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Getting to Know the Glam Squad: Makeup Artist Fiona Stiles

Fiona Stiles Courtesy: Fiona Stiles

Contrary to popular belief (and what Beyoncé sings), stars do not, in fact, wake up flawless. And while it doesn't exactly take a village to get a celebrity red carpet-ready, it does require a glam squad.

This team usually consists of a makeup artist, hair pro, manicurist and, of course, a stylist. And while many of these members aren't as well known as the famous folk they fix up, we decided they should be. So we are shining a spotlight on the creative geniuses that make up Hollywood's beauty band.

First up? Fiona Stiles. She has worked with nearly every A-lister on the globe for the last two decades—from Halle Berry to Madonna. So as you can image she had lots to share:

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Fiona Stiles Courtesy: Fiona Stiles

How long have you been a makeup artist?
20 years. 

Where did you get your start?
I have always loved makeup. Some of my most vivid early memories are of makeup—a yellow nail polish (the name of the color was Maize) I had in elementary school, my mom's Indian Earth Terra Cotta blush (I was obsessed!), a particularly iridescent silver eye shadow a friend from 4th grade that rivaled any I've seen to this day. It all just mesmerized me from a very early age.

I went to art school (Rhode Island School of Design) to study fine art photography but I think if I had known that you could actually make a living as a makeup artist I might never have gone to college. After I graduated I moved to New York City and literally just kind of fell into doing makeup. It was never an intention; it just presented itself to me. Thank God. I've never looked back. 

What was your big break?
Assisting Pat McGrath in the mid-'90s. She was splitting her time between London and NYC and I was her New York assistant. Just me. If there were lots of girls, there might be one other assistant, maybe two, but it was very different back then than it is now. She still had lots of bags, though. And always a bag for books. I loved her purity, fearlessness and the ease with which she worked. And her sense of humor, of course. I'm so grateful for my time with her. 

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Fiona Stiles, Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks, Nikki Reed Getty Images, Invision/AP

What are a few of your favorite red carpet looks that you've created?
Nikki Reed
for the premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 in Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Banks
for the premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in New York City.
Halle Berry
at a 2007 Roberto Cavalli party in Rome.
Jennifer Garner
for 2014 SAG Awards in Los Angeles.

What was a near-fiasco that you've had to deal with?
Once, on a press tour with Halle Berry, the airline lost my bags between London and Rome. Thankfully I always carry on my brushes and a small bag of makeup for my client just in case. And luckily I think ahead, because it actually ended up being one of my favorite looks with Halle.

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Fiona Stiles

What items are always in your kit?
These are my staples:
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Hourglass Ambient Light Powder
YSL Le Tient Touché Éclat foundation
Benefit Sun Beam
Eyelashes from Japan
Tweezerman Tweezers
Contour powders from Japan (the formulation is sheerer than in the U.S.)
Surratt Brow Pencils
Chanel Les Beige 
Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

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Fiona Stiles Makeup

What new item are you currently obsessed with?
Well, being a true makeup addict, I am obsessed with a few things. Two new makeup lines to be precise: Surratt Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury. They both have products I find really exciting, but if I had to pick one I would say the lip colors from Surratt. They're just perfect. 

What is your favorite drug store buy?
NYX Matte lipsticks. The colors are so good and rich and really, really matte. You can get a pale '60s pink, a perfect neutral, an intense orange red and everything in between. I have them all. 

What about your fave high-end splurge?
I really believe in splurging on foundation and skin care. I love the YSL Le Tient Touché Éclat foundation. It gives beautiful buildable coverage and has a subtle luminous glow that is incredibly flattering, plus a very wide range of colors.

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Elizabeth Banks Getty Images

What's the best thank-you gift you've ever received?
One time I was working with Marisa Tomei, whom I had never worked with before, and she wasn't crazy about the accessories the stylist had. She asked to borrow all of the gold and diamond bracelets I was wearing, along with my Hermes watch. The next day I got beautiful flowers that said, "Thanks for lending me your jewelry, I almost kept the watch." I thought that was very sweet and funny. And yes, I got it all back. Including the watch. It may not have been the most extravagant gift, but it was the least expected, and funniest card, hands down. 

Who have you been working with the longest?
Elizabeth Banks. We met in 2001 when I was working with Madonna on Swept Away. We reconnected a few years later (I had changed my name when I got married and she couldn't find me. This was pre-Google!) and it's been about 10 years now that we've been working together. 

To see more of Fiona's work (like below) visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Fiona Stiles, Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry, Lucy Halle Getty Images

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