Only in Paris: When Rive Gauche meets Hollywood

Always good for surprises, Le Bon Marché is constantly activating its customers with cool ideas and events like the recent Rive Gauche Los Angeles where our beauty director Lisa Arbellot caught up with the queen of Hollywood beauty Melanie Mills. Find out some of her secrets, after all beauty is more important than personality there. Ok, ok, maybe not.

Achtung Digital: Salut, can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?

Melanie Mills: As a kid I loved MTV and in my neighborhood I would gather all my friends to recreate or put on our own music videos. I was kind of the producer / director / wardrobe / makeup artist. Then in high school and college all my friends would come to my room and we would get ready together for dances, nights out and clubbing. I always seemed to do everyone’s makeup and I loved it. I then had the opportunity to go to school in Florence, Italy. I studied language, history and art. I was always drawn toward the skin and the angelic way the masters painted skin. After studying I then traveled Europe visiting friends. One time in Milan a friend was signing up for a makeup school and I went with her – when I stepped into this gorgeous old cathedral turned school – my first thought was wait, I can make a career from makeup? Back home I was complaining to my hairdresser that I “almost” went to makeup school in Milan. She said that I should meet her makeup artist roommate. She was offered an internship on a film, which she couldn’t do so she suggested me and the rest is history.

AD: What happened after that gig?

MM: The first film was only supposed to be six weeks but actually then turned into a four-month project. I worked as an intern for free on the whole project. I also attended Sunset Gower makeup academy for a six-week course. This was my only formal training. Everything else I learnt from just being on set and from my mentors. The hairdresser from that first project then took me under her wing and I started assisting her on low budget films for almost two years. Mostly horror low budget films.

I was lucky to get on a big film called “When Billie Beat Bobby” with Holly Hunter. I had to work hard – my boss on that one was really tough on me. From there I worked on many other various films and TV shows. I then started on the show called “Six Feet Under”. I became pregnant with my daughter Solaris and after birth six weeks later started on a sitcom called “Less than Perfect”. I did many sit-coms until I landed “Dancing with the Stars”. I created the look for the show; was head makeup artist for the first 15 seasons. I had the vision to bring big ballroom makeup with a Hollywood edge. We were just coming out of a very dull makeup period and I was credited of bringing the glamour back to TV screens. This is where “Gleam” was born. During this time I was queen of live TV doing many of these types of reality competition shows. I won an Emmy for Best Makeup in 2008 for “Dancing with the Stars” and have since been nominated 13 times. Two years in a row I was double nominated for two shows at the same time and I have since won three Guild Awards. I also wrote the best selling makeup book “Glitter & Glam”.

AD: What will you recommend as beauty tips or routine for women who work a lot, or who have kids, and not have enough time to take care of themselves?

MM: My biggest recommendation is to not give up on a beauty routine just because you feel settled and have less time. Products are so modern now and are engineered to be easy to use and long lasting. I think getting eyebrows waxed and dyed is important to help get out the door quick. Facials every six to eight weeks and a good AM & PM skincare routine. I know in Europe it’s not as popular yet but don’t be afraid of fillers and Botox. Just little bits of it to look natural is amazing for confidence and actually helps to build collagen. I think it’s important to find a great liquid foundation and concealer so you can quickly rub it on like a lotion. Of course, mixed with Gleam Face & Body Radiance in the morning and a touch of powder. Plus a great palette of fresh daytime eyeshadows and blushes with a beautiful lipstick and of course mascara. Voilà ! You’re ready for the day.

AD: Who are your beauty icons?

MM: Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Grace Kelly, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Cher, Dita Von Teese, Naomi Campbell.

AD: What is your best seller ?

MM: Our Gleam Face & Body Radiance.

AD: And the best spa you have ever tried?

MM: I’ve been going to Skin Remedy and to Judi Sebo in Westlake California for 15 years. She has taken such great care of my skin. She also uses SkinCeuticals – my favorite skin care.