Julie Hewett is an elite makeup artist whose work you’ve certainly seen several times on the big screen. Her film credits are as varied as they are revered. From Oscar-winning films such as ‘American Beauty’(1999) and ‘The Artist’ (2011) to cult classics like ‘Heathers’(1988), Hewett has made the biggest stars in Hollywood look their absolute best: Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney, Brad Pitt…the list goes on.
Back in 2001, Hewett finally started her own product line when she couldn’t find the right red lipstick for the women in ‘Pearl Harbor’ and had to create her own. Julie Hewett Los Angeles went on to become a hugely successful product line, featured in every major fashion publication.
We talked to Julie Hewett to learn more about her beginnings, her turning points and her expert tips on Spring trends for 2016.
Julie Hewett: Interview
Your very first feature as a makeup artist was ‘Whales of August’ (1987), with two film legends working together, Bette Davis and Lillian Gish. What was that experience like?
JH: ‘Whales of August‘ was an amazing experience. Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Ann Sothern and Vincent Price! I think there should be a film about the making of that film. Besides, being starstruck, hearing stories from the biggest stars from the 1920’s and 1930’s was amazing. Lillian Gish did her own make up and had these very extravagant crystal jars (that must have been from silent movies). I watched her powder and primp herself. I was told to assist her anyway I could and often helped with her brows. Sometimes they were in the wrong place.
Was there a specific moment in your career, in film or otherwise, when you felt you had found your own voice as an artist?
JH: I think when I did ‘Pearl Harbor’ or ‘The Artist’ I found my style for sure. Red lips as the focal point has been my passion. I seem to do it in every movie. Classic glamour, I guess.
Makeup artists can develop a very close bond with their clients. Is there a sense of trust that needs to be developed early on?
JH: Yes. There is definitely a sense of trust. I always have felt it is a huge honor for someone to trust you with their face. It’s incredibly intimate. You go on this journey with them. You have to have a sense of who they are, where they are at and where they are going in a scene. You need to have radar. You have to really care.
You initially intended to become a fashion designer. How did you discover your true vocation?
JH: I went to Parsons NYC in the late 70’s. I failed sewing and pattern-making but could draw faces! It was then I knew I had to go another direction.
Wouldn’t it be fair to say that women you work on are in some way “wearing you”?
JH: Yes. I always use my products with every make up I do so they are literally wearing me! I still feel like my brand is a cult thing. Just did my first NY Fashion Week sponsorship with my lipsticks with designer Alex Visha. So maybe more to come? I have always wanted to work with a designer to design a show.
Could you tell us a little about your research process for a new project, both for movies and for your makeup brand?
JH: Research for a movie is always fun and collaborative: input from the director, costume designer and actors. That is where new product ideas come about. For example, once an actress said “I would love a ‘Cheekie‘ that was a cross between these two colors”. A new color was born! Or if I can’t find something I start to think “How can I create it?”.
Other than genetics, have you noticed a common thread for women with healthy skin?
JH: I always tell my clients: Take care of your skin! The better your skin, the less make up you have to wear. Yes, genetics plays a huge part for women and hormones too. Your skin care has to be intuitive. Camellia oil, which I sell, is the most profound thing I have found. It’s like water but transforms texture. It is in all my products as well.
Which products are constantly in your bag year in and year out?
JH: Touche eclat, Clea du Peau concealors, Dior shadows, Amanda Lacey skin care, Viseart palettes, Armani silk foundation, Nars tinted moisturizers, Natura Bisse diamond products, Koh Gendo foundations, Mac Blot powders and face and body, Anastasia brow pencils, Hourglass primer and Era spray make up. I am a product junkie!!!
Finally, please give us an expert tip: What would be a good combination of your products if a woman wants to make a statement this Spring?
JH: Forget this extreme contour look. It only looks good in selfies. Great skin with healthy glow and a bright red lip like my FEMME NOIR. Classic spring 2016!
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