Q+A with Celebrity Makeup Artist Gita Bass
Gita Bass on her skin-focused approach to makeup, the connection she has with her clients, and more.
Originally from Australia, Gita Bass is a celebrity makeup artist now based in New York City. Her impressive client list includes celebrities like Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Olsen, and Tiny Fey, among many others. No stranger to being featured in top publications, you've likely seen Gita's work featured in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, W, and more. We were excited to sit down with Gita to learn more about her time in the industry, what spring and summer will bring for beauty, and so much more. Read on for the full conversation!
Q: How did you get into makeup?
I basically fell into makeup. I had always been obsessed with fashion and beauty, and my walls were plastered with images of ‘90s supermodels, but I felt I was destined for a very different career and went straight to law school from high school. I found myself totally uninspired, depressed, and desperate to escape, so I decided to take a year off and started doing makeup for my sister, a fashion photographer. Although I was just learning, she loved my work and suggested I pursue makeup seriously. I assisted some wonderful artists and then traveled to Tokyo and Milan, making money by testing models. I ended up in New York and haven’t quite managed to get back to law school. Maybe one day…
Q: How would you describe your style as a makeup artist?
I’m all about natural beauty. It’s definitely my thing. I love creating looks that highlight someone’s best features and that feel true to them. That’s not to say I don’t love strong, edgy makeup from time to time, or to completely transform a face, but for the most part it’s about making someone look and feel their most beautiful. When I work on someone, I want people to notice their unique beauty, not their makeup.
Q: When you think of all of the looks you’ve created, is there a favorite that comes to mind? What is it?
This is a tough one. I’ve been doing this for a really long time! I tend to only remember the work I did 5 minutes ago. I just worked on the Golden Globes with Tina Fey and I really loved that look. We went for a more downtown cool vibe, rather than Hollywood glam, with violet smokey eyes and glowy skin. I really loved it. A while back, I did a L’Officiel cover with Julianne Moore that sticks in my mind. I kept the makeup super muted and bare, just focusing on skin and brows, and I thought it truly showed how naturally gorgeous she is.
Q: You have a very skin-focused approach to how you do makeup. Why is that so important to you, and which products do you swear by to really help you highlight the skin?
To me, great skin is a super important part of any makeup look. I truly think if your skin looks good, then your makeup is halfway done. I also believe that most of your glow should come from your skin, rather than from makeup — it just looks more natural that way. I’m a huge fan of True Botanicals skincare. It’s an amazing, super clean brand that has completely transformed my skin. I always spray the skin before and after makeup with their Renew Nutrient Mist to keep the skin hydrated and dewy, and I often mix in a drop of their Pure Radiance Oil with foundation for some added glow. I also love the Tower 28 SuperDew to add over makeup on the high points of the face. It creates a gorgeous, dewy finish with just the right amount of glow.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
I love the intimacy and the connection I have with my clients. There’s nothing better than making someone feel beautiful and seeing the confidence that comes from that. I love tapping into my intuitive side to figure out what they want or need, which is not always easy, and getting it right. I find myself in so many “pinch me” moments at work and just feel incredibly lucky.
Q: From where, and from whom, do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! It comes to me constantly from nature, films, other artists, paintings, and living in NY, which is a constant source of inspiration.
Q: If you could've given yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your journey in the beauty industry, what would it be? Why?
Assist as many people as you can! That’s the best way to learn all sorts of different techniques and just general on-set etiquette.
Q: What are some essential products you always keep in your kit?
Great skincare products that work for a variety of skin types — usually the True Botanicals Renew, Calm and Clear. A range of foundations from light to medium coverage, hydrating to matte. Armani Luminous Silk and Neo Nude, Beautycounter Featherweight. Also, Clé De Peau concealer, a Kevyn Aucoin eyelash curler, Iris + Romeo Power Peptide Lip Balm, Chanel Inimitable Mascara, Tower 28 BeachPlease cream blush, Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen, Kosas liquid eyeshadow, RMS Living Luminizer, and the list goes on...
Q: What makeup trends do you foresee being big in spring/summer 2021? Are there any specific ones you’re excited to try yourself and on your clients?
I foresee a trend towards no trend! Just self-expression and “anything goes” — and I’m so here for it. We’ve all been in lockdown for so long and I think it’s changed our perspectives. We’ve had a lot more time on our hands and I think it’s forced everyone to dig deep and tap into their creativity. I think we’re all just so happy to be crawling out of our holes and working. It feels really celebratory. I’m hoping the days of the judgey blogs are gone and we can just take more risks and be ourselves. I know that’s more of a philosophical take on beauty, but that’s how I feel. I noticed at the Globes it was “anything goes.” Some people leaned into Hollywood glam, others went for natural, and some for edgy and weird. I love that. I hope the trend is to be true to yourself, because that to me is the most beautiful.
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Hairstylist partner in crime:
This will only get me in trouble since I have a few.....You all know who you are.
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
Q: Favorite drugstore or budget find:
CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara.
Q: Worth the splurge:
True Botanicals Skincare.
Q: Recent discovery:
Herbal Face Food.
Q: Brand you wish more people knew about:
Q: Favorite lipstick:
Q: Your last beauty empty:
Tower 28 BeachPlease blush.
For more of Gita's favorite products, check out her shop: