Denise Wynbrandt is the personal make-up artist and hairstylist to celebrities John and Joan Cusack. Her career started after attending the Pivot Point School of Cosmetology where her first projects were as a stylist for photo shoots and appearances for local bands. She branded herself as a celebrity stylist when she was hired as a make-up artist and hairstylist to Prince and his band during the 1999 tour. She has since been credited on over 20 films including Soul Food, High Fidelity, Barbershop, Must Love Dogs, and 1408 just to name a few.
Mz Mahogany: How did you become John Cusack’s personal make-up artist and hairstylist?
Denise: I met John and Joan Cusack on the movie High Fidelity and they began asking for me on many projects since then. I have to say that it is a major advantage to do both makeup and hair as the artist appreciates dealing with fewer people as they prepare to perform. Also many projects, such as commercials, want to hire one person to do both. I also have been “star request” for Marisa Tomei and Hillary Duff.
Mz Mahogany: How long have you been a make-up artist and why did you choose this profession?
Denise: Over 30 years ago when I was studying cosmetology at Pivot Point International I decided to work for performers in the arts. I began with local Chicago artist and my reputation grew. About 5 years later I was hired from the management of Prince‘s 1999 tour. During this 6 month tour with The Time and Vanity6 we made 7 music videos and that is when I fell in love with behind the camera work.
Mz Mahogany: What projects are you working on now?
Denise: Right now I am working on a reality show, will begin a TV pilot next month and hopefully start a TV series after that but there is also talk of doing a Vampire movie in New Mexico too!
Mz Mahogany: That sounds exciting! What project did you like working on best and why?
Denise: In the movie 1408, John Cusack starred in 80% of the film alone and he had to be sweating in heat to frozen in ice crystals, his handsome best to horribly burned in a fire, becoming bloodied to being submerged in water. Never a dull moment!
Mz Mahogany: Describe your makeup artist kit.
Denise: I would describe my kit as small but mighty.
Mz Mahogany: Do you have any favorite products?
Denise: Right now some of my favorites include the Kett Cosmetics Airbrush System, Brushes by Karens Matte Mineral Powder, Brush Up with Barbara brushes, Sorme pencils, CoverGirl lip stains, Yes to Carrots lip gloss, Cinema Secrets concealer, Ben Nye concealer, Visiora concealer, and MAC Cosmetics blushes & eye shadows.
Mz Mahogany: Do you think there is a major difference between using a known makeup brand and using the brands at your local pharmacy?
Denise: I always say “whatever works, works”.
Mz Mahogany: Do you use the same type/brand products on yourself that you use on your clients?
Denise: I apply the same attention to myself as my face becomes a good selling point. When the artist sees my healthy skin and flawless makeup application they are confident they will get the same.
Mz Mahogany: Speaking of healthy skin, do you think make-up hurts or helps our skin?
Denise: Good makeup application starts with a good skin care regimen. This has become more prominent with high-definition camera work as problem skin cannot be camouflaged as well without being detected.
Mz Mahogany: Do you usually recommend a skin care regimen to your clients?
Denise: Each person in my chair gets a personalized skin care regimen and information to continue home regimen for continuous healthy skin. Mineral powders have anti-inflammatory properties, SPF and do not clog the pores so they are my first choice. For more coverage I would move to airbrushing which is gentle and can also effectively apply water base foundation.
Mz Mahogany: Thank you for taking the time to interview with me. What tips can you provide to my readers to obtain a flawless makeup application?
Denise: Do not make many layers of make-up. Try to have only one or two if possible. For example do not put powder over blush over contour over foundation. Apply less make-up exactly where you want it and it will be flawless for many hours.
For more information on celebrity hairstylist and make-up artist Denise Wynbrandt, please visit her website http://www.denisewynbrandt.com/