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The Makeup Secrets of Movie Stars With Celebrity MUA Tania Grier

From on-screen to off-screen, makeup artist Tania Grier explains the makings of an iconic beauty look. 


Tania Grier knows a little something about serving looks under lights, camera and action. The London-based makeup artist has a clientele list that glitters and glimmers with A-list celebrities. From actresses like Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Diane Lane, to models like Yasmin Le Bon, Poppy Delevingne, and Suki Waterhouse, Grier’s expertise and artistry is unquestionable.

As we dive into the role of beauty in the arts, we can’t help but take a look into the world behind the big screen. How do these timeless beauty looks carry themselves from the cinema to the red carpet to the streets? Grier walks us through what makes an actresses’ look iconic, from Audrey Hepburn’s bold brows to Jennifer Lawrence’s graphic liner.

What are some of your favorite beauty trends that you have seen evolve on screen?

I am a sucker for anything 70s, and there has been a surge in films and TV shows set in that decade. What I would have done to have gone to Studio 54 and danced with all those legends! The glossy lips, glitter lids and bold eyeshadow shades… Such a fan!

What does it take to create an iconic movie star beauty look? 

You need at least one thing to stand out and be memorable as a film star. Think of Marilyn Monroe with her red lips and beauty spot, Elizabeth Taylor’s strong blue eyeshadow in Cleopatra, Audrey Hepburn with her overly-pencilled brows and huge Bambi eyes, and Sophia Loren with the dramatic eyeliner. They all used more subtle versions of their screen makeup when they walked the red carpet because it worked and was easily identifiable.

What trends have you seen going from on-screen to the streets?

In recent years, The Hunger Games kicked off a trend for bold, dramatic eyeliner and graphic eyes, as well as using more colour than usual. Jennifer Lawrence had so many iconic looks in those films; it was just begging to be copied in real life and in magazines.

What are your 5 must-have makeup products?

I can’t be without a good mascara. Chanel Le Volume is my current favourite for impact. Before using mascara, I curl the lashes with Shiseido’s Eyelash Curler, which really opens up the eyes. Foundation would have to be Armani Silk because it gives the most natural coverage and radiance. SUQQU Nuance Eyeliners are my go-to, easy-to-use liquid liners. The shades are gorgeous and they never smudge. For red carpet, I’m never without NARS Red Square Lip Crayon because it looks great on every skin tone and creates instant glamour.

Top 3 dos and don’ts when it comes to makeup?

Don’t use too much foundation; only apply where you need coverage and make sure it’s the correct shade. Don’t be tempted to follow trends if they don’t suit your features; it’s more flattering to stick with classic looks. DO make sure you double-cleanse at night and remove ALL traces of makeup. It’s one of the best ways to prevent blemishes and aging.

If you could create a makeup look for any star, dead or alive, who would it be for? 

Faye Dunaway in her prime. Those cheekbones… The sensual lips… She was simply exquisite. If I was around then, I would have done a very strong look on her: dewy skin, bleached brows, jet black eyeliner, cream shadow with some eye gloss for a wet cat eye, thick mascara, and nothing else other than a nude lip… She would have pulled this off!

I would have used:

Where can our audience find you?

I’m on Instagram @taniagrier and “Planet Beauty” on Clubhouse, where I interview fellow makeup artists and industry leaders!

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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