Maia Mitchell of ‘The Fosters’ on Bold Brows and Learning to Be More Daring With Makeup

Rachel Adler
Maia Mitchell of ‘The Fosters’ on Bold Brows and Learning to Be More Daring With Makeup
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Maia Mitchell, the 20-year-old Aussie who is currently starring in the hit ABC Family show “The Fosters,” made a quick trip to NYC the other day – lasting literally less than 24 hours– and was nice enough to fit in a photo shoot on one of the hottest days of the summer while she was here. To say her work ethic impressed us is an understatement. As we were wandering around the Lower East Side, Maia filled us in on what’s next on her much-discussed hit show which is based on a family of foster children who are being raised by a bi-racial Lesbian couple, with the fitting last name of the Fosters. As fans of the show, we of course wanted to know what was coming up for Maia’s character, Callie, who plays the “troubled” foster child (and recently discovered she had a surprise half sister).

While we love talking all things TV, we also gossiped about brows and beauty, and had a bit of fun taking Maia out of her beauty comfort zone and trying out some edgier looks – she admitted to not always choosing the “bold” or “brave” makeup looks on a daily basis, but said she’s starting to enjoy having fun playing “dress up” with beauty, whether it’s on the red carpet or on a shoot. During our shoot, makeup artist Samantha Trinh tried out several different “modern day grunge” eye makeup looks on Maia, and hairstylist Kozmo paired them with fun twists and side braids, giving us tips and tricks along the way. Read on to find out Maia’s best beauty tricks – and what she has coming up career-wise!

Beauty High: Alright, first things first – were you born with fabulous brows, or do you have some grooming tricks that you stick to?

Maia Mitchell: I have no tricks, these are the brows I’ve always had – they’re not implants! I don’t remember the last time I had them waxed, I pluck them myself and mostly I just pluck out the strays but I try to really stick with the natural shape and I think that’s the key to brows. I did go through a phase where I did pluck too much and they were very thin and I think it’s cool that thicker brows have come back and its more of a natural, authentic look. I’m into it right now so I try to keep them as thick as possible.

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Did you have a hard time when they were that thin to grow them back out?

I did, it took a little while it was like an awkward in-between phase but I was in high school, I wasn’t on camera or anything so it didn’t really matter, it was my awkward phase!

What are some of the best hair and makeup tricks you’ve learned from being on set?

I think for me its always about making whatever you’re doing really natural. On my show especially, they really try to go for a natural organic look, which is how I try to come across anyway. It’s shading – I think it’s all about trying to bring out your natural features whether that’s contouring cheek bones or the nose. For me it’s about accentuating the features that you already have. So that’s a trick that I’ve learned. Also, just less is more is what my makeup artists have always told me.

Do you have any products or must-haves that you always carry with you? Or things from Australia that you love?

Yeah, there’s this Australian brand of mineral powder called Nude and it’s really great. It’s very natural, I have a difficult time wearing makeup when I’m off set because A) I’m not very good at it and B) I try to give my face some breathing time so I use mineral powder just for a really natural look. And then Nars is a really good brand that I love and I use their lip pencil, which is really great and simple to use, and also their eyeshadow is really natural and pops your eyes naturally.

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You’re pretty natural obviously, like you said, on the show and in real life but do you like to experiment at all when you have to do red carpets with beauty looks?

Yeah, I see red carpets as dress ups. Because there’s so much work involved in it and there’s so much preparation so if you see it as almost a game of dress ups it kind of makes it easier to step on the red carpet and feel confident because you’re not feeling too exposed if you’re wearing a costume almost. So I do try to mix it up, I’m definitely getting more brave. I was always a bit hesitant. I’d always say natural, natural, natural but now my makeup artist is starting to push me and kind of trying to do some smokey eyes and some more interesting colors and she’s always fun, so I usually let my makeup artist just go crazy on my face and see what happens!

So we’ll stay tuned and see what happens next! Now, on your current ABC Family show “The Fosters,” you play Callie who’s a bit of a bad girl. Do you relate to her personality at all?

I think in some ways, she’s had a very different upbringing to me. She didn’t grow up with positive role models – she’s kind of had to fend for herself and, you know, be a parent to her younger brother so I think in a lot of ways she is incredibly mature and incredibly wise but she’s also missing some key traits and the foundation of what makes a person whole and able to function so she’s an interesting mix of that. So, I think she’s a good girl at heart but she hasn’t been taken care of, whereas I’m very lucky I had my parents very involved in my upbringing and very supportive. I mean yeah, I’ve been in trouble before but I’ve never been to juvey.

“The Fosters” has obviously gotten a lot of attention for its portrayal of LGBT characters – having a lesbian couple raising a family of fostered children. What’s it like to be at the center of a progressive show like that, aimed towards a pretty young audience?

