The make-up artiste who was in the city for a workshop speaks about her work in various films, love for travel and more.
The art of transformation has always fascinated her. The girl who studied make-up at London’s Greasepaint School, has worked with big names and make-up is her calling card. From Freida Pinto, Jade Jagger, Alia Bhatt, Kalki Koechlin and more, she brings artistic essence to the art of make-up. Her latest film design is due for release early next year with Love Sonia.
Make-up artiste Virginia Holmes who was in the city for a workshop, recalls working with Jade Jagger, “She was very cool. I had a day shooting with her at her home in Goa, and she was very relaxed. And I just love her hair! She is a natural beauty.”
Virginia’s learning kindled the urge to create new looks, experiment with trends. While the past 15 years have been about spreading her wings, she is thankful that her family loves India and understands why she shifted to Mumbai. The founder of fat mu, who she founded in 2006 with Natasha Nischol is onto piano lessons, now that she can take a breather. The duo designs and manages make-up for shoots, bridals, makeovers and impart knowledge with their state-of-the-art academy.
The travel buff, Holmes loves working on films, and the travel it entails, as it gives her a peek into sights off the beaten track. “Filming Lakshye in 2003 was incredible as the crew spent months in Leh. I never get bored of shooting in Rajasthan. In 2016, I ran away for a week to hunt dinosaur eggs in Gujarat and ended up in The Rann of Kutch, which I loved! Gujarat is fabulous. Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania was wonderful. I love Matheran too. Manori Belle off Madh Island in Bombay is also great. I shot a film in Orchha in 2011, and was blown away by it, very similar to Hampi. Incredible India!” chirps one clearly in love with India.
What fat mu bring to the dressing table is experience and knowledge which Natasha and she have, “We are artists who have worked in all areas — film to fashion, sfx to brides. We know Indian skin, our products, and approach is unique in India.”
But for those newbies who don’t know how to use make-up right, she advices, “Mistakes start with women wanting to look fairer which can end up looking off. The idea of acceptance would help women hugely. The sooner we ditch the Kardashian contouring/masking make-up look, the better.”
She worked with Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire, and the to-be-released Love Sonia, “I have huge respect for her as she was hurled into the spotlight in 2008 and dealt with it with intelligence and dignity. She is a lovely, straightforward, kind person in a complex industry. And what a face! Sculpted by the gods,” Virginia says.
The need to look good in an unforgiving industry is ever present, and Virginia agrees, “The bigger names come with enormous pressure, they have to look good. I just think in the age of technology and social media, it has brought out the narcissism that lurks in all. My advice? Get off your smart phones, limit social media!”
The artiste who loved working with people who like getting into character, has worked with Kalki, Alia Bhatt, and Arjun Kapoor, Anupam Kher, etc. Love Sonia is special, though, “The subject matter is important. I truly hope the film does well. It highlights human trafficking. It’s a film about a young girl and her sister and how they are trafficked. Tabrez Noorani, the director was fabulous to work with.”
The most surprising thing about her industry is how tough it is. And she wants to correct pre-conceived notions, “When you say make-up artist, people either think you’re uber glamourous (wrong) or an air head (wrong). It’s one of the most infuriating things. Make-up is an art! We are artists who work for a living. You are on the front line, and only as good as your last face!”