April 20, 2014

What I Know

Matt Dillon, Yasmine Bleeth, Kelly Osbourne, Anna Nicole Smith, Monica Lewinsky, Tori Spelling, Carmen Electra-Holly Pergola has helped make them and many more beautiful. A make-up artist for Baywatch, the Anna Nicole Smith Show, the Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards, she's also worked on photo shoots for People and USA Today. Pergola understands beauty-inside and out. She recently moved back to Naples to be with family after a decade in Hollywood. We caught up with her and asked her what she's learned.

When i like someone, i do my best work. There's a well-known saying in Hollywood: "You don't want to piss off the cameraman or the make-up artist." And what you've heard about the divas is true. Anna Nicole Smith is just like she is on the show. She hurt her ankle rollerblading, so the hairdresser and I had to climb in bed with her to do hair and make-up while she sat watching soaps-for about three days! She's the center of her world. People would send her presents, and she'd say, "This is the most hideous sweater I've ever seen; I'd never wear it. It would be just perfect for you-take it, it's a gift from me." You just had to laugh.

But I can see why some stars get fed up. When I was working on Kelly Osbourne, the poor girl was constantly hounded. The paparazzi walked all around our salon and peered in the windows. They were so intrusive that I actually had to do Kelly's make-up in the closet. And she was still nice.

You won't find a nicer person than Carmen Electra, and she's even more beautiful in person. Tori and Candy Spelling used to come in, too; they are really close and very sweet. Tori has this amazing skin that makes make-up just disappear. I really had to pile on the make-up to get her to look like she was wearing any. But my favorite person to do make-up for was Jennifer Coolidge-she played the make-up artist on Legally Blonde and now she's on Joey. She has this loud and quirky style; we spent the whole time laughing, and she looked more beautiful to me the better I knew her. Personality definitely counts. Maybe that's why I find it hardest to do make-up on people I love-I already think they look beautiful. On my mom and sister, I wouldn't change a thing.

When it comes to make-up, definitely less is more. Even though the biggest trend this season is more color, particularly purple and green for eyes, I don't even own a green shadow. It flatters no one. When I do make-up, I try to emphasize the most beautiful feature of each face. I want people to look like themselves but prettier.

It's pretty popular in Hollywood, but I'm not big on cosmetic surgery. I won't let my mother get anything done because I think you can always tell. Something just looks off: The eyes have an unnatural shape, the skin texture is wrong. And why? People can look beautiful at any age. Still, cosmetic surgery seems to give people such a psychological boost that for some it's worth it.

But then, so does make-up. There's so much make-up can do to make people look either better or worse. For me, it's about playing up favorite features. When Jennifer Grey got rid of her beautiful, strong nose, no one recognized her and almost everyone preferred her old nose. Different is good. Different is often what makes someone look amazing. So if someone has amazing eyes, I might emphasize them with a smoky bronze shadow and eyeliner applied with a light hand, but I'll pair that with a nude lip. If I decide on bright-red lips, they will be the main focus of the face. I won't also put color on the eyes. Instead, I'll add interest with a few false lashes and a light coat of mascara. False lashes are one of the most effective ways of looking younger, fresher and generally more beautiful. Lashes really diminish with age; and unlike in the '60s, when people sported a frond of obviously fake lashes, today they look real when they're applied individually to the outer corners of the eyes. Try adding three lashes to each eye and you'll see what a boost you get.

Forget about using brown shadow to draw in a strong nose if you have a flat bridge; and for heaven's sake, put down that purple blush-really, it just makes people look ill. And don't put anything shiny in the T-zone-forehead, nose, chin; it just makes you look greasy.

I always go for a classic look, and that starts with a strong brow. The brow artist Anastasia in Beverly Hills is nationally famous; Oprah flies her in, as do many high-profile stars, and I used to work in the salon down the street from her on many of the same people. Once our two salons made the front page of the Wall Street Journal under the banner "Brow Wars."

Brows really will make or break a look. Try to keep them a little on the full side because eyebrows thin with age; and even when you're young, if you over-pluck, they eventually stop growing back. I don't advocate drawing brows in; that can look clownish, but certainly use a stencil or a steady hand if you have one to get the right shape. Then fill in gaps with taupe or light-brown powder on a slanted brush until brows grow in, or to make them a little darker if your brows are too light.

I'm a big advocate of using the proper tools. I know people often use their fingers to apply make-up; but the skin's natural oils can muddy the colors and contaminate your products so that they don't read true and you have to replace them more often. Also, brushes are specially shaped to make a smoky eye easy to do; you can smudge lines, diffuse powder and get a perfect lipline if you just get the right tools. I even use a sponge for foundation rather than fingers. It makes for a more even application, and you don't rinse as much down the drain.

Good make-up depends a lot on getting the right color. I mix foundation shades to get a perfect match for every face-go for a base with yellow undertones, never pink. I also look at an individual's coloring and subtly play up the color flecks in the eyes and integrate my choices with hair color, which may not be a natural extension of the other colors in the face. It all has to work together.

Make-up artists may spend a couple of hours making someone look like they're not wearing make-up. Really good make-up in real life, not on film, isn't obvious. But looking flawless can take a little time. 

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