It feels good. I didn’t go into the show having that as a motivation for being involved in it. I didn’t really realize there was a blind spot or a need for that. I didn’t have any concept of what the programming particularly in America was lacking and so I feel blessed and so lucky because I was auditioning for a lot of things at the time so I’m just really lucky that I landed in the middle of a show that is really progressive but is also entertaining, and so the fact that it is progressive and that it is about a bi-racial lesbian couple  – I don’t think that takes away from the entertainment value. I think that it’s all kind of a combination of those things together.

Can you give us any hints to what’s next for Callie?

Yeah, you’re going to see her really trying to piece her life together. I think she’s trying to figure out whether she wants to embrace this new family that she’s found out that she has, and what that means for her past. I think she’s trying to move forward and trying to be a part of the Fosters and to be able to kind of function as an adult and I think she’s beginning to feel like maybe she needs to understand all of the elements of her past. And maybe she does need to open some doors that she’s potentially weary to open and could bring out some stuff from the past that she’s really going to have to work through.

And what’s next for you career-wise?

I’m not sure right now, I’m about to film [Teen Beach Movie 2] and I’m really excited for that. Other than that I’d love to be able to do some films, I’d love to go home to Australia and become more integrated in the film industry there because Australia is really producing some amazing dramas and some amazing films so that’s kind of where my focus is right now in terms of trying to pick an interesting role in an interesting film.

Plus, find out what Maia had to say about her favorite clothing brands and vintage shopping tricks on StyleCaster

Photographer: Greg Sorensen, Kate Ryan Inc.
Stylist: Sofia Karvela
Makeup Artist: Samantha Trinh, Kate Ryan Inc.
Hairstylist: Kozmo, Bryan Bantry
Editorial Director: Sam Lim
Beauty Director: Rachel Adler


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For Maia's fun side braid, hairstylist Kozmo gave us a great tip for helping to tame baby hairs as you're braiding: Either lightly wet your fingers as you work, or use a natural bristled toothbrush and spray it with hairspray to tame them down and lightly brush them into the braid. But keep in mind that no braid needs to be perfect, and flyaways will happen, so embrace them!

(White jumpsuit, Misha Collection; Coco necklace, Belle silver earring, Rue Gembon)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

Makeup artist Samantha Trinh told us that she chose to add a silver liner underneath Maia's lash line to complement her silver accessories – but that it's also an easy way to add "playfulness to a smokey eye." Plus, she added that any colored liners could work well here too, from gold to unexpected shades like bright fuchsia.

(White jumpsuit, Misha Collection; Coco necklace,Belle silver earring, Rue Gembon)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

When you're going for an extreme cat eye look, Trinh suggests playing down the rest of your look (like Maia did with her sporty ponytail and crop top).  Trinh also noted that Q-tips can be your best friend with this look, saying that you don't have to have the perfect line on the first try – you can simply clean up after with a Q-tip dipped in eye makeup remover. Bonus tip: Don't forget to set your liquid liner with a dab of powder under and around the area to make sure it sets!

(Crop top, Rag & Bone; boyfriend jeans, Mango; backpack, MCM; Lexa black pearl earcuffIrina necklaceBambi braceletQuanna Gun Ring, Rue Gembon; Coquette pink bracelet, Holst + Lee)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

This runway-ready look involved using a touch of gloss on the eyelids to really make Maia's eyes pop – but Trinh told us if you want to try this "cool girl" look for your next night out, just make sure you use a primer and then a matte eyeshadow before applying just a small "dab" of gloss in the middle of your lid. She recommends OCC Clear Gloss (it's not too sticky) and it will give you that perfect sheen, without completely making your shadow gunk together!

(Top, Charlotte Ronson; leather skirt, IRO; Winged Arrow Earring, Lulu Frost)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

If you're struggling with frizz in the summer, what better way to tame your hair than a small twist? Pull your hair back and away from your face and just secure it in place with a few bobby pins.

(Top, Charlotte Ronson; leather skirt, IRO; Winged Arrow Earring, Lulu Frost)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

Mix and match your shadows to add dimension to your classic smokey eye. Trinh suggests using dark brown (or eggplant) as a base shade instead of black which can be overpowering, and then tapping a creamy bronze shadow into the center of your lid for added dimension. The metallic will give a nice twist to your look, attracting light and creating depth.

(Lace top and leather bralet, CV New York; skirt, Charli; Eliza Gunmetal EarringBambi bracelet, Rue Gembon)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

If you want to try soft, beachy waves on a humid day, Kozmo says not to fight the weather, just join it. Add Oribe Dry Texture Spray to your hair and opt for a beachier look, rather than a refined wave. You can even back comb your hair a bit and let it go a little more wild than usual!

(Lace top and leather bralet, CV New York; skirt, Charli; Eliza Gunmetal EarringBambi bracelet, Rue Gembon)

Photo: Greg Sorensen

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Introducing Maia Mitchell

Introducing Maia Mitchell