Beauty,  Features,  Interviews,  Make-up

Interview: Liz Tagg, make-up artist

Barefaced was so excited to get the chance to quiz Liz Tagg, award-winning make-up artist and founder of the Iver Make-up Academy on her typical day and of course on some professional tips and tricks!

Based in the heart of the prestigious Pinewood Studios, the Iver Make-up Academy offers real-world, on-set experience in Hair and Make-up to girls or boys wanting to start a career in the industry, providing diverse experience that champions traditional degree courses.

Tutors at the academy have won BAFTAs for their amazing work in the film and television industry, having worked on films such as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Les Miserables. Their courses include character prosthetic application, fashion, TV and film Hair and Make-up and portfolio building and in-house filming projects.

What is your typical day like?

Every day is different for a make-up artist. One day you might be in a glamorous location on a film set, for example I have worked in the Greek islands and beautiful stately homes, alternatively you could be doing a photo shoot in warehouse in London trying to keep your actors warm! If you are working as a make-up artist on films, you will usually be part of a team, doing long hours from early in the morning, either in a studio or on location. On major feature films, there is usually a separate team of hairdressers. You may find yourself working abroad for months at a time. Often my working day starts early in the morning, or if the production is filmed outdoors and the scene is at night you will be working through the night. It never gets boring. Alongside this, being a tutor at The Iver Make-up Academy is another aspect that keeps my job so varied. It’s rewarding teaching passionate people the skills you’ve learnt throughout your career. We offer such great courses and see our students doing so well afterwards.

Liz Portrait
Liz Tagg, professional make-up artist

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

Whether you work in film or fashion, as a make-up artist you may have the opportunity to work alongside highly skilled and often famous people. You may also travel internationally and enjoy a high degree of control over where you work. One thing to bear in mind is the freelance nature of the job – sometimes it is hard to imagine what you might be doing in a years’ time, and job security is not usually guaranteed. On the plus side, as an experienced make-up artist you have more freedom to choose when and where you work, and who you work for

Where do you get inspiration from?

Make-up artists are exactly that “artists”. Inspiration can come from so many different sources from nature i.e. making skin look like the bark of a tree. Inspiration can also be found through art, seeing how the master painters used light and shade in their paintings.

What is your favourite look to create?

I absolutely love 1930’s Hollywood glamour! The make-up and hairstyles for this era are stunning.


On average how long does it take to do a full face of prosthetic makeup?

Meryl Streep’s prosthetic in the film Into the Woods took her make-up artist Roy Helland 2 hours in total to apply on the day of filming, however the lead up to this point can take weeks. Time is taken to design the correct make-up looks and if prosthetics are being used then the actor is taken to the prosthetic studio to have a cast taken of their face to be made out of plaster. The prosthetic is then sculpted onto the actors cast so that when the piece is made, it fits perfectly to the skin. This process can take weeks from the first meeting when the cast of the actor is taken, to the day that the prosthetic is applied for the film shooting day. Some prosthetics can take many hours to apply which means the prosthetic make-up artists are in work very early in the morning.

Finally, do you have any tips or tricks ?

Spending time on getting the basics right first is crucial. Get your foundation perfect, whether you like a light coverage or full coverage, spend time with testers getting the correct shade and texture. Make sure to blend your foundation well around the hair line and down the neck. If you don’t get the base right nothing else will look good.