Gabrielle Jones is one of this country most renowned film and television makeup artists. Her career has seen her work across the globe for Walt Disney, in premium locations from central London to the more remote islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea. On set, as the right hand woman for A-list stars such as Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Gosling and Hugh Laurie these projects can take her off shore for months at a time. When she is at home, she juggles the role of director at The Makeup School, while being mum to two teenage daughters. Trudi Brewer caught up with Jones at her family home in Auckland, to chat about her career, her ideals of beauty and how to look on point at five am.
Tell us about your business, The Makeup School?
We opened in 2007, myself, and a good friend Dianne Ensor who is also a film makeup artist. We both felt something had to be done to raise the standards of makeup training in New Zealand, so we decided to step aside from the film industry and open The Makeup School (TMS). And we haven’t looked back. We offer an extensive range of makeup and hair styling courses from training professional makeup artists, to women who want to master their makeup look. We also now have a second business, an industry store ‘Makeup Collective’.
What’s a typical working day for you?
Working in and on TMS, and working as a film makeup designer. I try to stick to one movie a year, as it is all consuming and often involves overseas travel. I work 12 to 14 hour days, so my life outside of work is put on hold. My role is creating the overall hair and makeup look for a movie, in collaboration with the director, costume designer, and of course, being on set, ensuring everything looks perfect on camera. When I am at TMS, Ensor and I are responsible for the overall running of the school. We along with an amazing team of makeup artists (14 of us in total) are all passionate tutors, who teach, and source new products for our Makeup Store.
What do you love about your career?
I love to travel to places I would never be able to visit. I get to meet people, whose paths I would never cross, and cultures I would never have the chance to discover. I love the nurturing side of being a makeup artist, taking care of actors and models. And the opportunity to help bring a story to life, and see it develop from script to screen. And, of course working with lots of amazing new makeup and skincare products, which has become an obsession.
How has your career influenced your makeup style?
Five am starts and working long hours. I have adopted a minimal makeup style. That suits me, as I’ve always thought less is best. I like to say - blend, blend, blend.
What has been your career high to date?
I have had many highs for many different reasons. Filming up in the Himalayan mountains in India in 2014 on the yet to be released movie Beyond The Known World, was no less than extraordinary. And working with talented, intelligent, high profile actors along the way, has been fun. But it has taught me that no matter how famous you are, we are all just doing a job.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is such a personal thing and so difficult to define. There is the obvious internal beauty versus external. But for me, beauty comes down to being happy and content with yourself. If you project a positiveness, the rest comes naturally.
What is your one beauty indulgence?
My husband would disagree with me, but I feel I seldom get time to indulge in things for myself - like going to my hairdresser, Danny Pato at D&M Hair Design. So, having our stylist colour my hair at my desk, in the office, while I continue to email and answer calls - is close enough. It's quite a hilarious sight, and I’m sure our students think I’m mad.
What do you always keep on your bedside table?
My book of the moment, a glass of water, and sadly my iPhone on charge. Also, a selection of lotions and potions, including Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, it contains Retinol, which is a must-have ingredient if you are over 40.
What would we always find in your beauty bag?
Seriously what wouldn’t you find? Having so much product is a prerequisite for the job. I carry a small personal everyday makeup bag with Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer and Hourglass Veil Primer. I tend to spend more time prepping my skin, for a long lasting makeup. I use foundation sparingly; the brands include Chantecaille, MAC and Bobbi Brown . For highlighting, Hourglass Ambient Highlighting palette, which I use every day. I carry By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder, which is insanely fine and something I also love to use on film sets. Billion Dollar Brow palette is a must, with eyelash curlers and mascara. I love the MAC eyeshadow palettes, which are great shades and economical. A great blush and lip option includes Stila’s Field of Florals and MAC lip pencils. Also Bobbi Brown Intense Pigment Liner palettes. I could go on and on, but I better stop there...
What beauty advice do you find yourself sharing?
Use a sunscreen, that's my number one rule, especially as you get older. There is lots of pressure on women to look good, and keep up with the latest products. You are better off having only a handful of cosmetics that will benefit the skin. Read reviews, don’t always believe the hype and choose a few key products that work for you. If you can afford regular skin treatments, do it.
What is your philosophy when it comes to age management?
All those things you took for granted when you were younger are out the window, once you get into your 40’s. Healthy sleeping patterns, cutting down on alcohol, regular exercise, drinking lots of water, moisturizing, and using sunblock are more important than ever. You need to keep a perspective on ageing and strike a healthy balance between looking after yourself and embracing the inevitable - ageing with grace and humour. And I believe, less is best when it comes to wearing makeup.
What are the latest makeup trends you're excited about?
I’m so happy that a luminous pared back looking skin, is on trend, it has always been my absolute favourite look. This year it can be teamed with a bold matte lip or maybe a softly contoured eye using pink and bronze. Eyebrows are still natural and full, which is great. I think we are starting to look at current trends as an influence, and then create an individual look, rather than being slaves to something that may not suit everyone.
What are the make-up basics every woman should carry?
Even if you're not much of a makeup girl, lipstick will always give you an instant injection of colour. I also think a small amount of blush is amazingly effective, especially as we mature. And never, underestimate the power of powder. Used sparingly, around the t-zone, it will just take away any unwanted shine.
What is your desert island product?
La Mer The Reparative SPF30 Tint. Moisturiser, sun block and tinted foundation all in one.
What do you love about being at home?
Our home is a converted villa. Traditional at the front, and modern at back. It’s an airy summer home with lots of natural light, surrounded by the garden, it also has a fabulous city view.
What makes a great interior?
Clean lines and well-designed spaces that connect to each other. A great interior feels like a family home, not a show home. I love to mix old and new and always think of my garden as an extension of the interior; I love to fill my house with flowers.
What is your favourite room?
Our kitchen is a large space with glass doors that open up to our courtyard and garden. It's the hub of the house where we all gather. Where my daughters, and I bake, and my husband makes our most delicious family meals.
What are your most treasured possessions?
Anything gifted to me, by my girls, including those hand made cards. Family photos and artworks passed down that previously hung in our family homes are also very precious especially as my mum and dad are both no longer with us.
Makeup Nicola Harvey. Gabrielle Jones dressed by TK Store. Photography Olivia Wimset