When watching our daily talk shows on television, you don’t often think about what goes on behind the scenes. The guests on Ellen and Oprah clearly had some assistance before waltzing onto the big screen, but often times we just think that they are born gorgeous.
Michelle Cutler, a makeup artist for both film, TV and print talks with us below about how her job differs from the average girl and what beauty tricks she has up her sleeve.
How did you get started in this industry?
MC: I got started in my career back in Miami, FL, where I’m from. After going through school to learn my craft, I started testing with photographers. I also got a great opportunity to assist my makeup teacher on a film for public television. After I built my book and resume a little bit, I began to get paying jobs in print, and also began working occasionally at the ABC Television affiliate. There I got some television experience, and found I like the medium very much, so I joined the television union. When I moved to New York in 1989, I decided to pursue more television work, but also continued to do print work as well.
You work on both network TV and for private clients, what’s the difference between those two jobs, and which do you prefer?
MC: It’s a huge difference between working for network TV and private clients. I like both, and appreciate their differences. Television, especially live television, has an excitement to it, and a much higher energy level. It doesn’t give you and the talent much privacy. Producers and assistants may be coming into the makeup room, the talent may be needing to read a script, etc. Lots of commotion! And if you are working with more than one talent, you need to be fair and diplomatic with each one, according to their needs and personality, while knowing both you and the talent have to give the TV show yours and their best. With a private client, there is a much more relaxed feeling, more talking, maybe even some giggling. (One of my longtime celeb clients and I laugh ourselves to tears every time!!) Of course, I am there to make the client look, and therefore feel their best. After all, they are paying me for my services and expertise. I try to be as flexible as possible with a private client; such as when and where we meet, whether they need me to stay with them for the day, etc. It’s also a great feeling to walk into a television studio with the client, and to be known among my colleagues as their client’s choice makeup artist. My non-celeb clients are special too, and they seem to appreciate my skills even more than the more famous people I work with.
Are there any new products/looks for spring/summer that you are looking forward to?
MC: My style as a makeup artist is a very natural one. So I’m very happy with the products I see for spring and summer makeup. Love the sheer foundations with moisturizer, love the sheer lipsticks and stains, and a little bronze sparkle on the cheeks is never a bad thing!! And nothing goes better with a summer tan than warm pink or peachy tones!!
What products should every girl make sure to have?
MC: Top picks for the minimalist’s makeup bag: concealer, pressed powder, eye pencil, mascara, blush, lips gloss. Sounds like a lot to some, but it can be applied, and applied well in 5 minutes.
Working in this industry for many years, I’m sure you have some beauty secrets of your own. Do you have any you can share?
MC: To be honest, my “beauty secrets” are pretty basic: healthy living!! Good nutrition, no smoking, a decent night’s sleep, exercise, lots of water, and a few good close friends. And a good moisturizer!! And a positive attitude can’t hurt either!! It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth!!
Michelle Cutler has been working as a professional makeup artist for over 18 years. Her vast experience has included work on many well known television shows including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The View, 20/20, All My Children, Rosie ODonnell, Paula Zahn Now, 360 With Anderson Cooper, Connie Chung Tonight, One Live To Live, and As The World Turns, just to name a few. During her 5-year stint on Good Morning America, she not only made up Joan Lunden, Charles Gibson, and the news anchors, but many famous faces prior to their going on camera as guests.