Makeup and music: what does appearance matter for the stars of pop music?

Linda Hand is a native of America with a photo model-like past in the 1980s and 1990s, she’s also a photographer, an actress and she gained her work experience by working for Chanel and later collaborating with Helena Rubinstein. She’s a makeup artist for many movies and movie trailers such as A woman (Willem Dafoe), Senza arte né parte (Giuseppe Battiston), La guerra dei cafoni, Walking on Sunshine, Insane, Three Way Week, A Levante, Pizzicata, including an immense number of TV commercial spots as Armani, Lancia Ypsilon, Fiat and Samsung. Linda has lived in Italy for a long time where she used her great experience as a makeup artist for music videos.

This exciting profession has given her the ability use her skill with make up on various stars, among them, artists like Piero Pelù of Litfiba in “Straniero”, Il Volo in “L’amore si muove”, Negramaro in “Sei” and “A piedi scalzi”, Alessandra Amoroso in “Stupida”, Anna Tatangelo in “Natale italiano”, Rocco Hunt in “Sto bene così” and also Malika Ayane, Marco Carta,  Mondo Marcio, Marracash.

You’ve worked with so many different musicians and each one obviously has his own personality, but for your own experience, is there something that unites those who work in the music world concerning their attitude towards aesthetics?

When I work on makeup for a music video, normally if I don’t know the artist I “study ” him a bit to learn his story and watch the music videos from the past to get prepared, I  become familiar with the taste and style of the artist and have an idea of what he probably expects from me. I’ve learned in fact that something that unites all artists is that everyone has their own character, their own style, their own image and usually I can’t get away so much from them. If a musician does hip hop and I try a makeup with vaguely heavy metal streaks, I already know that he won’t like it. However, with young emerging musicians it’s different, clearly they are led by the director but will often ask me for advice and I really enjoy working with them because I can express my creativity.

In your opinion who cares most about the look, Italian or American artists? It differs from one person to another and can’t be generalized. There are those who prefer simplicity, but in general I think what I told you about the particular research of a “style” is internationally valid. I have worked mainly with Italian musicians but watching the music videos of foreign big artists I understand that there’s a careful study of the image behind every one of them: Madonna is a chameleon artist and the imperative in her look is always to change; Lady Gaga, on the other hand, always maintains a choice of costumes, hair style and transgressive makeup, excessive at all cost, and so on.

Does anyone ask you to help him/her with makeup to look “younger”? This is more common with ordinary people, for a ceremony or perhaps with some television presenter; a singer may require a contouring work that, in a video framing and with the effect of the lights, also gives that impression of anti-age but it is secondary.

What are the basic differences between a normal makeup and the one for a music video? A first difference is that when I work for a video I’m not free to do what I want to do. I have to interpret what the director wants, to coordinate my work with those of the set designer and costume designer, always thinking about the lights, and so on. On the technical level, the difference is really abysmal, in a video you have to coordinate makeup with special effects, shots and maybe I have to “draw” on a face to get a certain effect. On the screen, this is not noticeable and in general, it seems natural but if you saw this makeup on someone walking on the street it would look absurd!

Was there an experience that you remember in particular? I really liked working with Giuliano Sangiorgi because I really love his music and voice! Of course, I admire all the musicians I had the chance to make up, but when you like an artist you work for, you wonder if you may be disappointed about how it will be to meet him live. Giuliano is really a kind, gentle, humble person and it was a great experience to meet his entire band.

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