Interview With Celebrity Makeup Artist, Fiona Stiles

#GGTakes5 is a new series that features those men and women who are associated with the beauty industry. In this series, you will find a host of insider tips, product recommendations and incredible advice from the best of the best.

Our next interviewee is makeup artist, Fiona Stiles. Famous for creating the most natural-looking base, Fiona belongs to that rare breed of makeup artists that can make you feel like an absolute Queen. Her roster includes the likes of Lily Collins, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks and Nikki Reed, to name a few. Scroll ahead to see our interview with her.

Fiona Stiles | Source: Fiona Stiles

Team GG: What is your signature look, and which products do you use to create it?

I prioritize beautiful skin and a look that leans a bit glamorous but with a modern approach. I don’t like to bury my clients in makeup. Maybe I’m even too light handed at times, but I want the woman to feel like herself. The best version of herself, but herself nonetheless. Recently, a client who wears zero makeup in her real life texted me to tell me how much she loves the makeup I do on her because she feels comfortable in her skin when I’m done. My biggest goal is to make someone feel confident, strong and beautiful on the red carpet, which is an inherently surreal experience to be sure. I also feel like my energy is as important as my work; I’m calm, quiet and unflappable even in the most insane conditions. There’s enough drama in the world, I’m not here to add to that.

I tend to focus one feature, a bold eye or a bold lip. Or perhaps I consider the whole face as the statement, working in monochromatic colors and tones. But I also take my clients personality into consideration; I’m not going to do the same makeup on Jennifer Garner that I am on Lily Collins. Each look is as individual as the person I’m creating them for. 

Lily Collins | Source: Fiona Stiles

Team GG: You have a way of making everyone’s skin look absolutely flawless! Is there a trick to making all those pores disappear?

I consider the persons skin type and then decide which foundation formula to use. I carry many foundations because it truly makes a big difference in the finish of the skin. Also, I have maybe 80 different concealer shades/formulas because everyone’s skin is different and one thing doesn’t necessarily work across the board. I love skin, and I love skin that LOOKS like skin, and not a mannequin... I mean these women are living breathing human beings and they should look like it. 

Gabrielle Union | Source: Fiona Stiles

Team GG: How important is it to prep your skin before putting on makeup? Do you have any special tips or products you use?

I’m pretty casual about skin prep, mostly because I don’t want to use something that my client might have a bad reaction to. I don’t like primers (expect for eye primers—more on that later) and even sheet masks can make me a bit nervous at times. If someone has oily skin I love the Ernest Supplies Matte Moisturizer because it absorbs oil and feels cool and refreshing on the skin. If someone has dry skin or if I want the skin to glow I reach for the Magic Cream from Charlotte Tilbury or the Illuminating Moisturizer from Tata Harper. Both of those products give the skin a radiant, luminous glow.  If a client has oily skin, or if I know they have a long night, I prep the eyelids with the Heir Atelier Eye Primer, a true lifesaver. It doesn’t change the color of the shadow like most do and it doesn’t make the shadow grab and make it patchy. I’ve recently started carrying it on Reed Clarke, my highly curated, “beauty super filter” e-commerce site. And for clients who have some under eye issues, the Armani Prima Eye Primer is incredible for keeping the skin smooth and under eye makeup crease-free. 

Nikki Reed | Source: Fiona Stiles

Team GG: What are 3 makeup products you can’t live without?

Only 3?! That’s not fair! Ok, I can’t work without a beautyblender, it’s become an extension of my hand. Nothing gives skin a glow like the Tata Harper Illuminating Moisturizer. I love the sheen it gives and the ingredient deck is beautifully pure. And lastly all of Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipsticks. The formula and colors are perfection. Plus it’s a matte that isn’t drying but it has little to no sheen, making it a red carpet favorite of mine. I can trust that that color won’t bleed or travel so I know my client will look good for hours and hours.  

Team GG: What’s been the most exciting moment for you career-wise?

I’ve had the tremendous honor of making up some of the most beautiful and talented women alive, but my biggest career highlight was the time I got to spend working with David Bowie. We worked together from 2002-2006 and it was truly magical. He was such a kind, funny man and obviously a true icon. I had been a mega-fan all my life, so keeping my cool the first time I worked with him was paramount to our being able to work together. I never once told him I was a fan or geeked out on him (although I know he knew because it oozed out of me) but he never let on that he knew. Such a gentleman. I really miss his presence on this planet...

Ed. note: This interview has been edited for clarity.