Thinketh,” which was originally written in the 1800’s – I read it everyday and it was the only thing that helped me pull myself together and, to this day, it has become my bible.
“Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to himself.” – James Allen
How does the condition of the skin affect the look of makeup and what skincare products do you use to prep the skin before applying makeup?
A. Beautiful skin is the foundation to flawless makeup. I use a method called hyaluronic layering by Intraceuticals and, if I have the luxury of time on my side, I will always give an Intraceuticals skin treatment. This treatment instantly transforms the skin by using a product called Rejuvenate combined with hyperbaric oxygen.
Intraceuticals offers skin treatments around the globe, for a clinic in your area search their database.
After prepping the skin, how do you achieve your glowing/luminous made-up skin?
A. I’m obsessed with a concealer/foundation called RCMA. It’s a makeup artist’s secret to beautiful skin.
What stands out from your long collaboration with Madonna and what have been your favorite looks?
A. I love the 1960’s looks we created and, of course, her “Confessions on a Dance Floor” look for which I won an award for best makeup.
Gina created these genuine diamond lashes for Madonna out of mink. The look created a craze for decorative and bejeweled falsies everywhere.
A few products Gina used on Madonna on the MDNA Tour:
A bright long-lasting red lip that Gina created with MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Rouge Lip Color #8 Iconic Red.
60’s inspired pale pink lip on the MDNA tour – MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick #N13 Pink Praline
MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow Waterproof Eye Shadow Pencil in – OE Matte Black
You definitely know about products with “staying-power.” What product is good for summer that lasts under the sun?
A. Primers are a necessity. Urban Decay makes an amazing primer, which I love.
You split your time between New York and Paris; what have the French taught you about beauty?
A. I’ve learned so much from french painters such as Monet and Renoir; from my favorite photographer Guy Bourdin and of course inspired by the beauty of the french culture.
You perceive beauty as an art form. Is makeup an art?
A. Yes, makeup is a form of art. A human face is our canvas.
Brooke has now collaborated on three of Madonna’s world concert tours and numerous music videos, including “Hung Up,” for which she was awarded the coveted MVPA Award for Best Makeup. Brooke has produced campaigns for D&G, Dolce & Gabbana, Lanvin, Giorgio Armani, H&M, Furla and L’Oreal. She has worked with Anne Hathaway, Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, and Britney Spears, Katy Perry to David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and of course, Madonna.