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Elan Bongiorno: Career of a Make-Up Artist

Rosanne Ullman | July 10, 2011 | 10:11 AM

“I never talk about the celebrities,†says make-up artist Elan Bongiorno, who does enough recognized faces to know the rules of the Hollywood road. “That’s probably one reason I’ve been successful.†Bongiorno makes just the slightest exception to dish a little with FirstChair. Her current client list includes actresses Heather Locklear, Sofia Bush, Marcia Cross and “Desperate†castmate Eva Longoria, whom she’s been doing for three years.

“Most of my clients love long lashes,†Bongiorno reveals. “Eva does!†Bongiorno recalls a nice compliment that Longoria once gave her: “Anybody can do a smoky eye, but you give me beautiful skin.†Celebrities tend to already have beautiful skin, Bongiorno admits, but she gives them that little something extra. “There’s nothing like a luminous glow when you’re going down the red carpet,†she says. “It makes all the difference! That’s one thing I’m known for and what I like to do.â€

looking good for photo opportunities

There’s a challenge in preparing a face that must go from looking perfect for the flashing cameras as the star walks the red carpet in sweaty August L.A. to still looking perfect hours later when the same star presents or accepts an award on stage on live TV. At this year’s Emmy Awards, Bongiorno fesses up to cheating.

“I did touch up Eva and Heather before they presented on stage,†says Bongiorno who, with husband Anthony Maldonado has her own line of cosmetics called Enjoue Beaute. “But when make-up is done right, the person will look good on tv, in print or in person.†Bongiorno uses a lot of makeup. “I don’t like a face to be matte and flat,†she explains. “I like to highlight parts of the face like the cheekbones. And I always make sure I use a primer. Prime the skin, and it will absorb the oils so that anything you put on top of it will stay.â€

faces are like palettes

Her regimen for preparing the face before applying make-up to her clients—celebs and non-celebs alike—in order, is:
1. Moisturizer
2. Primer
3. Foundation
4. Concealer for under-eye and other dark places
5. Powder (dust lightly)

For lips, she applies powder over the lip liner and then applies gloss. “The gloss will wear, off, but she’ll still have her lip liner,†says Bongiorno.

Bongiorno is known for creating gorgeous looks, very sultry or sun-kissed bronzy. “I do glamor, red carpet,†she says. “I enhance women’s natural beauty; I don’t mask it. That’s why I love working with regular women as much as with celebrities.â€

Elan Bongiorno: Career of a Make-Up Artist
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