Q&A With Makeup Artist Amy Chance
Amy Chance credits not her mom, but her father for her eventual career. "My dad's a musician and in junior high, I got into a lot of new wave and goth music, meaning I got more into makeup," the L.A.-based makeup artist said. "I liked heavy eyeliner ... when I was 12 years old, I had long hair and I shaved the side of my head without my parents knowing." After high school, she dabbled in photography and directing music videos, but it wasn't until she came across Marilyn Manson's face-painted backup dancers at Ozzfest that Chance decided to enroll in a month-long beauty course. A decade later, her client roster includes Coldplay, Lily Allen, Marina & the Diamonds, Chloë Sevigny, Rooney Mara, Adidas, Nokia, and Target.
What appeals to you most about working with musicians?
I love working with musicians because they always want to change their looks or do something that no one's done before. For instance, when Marina & the Diamonds were on "Conan" recently, Marina was performing a new song that is really stripped-back and sad, so I suggested that we don’t do eye makeup. For the whole record, she had been wearing all of this eyeliner and bottom lashes, and I said, "Why not pare it down for this song?" So that’s what we did and everyone loved it.
Are there other musicians you like to work with, in particular?
I really love working with Lily Allen. When I started working with her, what she was doing was really fresh and new, and it's been great being a part of the evolution of her look. She ended up getting a big Chanel campaign.
How about Morrissey?
Working with him was really cool. I was thinking, "Of course, I'll work with Morrissey. It'll be great! It'll be so exciting!" And then I received a list of all the products that I couldn’t use on him because of his beliefs. I'm totally in favor of that, but I had to make sure I didn’t have any of those items in my kit.
When I was driving there, I became so nervous: "What was I thinking, saying I would work with Morrissey? What if it's not a good experience? What if it's awful?" Because I'm such a big fan. It turned out that he was lovely. Then, he told me he wanted eye shadow and I didn't have any with me, but I had these little pots of eyeliner. Still, I had no brushes because they were synthetic, so I put my finger in the eyeliner and smudged it on his eyelid to resemble eye shadow and he said, "Great, I love it."
During the shoot, the photographer took a picture of him making a kissy face and closing his eyes, and that picture ended up being everywhere – they used it for promotions, I saw it on a billboard in Las Vegas, and it's on T-shirts.
You also do makeup for an impressive group of actresses.
I really respect their work or with Chloë [Sevigny], I was already a fan. Chloë is low-maintenance and she's confident in her look. It's easy with her because she doesn't like to wear a lot of makeup and she doesn't need a lot of it. The first time that I did her makeup for a red carpet I didn’t realize how the photos would be everywhere – she even made Vogue Italia's look of the day. After that, when I would work with her for red-carpet events, that was in the back of my mind.
What is Rooney Mara like?
She's so beautiful. You can't really go wrong with her look, although she doesn't love getting all dolled up.
Are there special precautions you have to take for red-carpet makeup?
I always think of red-carpet makeup as making people look good for wire photographers. There's nothing beautiful about a red-carpet photo for the most part. The actresses are in front of the sponsor board with terrible light flashing at them, so it's making sure they have a beautiful glow. Luckily, I haven't had any mishaps. But when you see a picture of a celebrity with the wrong powder all over her face, I always think, "Oh, that poor makeup artist," because that celebrity probably did a touch up of her own in the car before she got out.
Do you have any product recommendations?
I like Armani foundations, NARS lip pencils, Chanel blushes, and Lancôme mascaras. I'm all over the place in terms of brands, but I'm loyal to each for their specific functions.
In terms of makeup trends, what do you think we’ll be seeing more and more of?
More metallics and gloss on the eyelids.
What have you been up to lately?
I finished working with Marina & the Diamonds and I did an ad for Lexus. Next week, I’m starting with a new artist named Priyanka Chopra. She’s a Bollywood actress who just signed a record deal with Interscope.