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Bollywood Beauty, Live From Canada

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Screaming fans 25,000 strong took Toronto by storm this weekend to celebrate a year of cinematic achievement. But it was Bollywood A-listers, not Hollywood types, that were the big attraction at the 10th annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards. “Bollywood has a huge following globally—there are Indians all over the world who are obsessed!” makeup artist Vimi Joshi told Style.com of the event that takes place in a different city each year. “This gives people the chance to be a part of it,” she continued, alluding to IIFA’s audience appreciation program, in which tickets are sold to the public. They’re hot seats, too, as the evening’s entertainment goes way beyond emotional acceptance speeches and includes singing and dancing interludes performed by the nominees. “It’s mayhem and magic,” Joshi said. “And glitter madness.” Here, the MAC senior artist divulges the tricks of the trade for keeping all those bindis in place while 130 dancers twirl, twist, and sweat it out.


What would you say is the main difference between the IIFAs and the Oscars?

First of all, the Oscars are a much more private event. At the Bollywood Oscars, the public has access to it. People come from around the world—the U.K., South Africa, Canada, America, the Middle East. 25,000 tickets sold out in five minutes! And it’s very colorful. All the actors sing and dance. Imagine the Oscars where Brad and Angelina did a duet and then Jennifer Aniston comes on and does a dance as well!


How many dance numbers are we talking about, exactly

Six acts. There were 130 dancers doing three songs per act and in the middle of each they change outfits and sets.


So what precautionary measures do you have to take to make sure these changeovers go quickly and smoothly?

A month before the show, I went to Mumbai and saw the costumes and found out how much time we’d have between sets. The lipstick and the accessories change—and that’s it. The eyes and base have to last the whole show. This year we added bindi accessories. We found them in Mumbai. I literally went through hundreds of designs because we wanted something dramatic.


What about making everything smudge-proof? One imagines you get pretty heated up dancing through three numbers.

The dance numbers are so high and energetic, so the one thing we can’t use is moisturizer. Instead we drench the face in MAC Fix+ to hydrate the skin. Then we use the MAC Pro Full Coverage foundation—it’s a heavier, creamier texture. We do all of the contouring using the Full Coverage as well, in a darker shade. Then, in between acts, we mix MAC Studio Fix with water, and using a fan brush, we paint a wash all over the face to set the foundation. We cannot apply powder on the faces because it will look cakey. Instead, we use a muslin cloth from Mumbai called Mul Mul. We spray the Mul Mul with water and dab it on the performers’ faces to reactivate their base. It’s like you’ve just applied it!


Where do you begin as far as eye makeup is concerned?

This makeup was actually the simplest we’ve done in years. They wanted a defined eyeliner with lashes that winged out at the side. Then we decided to add MAC Glitter in a mix of greens on top of the eyeliner. We pre-made the glitter eyeliner the day before and as a base we used MAC Fluid Line in Blacktrack to make sure it was really set. We put MAC Eyeshadow in Amber Light on the eyelids.


Did everyone get the same jeweled clusters or do the big stars get more elaborate designs?

The stars look different. Each star wants to look like themselves when they go onstage, so the audience knows who they are. I did [actress] Bipasha Basu. She loves cat eyeliner, so we did a very exaggerated cat-eye with lashes, glitter on her brow bone, and gold shimmery powder on the cheekbone. We made sure the highlights were in the right place and everything else was matte. She didn’t get accessories—except for her last song, she wore a simple magenta bindhi.

Photo: Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

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