VIOLET GREY: YOU’VE RECEIVED
NOMINATIONS AND AWARDS FOR PLAYING ICONIC WOMEN LIKE ROSA PARKS AND TINA
TURNER. WHAT ROLE DOES HAIR AND MAKEUP PLAY IN TAKING ON A PART LIKE THAT?
ANGELA BASSETT: For me, it’s vitally
important. Once you see that come to life you can see the character slowly
emerge. It allows you to go deeper, to discover her perspective and her
idiosyncrasies. I look in the mirror to see how she moves, how she feels, how
she speaks; then the moment happens when it’s like ‘Hello, I’m here.’
READY FOR THE RED CARPET IS A RITUAL FOR MANY ACTRESSES. WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR
A.B.: My first
question is always ‘Is my team available?’ I wish I could do all of this, but
everyone has their gifts. Then I just sit there with my eyes closed. If
I open them it’s only because I’m trying to get a few tips for myself!
V.G.: SO YOU GIVE
YOUR TEAM TOTAL CREATIVE FREEDOM?
A.B.: I do. I
just let them do what they do because they marry the look to the moment. It’s
like a dance: We’re all doing it, and every person has their part. Everything
has to meet and become one voice.
V.G.: WHAT KIND
OF TIPS HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR TEAM?
A.B.: One thing
that I’ve learned is don’t bring your false lashes all the way to the end of
your eyes because it will bring your eyes down.
V.G. HOW DO YOU
PREPARE FOR THE RED CARPET IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO AN AWARD SHOW?
A.B.: I try to
watch my diet so I can fit into whatever I am wearing. Cut the sugar, the
alcohol and the bread, and eat a lot of protein and veggies.
V.G.: WHO MAKES
A GOOD DATE TO AN EVENT?
A.B.: A friend
or a sister. I mean, the husband is always great, but there is something about
V.G.: WHO DOES
THE RED CARPET WELL TODAY?
A.B.: Cate Blanchett,
Penélope Cruz, and, of course, Lupita [Nyong’o].
V.G.: YOUR SKIN
IS PRISTINE. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?
A.B.: When I’m
in New York I see my friend Mamie
McDonald at Skin by Mamie. She understands skin. She makes it glow.
V.G.: HOW IS
GETTING DRESSED FOR A NIGHT OUT DIFFERENT WHEN YOU DO IT ALONE?
A.B.: Well, it
only takes me about 10 minutes! I start thinking about it in the car on the way
home. Do I want to be flirty? Sensual? Powerful? Then I try to dress for that
feeling. My husband [actor Courtney B. Vance] always says ‘Lord, you’ve made
something out of nothing, how did you do that?’
V.G.: WHAT IS YOUR
GO-TO MAKEUP LOOK FOR A NIGHT OUT?
we had the wrap party for Whitney [the biopic Bassett directed], and it
was real simple: foundation, mascara, a red lip, and you’re done. I’m not very
good with eye shadow, but I’ve got foundation down.
V.G.: AND WHAT IS YOUR FOUNDATION SECRET?
foundation is Kevyn Aucoin; I like that. and I have to use the BeautyBlender—I fell in love as soon as I tried. You don’t see where the makeup starts and
V.G.: WHAT IS
YOUR GO-TO RED LIPSTICK?
A.B.: Nars Red Lizard.
V.G.: WHAT IS
THE FIRST PRODUCT YOU PUT ON IN THE MORNING AND THE LAST PRODUCT YOU PUT ON AT
A.B.: I use GrandeLash
in the morning and Dr. Lancer’s lash serum at night; they’ve really
helped my lashes grow. I had individual lashes put on last year, and when you
take them off you feel like you have snaggle lash.
V.G.: WHAT DO
YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR?
passionate woman who knows what she loves and has been blessed to be able to do
it…and continue to do it!
V.G.: WHAT IS
YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?
V.G.: WHEN DO YOU
FEEL THE MOST VULNERABLE?
A.B.: When I’m
told I can’t do something. When I’m told I’m not good enough, that I can’t have
something, can’t go somewhere, especially because of the color of my skin.
V.G.: YOU’RE SUCH A STRONG WOMAN, I BET YOU ALWAYS FIGHT FOR THE THINGS YOU WANT AND COME OUT ON TOP.
A.B.: Not with
everything, but that’s when you stick out your chest and you gather your
strength. I was raised by my mother, and she taught me how! You can’t be in
this industry if you’re afraid of a little rejection.
V.G. WHAT KIND
OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ACTORS JUST STARTING OUT IN THEIR CAREER?
A.B.: It’s the
same with everything: You have to study your craft. Actresses make it look easy
because that’s the way it should look—effortless. When a great actor does
their job they’re leaving a piece of their soul in the room. It takes a little
out of you, but that’s okay. Life will take a little out of you, love will take
a little out of you. We’re talking about demonstrating the best and worst of
the human experience.
You can’t be
in this industry
AFRAID of a little rejection.