Five Minutes With: Giorgio Armani make-up artist Thoa Tran

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Make-up extraordinaire Thoa Tran knows a thing or two about making women look beautiful. The make-up artist to the stars has worked on some of the world’s most famous faces in her role as Giorgio Armani National Face Designer. Here Thoa tells The Beauty Inbox about how working for Armani is a dream come true and her top tips on how every woman can look her best every day.

On becoming a make-up artist…
I trained in London College of Fashion where I studied make-up special effects. I graduated in 2000, so I’ve been a MUA for 16 years. I joined Giorgio Armani 15 years ago in October 2000 at Harvey Nichols – it was the first beauty store to launch in the UK.

On a typical day with Giorgio Armani…
It really depends! I’ll choose to describe the recent Paris Prive show. I arrived in Paris the evening before the show. The call time is 12.30am (call time in Milan is 6am) – so at that time you’ve been up; done your hair and make-up and then head to the venue where you grab a coffee and breakfast. They do amazing catering backstage at the shows.

We collect our backstage passes and find our stations – the team have our name on it so all we have to do then is set up our brushes, cleansing products etc.

Then approximately 45 minutes after arrival we meet the show’s creative director Linda and she demos a look on a model and we all watch, take notes and photos and then wait for our models – on some shows the models come early, always before us.

The models go for a re-run to see if there are any final changes Mr Armani would like to make to either the hair and make-up. We make final adjustments, then do another model. After that, we wait backstage to do any necessary touch-ups before the models hit the catwalk. We finish the show at approximately 7pm.

On the most enjoyable Giorgio Armani campaign…
The 40 Years of Fashion celebratory show April was definitely a highlight. All the models were really relaxed as it wasn’t fashion week. Everyone was in a really good mood. And there was a sense of occasion for the 40th celebration – the models and team had been hand selected by Mr Armani to take part. We were all so honoured.

We were backstage and saw all the fashion selected as highlights from past shows. I just stood there amazed by how current everything is and the reality of working with a real-life legend. Realising how many shows I have had the honour to have worked on, it was so nice. So many great memories. And Mr Armani was backstage with us all the time. It was a surreal moment that I’ll treasure for ever.

On her style icons…
I love Mr Armani and Alexander McQueen. I love people like Audrey Hepburn and I do admire Victoria Beckham. I love classic, elegant and slightly understated clothes that make you feel beautiful.

On achieving her favourite make-up look…
I love a glowy complexion and smoky eye. For the glow, I use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk and Fluid Sheer. The tip is to mix both into your base – I love shades 10 and 2 and 7. You can also wear it on top like a highlighter. It is really multi-purpose and can even be used as an eyeshadow.

On her skincare must-haves…
It would have to be Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Extrema. I’ve used it for eight years and before that I was head to toe in eczema. Also Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Mineral Soothing Lotion is the most amazing product for people with dry, flaky and sensitive skin. Try to use good skincare but also decent make-up. When your skin is good, your make-up is easy.

On her desert island make-up products…
I’d take Giorgio Armani BB SPF 50. It gives full protection and also a glow. It’s super light and minimises pores.  I’d also take Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer to give my skin a glow. And finally, Giorgio Armani Eye and Brow Maestro – I can use it on my brows; as eyeshadow; as contour and as mascara.

On advice to up-and-coming make-up artists
Practice, whether that means working for a brand or going freelance. And build up your kit. Choose a brand you really have a love for. If you love make-up, don’t give up. One day you will assist or work with someone amazing.

Be honest – with your clients and your customers. When you are honest and do what works with them, they appreciate it and trust you and know you are genuine. It is massively important. And finally, network, be creative, have fun and enjoy!

On her worst beauty faux pas…
When I had sensitive skin, I never used powders or primers  as I was afraid my make-up wouldn’t last. But my tip now is foundation, primer and powder for sure. Also, I guess I used to wear too many false eye lashes – now I believe in less is more!

On her career highlight to date…
Working backstage on the Armani A-team! And doing shows in Paris and Milan – it is absolutely amazing.

- as told to TBI

*Pictures courtesy of Armani. Gallery shows Megan Fox; Fei Fei Sun; and Thoa Tran

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