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An Interview with Mary Greenwell


Mary Greenwell is one of the most successful make-up artists of our time, working with supermodels, Hollywood stars, and fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair.  Her feel for aesthetics and her impressive talent allow her to develop new techniques and inspire trends again and again. Greenwell is well and truly a pioneer, trendsetter and a leader in the beauty industry.

Silhouette: Do you think that glasses draw attention to the eyes as an ‘accessory’?
Mary Greenwell: I guess they can portray your personality if you go for a Barbara Cartland sort of look, but ideally, they just showcase your face and work to enhance your natural personality, especially if you go for a Silhouette rimless pair which allow the light to reach every corner of your face without casting any unflattering shadows.

Silhouette: What do you think glasses say about a person?
MG: I don’t think they represent a personality trait at all. I wouldn’t like to think that way either. It seems a rather stereotyped process to assume someone is more intelligent because they wear glasses. That’s ridiculous!

Silhouette: So do you think there is a general idea that people appear more intelligent wearing glasses?
MG: No. Personally, I don’t think so. People wouldn’t wear them that way in their down-time, I’m sure. I’m sure there are people out there, who put on spectacles and head out to dinner in an attempt to appear more intelligent, but that isn’t the way that I see glasses at all. What shows intelligence is when the look in someone’s eyes is mirroring what they’re saying. This is why I love Silhouette’s Icon; they allow you to see more of the face and the eyes. I mean, of course I would love for my glasses to make me look more intelligent, but that just isn’t the case!

Silhouette: Working with Cate, are there any make-up styles that she likes/prefers, or you think suit her best?
MG: I work with Cate all the time, and she’s a very beautiful person. She doesn’t need any make-up at all really. But obviously, with photography, you apply make-up to even out the skin tone, and make the eyes pop a bit more, and that’s all we did really with this Silhouette Icon campaign.

Silhouette: And from a make-up artist’s perspective, do you manipulate make-up application to accommodate glasses.
MG: Well, the model tends to be chosen as they represent the look or theme the styling team want to achieve, so you work to enhance the face, with either a smoky eye, a bold lip, or a natural finish, whatever is required and then just add the glasses.

Silhouette: Do you prefer to do any particular make-up look when it is paired with glasses?
MG: Not really, it’s whatever you want to wear! If you want a flicky eye: great. Smokey eye: go for it! The question is ‘does your makeup look good without glasses’?

Silhouette: So then your general stance is that the glasses shouldn’t affect your make-up application at all?
MG: Absolutely! Just don’t worry about it. Focus on finding a pair of frames that suit your face. It’s quite a thing to go out and suddenly start wearing glasses, so the rimless Silhouette glasses are ideal to still show off your face and allow the light to access it. Therefore it is best to stick to the make-up that you know.

Silhouette: So were you briefed to use minimal/barely there make-up?
MG: Well, Cate just looks great in natural make-up, and this wasn’t about a smokey eye or fuller coverage. That wouldn’t work. It’s not how we work, and it’s not how Peter Lindbergh works. He works in a minimalist fashion, and although this wasn’t minimalist, it was natural. That’s what works in the bright sunshine of LA, and you wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. It’s just about making someone look really good. A small amount of make-up will always enhance the face, and too much just doesn’t work.

Silhouette: And is there one key product in your professional kit that you couldn’t live without?
MG: I couldn’t choose! Everybody is different, and they need different products because of that.


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