If you think awards season is busy for the stars, just wait until you get a glimpse at Kate Lee's schedule. As a celebrity makeup artist for Chanel with clients like Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Rooney Mara, Sienna Miller and Rose Byrne, she often has to prep multiple gals for one big event. Then there are touchups.
Luckily for us we caught Kate in a very rare down moment. So she was happy to dish on her career in beauty and some of her all time favorite red carpet looks. Here's what she had to share:
How long have you been a makeup artist?
I knew that I wanted to be a makeup artist when I was 11. It was the 1980's and I was obsessed with musicians of that time, so I chose my school subjects in order to be considered for fashion school. In 1991 I began studying at The London College of Fashion, and my career path began.
What was your big break?
My first big break was when I was still at college. The designer of Moschino saw an editorial I had done in iD magazine and tracked me down to book me for their London Fashion Show that season. I had zero experience, and I ended up with 25 assistants. We did one face each and it was quite hilarious!
What are a few of your favorite red carpet look that you've created?
Anne Hathaway at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards.
Rooney Mara at the 2012 Academy Awards.
Keira Knightley at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards.
What was a near-fiasco that you've had to deal with?
My most stressful moment was on a trip to Morocco many years ago, when my kit did not arrive. I went to the souk and bought pure pigments to use as make up. I stained the models eye lids bright pink!
Another time I was travelling directly from Rome to work at the Toronto Film Festival with Keira Knightley. My kit didn't arrive and so I had to call the girls at Chanel in New York City and ask them to overnight a whole kit to me for the next morning! Very stressful indeed, since it was late and there was no opportunity to shop for new product!
What items are always in your kit?
Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist
Muji thin cotton swabs
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance
Chanel Les Beiges—in every shade!
Shiseido makeup concealer brush
What new item are you currently obsessed with?
Currently, I am obsessed with my black Beauty Blender Sponge. It is amazing for foundation or powder.
What is your favorite drug store buy? What about fave high-end splurge?
I must admit, at the risk of sounding snobby, I don't really shop at the drugstore for anything for my kit apart from wet wipes. Though I do buy Eos organic lip balm because my niece in the UK loves it so I always bring it home for her. My high-end splurge—since I am lucky enough to work for Chanel—is usually Kanebo cosmetics. I love the facial masks.
What's the best thank-you gift you've ever got?
I have received some spectacular gifts and flowers from Chanel. They really know how to make a person feel special! What stands out most is the dinner party the brand threw for me and my four fellow Chanel celebrity makeup artists for our fifth year anniversary with the company. It was a truly magical night.
Who have you been working with the longest?
Keira is my most consistent long-standing client, and the lovely Anne Hathaway. Loyalty is the greatest complement a freelance artist can be paid. I feel very fortunate to have such beautiful girls to paint.
To see more of Kate's work folow her on Twitter.