Madonna Makeup Artist Gina Brooke Spills Industry Secrets!

Rachel Adler

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Being a professional makeup artist certainly has its glamorous perks exotic shoot locales, some serious one-on-one time with celebs and above all, incorporating some personal creativity into each look. So when we had a chance to sit down with Gina Brooke, the Artistic Director of Hourglass Cosmetics, who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Gisele Bundchen, Justin Timberlake and Fiona Apple, we had plenty of questions about the behind-the-scenes look at the industry.

Read on to hear how Gina crafted Madonna’s tour look, pick up a few pro beauty tips and learn why after years in the biz, she still loves her job.

StyleCaster: Ok, let’s start things off. Did you always want to be a makeup artist?
Gina Brooke: I actually started out by wanting to become a fashion designer. I studied fashion design and photography in art school and eventually found my way to becoming a makeup artist. It was the best decision I ever made.

Now you have quite the celebrity roster! Do you have a favorite client?

I’m grateful to be requested by so many celebrities; however, I actually do not have a favorite. I’m just happy to be paid for something I love to do.

Ok, we’re definitely partial to the Material Girl. What was it like working with Madonna on her tours and music videos?
Working with Madonna is a creative process that is ever evolving. She’s precise and detailed and expects the same from everyone that works with her.

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Madonna performing for ‘Sticky and Sweet’ tour in Munich, Germany. Photo: Johannes Simon, Getty Images

Do you prefer one-time projects, like photo shoots and music videos, or ongoing projects like tours?
I just love to work! But going on tour is something I would not do for anyone other than Madonna. When one has a close working relationship with one’s client, there is a certain responsibility towards her. I do love the collaboration process of creating looks for Madonna and the dancers, but ultimately I prefer editorial and video work.

We can see how editorial and video work can be more artistic. How does your interest in art affect your makeup career?

My interest and passion for art is an endless inspiration. Art enables me to create ideas and becomes a reflection of my work.

You must come across quite the beauty bounty in your work. What is one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
There are many products that I love depending on the look that Im looking to achieve. I’m currently obsessed with Hourglass Cosmetics’ Illusion Tinted Moisturizer.

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Check out Gina’s current beauty obsession: Hourglass Illusion tinted moisturizer, $55, at

Speaking of prepping our “canvas.” What’s the best way to get radiant skin, and to make it last?
Skin is the foundation to beautiful makeup. Often times, models and actresses have dehydrated skin, which is why it is important to prep it so the makeup looks flawless. I always prep the skin by using a treatment called Intraceuticals Infusion, which infuses a serum into the skin using hyperbaric oxygen. I then apply Veil Mineral Primer by Hourglass which will instantly leave a satin finish and restore moisture to dehydrated skin.

You’ve done a lot of dramatic looks for your celebrity clients. What’s an easy way to add drama to your look at home?

A bold lip or an intense eye is the best way to add drama to your look.

How about the custom diamond and mink lashes you created for Madonna? Very glam! Are false lashes the best way to add length to eyelashes?
Yes, false lashes are a great way to instantly add length and volume to your lashes.

Let’s say we don’t have time for falsies, do you have a favorite mascara to use on clients and at home?
My most favorite mascara is Film Noir by Hourglass. It makes you look like youre wearing false lashes and instantly adds drama to your eyes. It has yet to hit the market, but will be available come August.

What beauty products do you always have in your purse?
I prefer products that give immediate gratification! I always carry an Intraceuticals Opulence wand, which is an amazing botanical brightening complex that creates radiant looking skin, an Intraceuticals Clarity Blemish Repair pen to reduce unwanted blemishes, an eyelash curler and Hourglass Prodigy Hydrating Lip Gloss in Eden, which I also use on the apple of my cheeks for the illusion of glowing skin.

Lastly, do you have a makeup philosophy?
My philosophy is that there are NO rules when it comes to makeup – the possibilities are endless.

Related: NARS New Makeup Artist Francelle Daly Shares Her Three Favorite Beauty Buys

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