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We cannot believe we get to interview the insanely talented Sarah Brock, makeup artist to Gal Gadot and Anne Hathaway and the person behind the beautiful soft, yet powerful makeup looks in the Wonder Woman movies. Read below about her insights on the industry, Hollywood and her astonishing career.
To start with the basics, can you tell us why you wanted to become a makeup artist at the beginning of your career?
As a young girl, I always loved makeup. I did do a lot of modelling as a teenager, but I enjoyed the process of the makeup for the shoots, rather than the modelling itself - I guess that was a sign! I also have a passion for making women look and feel beautiful - its not just about how you make women look, its about how it makes them feel and I love that part of my job. I’ve also always loved fashion... and fashion and makeup go hand in hand.
The first part of your career was actually predominantly in the bridal industry, winning awards and working for Conde Nast BRIDES magazine, Chanel, Daniel Sandler and London Fashion Week to just name a few. Then your career took a complete turn when Hollywood Director Patty Jenkins reached out and asked you to become the MUA to Wonder woman herself, Gal Gadot. Can you tell us what went through your head when you found out and whether you always wanted to head towards Hollywood or whether that was just a happy coincidence?
Well, at first it was a shock! I had never considered the movie industry - the movie industry and fashion are 2 totally different industries. It was a big move for me and I literally had to learn a whole new industry and way of working, but I’ve always loved a challenge, always want to succeed, love working hard and don’t stop until I perfect my craft and I’m proud to say I’ve done it. Looking back now, I see that the opportunity came at the right time - I had achieved all of the goals I had in the industry I was in before: I had 28 covers of Conde Nast BRIDES, I’d worked with every major British Bridal Designer in the industry, worked on celebrity weddings and had also worked on television as a beauty presenter. I’d ticked all of the targets I had set myself so I was happy to embrace the change. It took a lot to do it, but I was so blessed that Patty Jenkins had the faith in me to do the job and I wanted to succeed not just for myself, but also for her. She is the most amazing woman, who truly changed my life.
After working on Wonder Woman you then got asked by Anne Hathaway for the Hustle movie. Can you give us a behind the curtain peek what life as a MUA is like on a movie set? Are the days as long as they are rumoured to be?
Firstly, yes, I am with my actresses from first thing in the morning when applying the makeup until we wrap at the end of the day. You are on set with them constantly for touch-ups or makeup changes and all the time checking the makeup (both face and body) on the monitors.
It’s a very different life to fashion or weddings, especially on the longer movies such as Wonder Woman. They can take 6-8 months to film (plus prep beforehand which is script breakdowns and design) and sometimes you can do 6 day weeks and anything from 12 hour days to 18 hour days. That was also a big change for my family as the most I had ever been away was for a few days on a photo shoot, and suddenly they had to get used to me being away for 6 months or more at times - not just in the UK but also around the world.
Also, after working on my own for 20 years I had to adjust to working with big crews of hundreds of people. However, the relationships you build with your teams are very strong as you tend to see more of them than your own family whilst on a movie project - you know that you are all working towards an exciting end result and I’ve made some amazing friends working on movie projects.
You are known for natural looks, radiant skin and really letting a woman’s beauty shine. Can you share with us what your top secrets are to the Sarah Brock look?
Thank you! I’ve been a makeup artist for 20 years now and from day one, it was always about the natural makeup - I never chose that route - it was what came naturally to me, always. I always loved amazing skincare (as that’s a big part of the process, not just the makeup) and I always apply the thinest, most even layers as you can always add, but not take away layers. Plus, I always spend more time on getting the complexion perfect than the eyes & lips. I’ve always said “get the skin to look its most perfect and anything else you do after that will look far more beautiful".
What advice would you give to upcoming makeup artists who are looking to build a career like yours?
I get asked this a lot - and to be honest, there is no set route. Every successful MUA I know got to where they are in their own way and things have changed a lot now with social media. When I started as a MUA, there was no internet, mobile phones or Instagram, you had to work your way to the top by contacting modelling agencies to test, or writing to agents that represent MUAs to assist them, whereas now everything is more instant on the internet or social media.
I always say that whatever route you choose, it's not overnight. You have to work hard (and sometimes for free to build a portfolio). It took me 15 years to get the break in the movie world! But, you should take every opportunity you are offered to work or assist and practise on as many faces as you possibly can. It’s easy to apply makeup on your own face, and to some degree to a model, but its working on ‘real’ faces where you truly learn your craft as that is when you learn about skin problems, different skin tones and also different ages of skin.
Getting Gal Gadot ready for the red carpet
Now that you seem to be on the top of your game, what do you find the biggest misconception about being a MUA to the stars?
That it is ALL glamour!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I get to work with the most beautiful and talented and creative people in my job and yes, I get to travel around the world and yes, I attend such exciting events, but be under no illusion - getting up at 4am for months and months and not seeing your family can be tough and the travelling is also very tiring. Not to mention some of the locations we film in - I’ve worked on night shoots in the middle of winter, worked in tranches so full of mud we had to be hosed clean before we could go back to the makeup trailer and I have been in sandstorms... you truly have to love what you do to do this job. Luckily I do love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Finally, which Loella makeup brushes do you have and which ones are your favourite?
Firstly, I have the Femme Fatale collection and I genuinely have them ALL in my working kit - is hard to choose as I love them all but if I had to pick my faves, it would be the precision powder brush, the under eye blending brush, the tight liner brush and the squared lip brush.
Click here to check out the Femme Fatale collection.