Viewers of season four of The Voice have seen some major changes in front of the camera: Shakira and Usher have taken over for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. But one thing that’s remained the same is behind the camera—Darcy Gilmore is still holding it down in the makeup department. As the head of makeup, Gilmore’s in charge of directing her team of artists and working with each contestant to achieve their star-worthy looks. Here, she lets us in on what it’s like to work on the hit show plus shares insider tips that you can use for yourself (no singing required).
What’s the atmosphere like backstage on The Voice? Do you get a lot of time to sit down with each contestant and figure out his or her look?
“Well, actually, we begin prepping long before they come back once the coaches have selected their teams. So, we already have an idea in advance of what we want to do as far as changing their looks and updating their looks. And we’re coming back now this week and shooting what’s called ‘the battles.’ So at this point, it’s a pretty big push into a new look. At least 50% into a more polished, artist look. So we’ve already done a lot of the footwork before they even walk in the door. And then as far as backstage goes, it’s pretty hectic but scheduled. It’s very calculated. There are no accidents when they actually get on TV completely camera ready. It’s completely organized.”
So does each contestant have a strong opinion of what they want their vibe to be based on their music style or do they kind of give you room for creativity to help them create their look? “I think it’s 50/50, actually, because a lot of these artists already have been A&R’d [Artist & Repertoire] from other companies and a lot of these artists have had an image created for them. Once you start speaking to someone, it’s very clear how much is their own image and how much has been created for them so we’re very sensitive to that, and to where they want to go. I think people who are the most versatile with their looks benefit from our team, from the makeup, hair and wardrobe.”
Do you have any special insider tricks for making up their faces under such bright lights? Is their any highlighting or contouring?
“We have a laundry list of tricks that we won’t tell. But we will say that every inch of the skin gets covered with makeup including their hands and eyes and ears. They are polished and primed. It’s a very elaborate makeup application and we use several different companies, which we are blessed to be supported by. It’s super interactive. I’m really lucky because my team and I have such a good friendship on top of the work relationship so we’re always sharing secrets. And if somebody really likes a product then they buy seven of them and we pass them out to each one of the girls. It’s like a community. It’s almost like a sisterhood. It’s really great.”
Can you share any tricks for the average person who just wants to look great in pictures?
“Well, all of the products that we use, anybody can buy. We use a combination for body. We use Carlene K Cosmetics. She works for my team and she has her own body bronzer. It’s super simple to use. And if you want to break it down, you can use a moisturizer with it to cut it in half and then apply it. I would also suggest layering. Layering is a big thing we do so use a concealer and then face makeup, and then a matte powder all the way down the neckline. The number one makeup mistake is the face not matching the body. So you really have to marry the two. And I find that makeup transfers onto the wardrobe so I like to set it with powder. Get a big fluffy brush and bring that all the way down the neckline. That way there is no demarcation. That way you also don’t see makeup; you see just a flawless skin.”
What’s your favorite product to use?
“I love powder. I’m just a powder fool even though people are really afraid of it. Nowadays, powders are not the same as they use to be. I don’t think you have to be afraid of it. In fact, you can do an entire makeup of powder on men, which I love. A lot of our guys just get that. And that’s something to talk about there because a lot of men are afraid to wear makeup but if they get the right powder you literally can’t see it. I love Girlactik, too. I’ve been using the Sparkle Sets ($20, girlactik.com) and their Eyeliner ($19, girlactik.com).”
If you only had two minutes to do one thing to a contestant or client, what’s the one thing you would add to their look?
“If they have good skin, I’d probably use Stila Convertible Color ($25, stilacosmetics.com) because you can use that on the lips and cheeks. You have to have multipurpose products.”