Emmy Award winning makeup artist Melanie Mills is one of Hollywood’s leading style-makers and beauty consultants, known for her glamorous flair, supreme talent, and vivacious personality. Melanie’s journey began in Thousand Oaks, California, but she soon ventured throughout the world living, learning, and making memories that would leave lifelong impressions not only on her, but on those she encountered. Born to a family of intelligent, strong, and capable women, each style icons in their own right, Melanie’s love affair with glitter, glam, and all things stylish was her true destiny.
Today Melanie is one of the most sought after makeup experts in the industry. With more than 14 years of experience, Melanie is a master of her craft sculpting faces and bodies to true works of art in a variety of mediums including television, film, and editorial.
In 2007, Melanie was selected as the Department Head Makeup Artist for ABC Television’s global phenomenon Dancing With the Stars, where she completely redefined the look of the series and ultimately won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup Design in 2008. Melanie’s superior talent has earned her nine career Emmy nominations for her work on various projects in the Entertainment Industry, including two double-nominations.
While working with Dancing with the Stars, Melanie created Gleam Body Radiance; a revolutionary transfer-resistant body makeup that perfects and illuminates the skin in four shades and is sold worldwide. Expanding her beauty collection, Melanie launched Gleam Lip Radiance in February 2012. Made with organic and botanical ingredients, Gleam Lip Radiance not only moisturizes, but also can be used alone and lasts all day – or night – long.
Melanie continues to expand Gleam by Melanie Mills with new and exciting products, many of which are featured her book in “Glitter and Glam.” Melanie’s products and tips for creating flawless makeup for the face and body have appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and Access Hollywood Live, and in national publications including Allure, Shape, Vogue, InStyle, US Weekly, OK, Redbook, and People, among others.
I have always been a fan of bronzed skin! When I found out I was going to interview the woman who works magic behind the scenes for one of my favourite shows (DWTS), I was over the moon with joy. It was an absolute pleasure to interview Melanie, she is a true artist with incredible talent. I also had the opportunity to test out a few products from Melanie’s line and Gleam Body Radiance was outstanding. It definitely received the BB411 stamp of approval for “Must Have” beauty products. I hope you enjoy the interview and get inspired to add a little glitter and glam into your life!
BB411~ How did you come to work as a Make Up Artist, was it something you wanted to do from an early age?
MM~ I always did makeup for photo shoots in my neighborhood, or my friends’ makeup to go out, but I did not realize I could do makeup as a career until I was around 24 years old. I thought I wanted to be an Italian translator and live in Italy, which is what I originally went to school for in Florence. I visited a makeup school in Milan with a friend and fell in love with all things beauty and glamour. I realized ‘oh my god I could actually do makeup as a career!’
BB411~ How was it working as the Head of the Makeup Department on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, what did you love most?
MM~ I ran the makeup department at the show for 5 years and created the signature look of the performers. What an amazing experience! DWTS was fun, full of fabulous energy and great people. The best part was doing bold looks you wouldn’t usually see on TV. Meeting all the fabulous pro dancers and all of the amazing stars from so many different levels was great as well. It was a party and intense. I loved being backstage on a live show where you never quite knew what was going to happen next, but had to be prepared and ready for anything.
BB411~ You developed your own product line “Gleam“, how did that all come to be?
MM~ Gleam is a beauty line that started with Gleam Body Radiance – a makeup, moisturizer, and glow all in one available in four fabulous shades for every skin tone, and yet all skin tones can use any shade for a different end result. The bodies are a big part of dancing and a lot of skin shows. I wanted the bodies to look spectacular and I needed a product to help me even out all of the spray tanning that was going on. I needed a body makeup that would not get all over the place and, if it did transfer, would not stain. So I concocted the perfect recipe and came up with Gleam Body Radiance.
Gleam Body Radiance can create a tan, enrich a tan, and help to even out sunless tanning. It’s pigmented enough to cover small stretch marks, small varicose veins, and any uneven or blotchy skin. It can also be used to create just a golden glow or to highlight and contour. The ingredients are the highest quality and can be used on the face as well. Body Radiance is a must-have beauty product! Once I debuted Gleam Body Radiance, I then released the gorgeous Gleam Lip Radiance lip-gloss collection. Combining the best features of a lipstick and gloss – Gleam Lip Radiance is long wearing, anti-feathering, non- sticky, and available in 7 power-pigmented shades. The newest addition to the Gleam Cosmetic Line is Radiant Dust — a gorgeous luxe loose powder that mimics the 4 Body Radiance Shades. Radiant Dust can be used all over the face and the body and is stunning. This product is as unique as it is hydrating with Jojoba Oil as well.
BB411~ Tell us about your new book “Glitter & Glam“?
MM~ “Glitter & Glam” is a book to inspire all to have fun with makeup, step outside of the box and play with color. I give some basic tips covering everything from eyelashes to skin care to body makeup. Included are some natural looks, but I really wanted to capture the drama and glamour of makeup and how makeup can change one’s look and mood. I was so lucky to have 13 of my celebrity friend’s pose for 2-3 different looks. I focused on my favorite icons and stories, like Snow White, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Queen Nefertiti and David Bowie, creating stories that matched their personalities or features. One section of the book showcases the color wheel — where I chose 10 different solid background colors to feature 3 different makeup looks using the back ground color as inspiration. Red eye shadow, blush and lips – oh yes check it out. Another unique component of “Glitter & Glam” is The Faces of the World section where I took 3 girls of a same ethnicity and posed all 3 together in 3 different looks. This really shows the power of makeup and how it can change one’s appearance drastically! Again be inspired, play and make a statement!
BB411~ What is your signature look that you are known for makeup wise?
MM~ Gleamalicious gorgeous flawless complexions and body. I am known for revolutionizing the body for television. The body is just as important as the face. Glitter is another Melanie Mills’ signature — mostly from my work on DWTS. I am also known for glitter-izing existing tattoos. Last, but certainly not least, I love lashes and try to include them in each and every look.
BB411~ What does beauty mean to you?
MM~ Beauty to me is compromised of so many things, but most of all I truly believe beauty is a state of mind rather than an outward appearance. There are so many ways to find beauty. Beauty can be found in a nice cool breeze, or a sweet kiss from my daughter. It can be raw or sweet; it can be flawless or imperfect. Most of all beauty is what you have within! I find beauty in everything!
BB411~What inspires you personally and professionally?
MM~ Personally, my daughter inspires me daily. To make her proud – well there just is no greater feeling. I consider myself a creative soul and truly find inspiration in so many things, from movies, magazine campaigns, color, texture, trips, history and music – to name a few. I also love a challenge and nothing feels better than overcoming obstacles and achieving more each day.
BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?
MM~ I’m always supporting The LA Children’s Hospital; what they do for children and their families is amazing. I recently supported BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation at my “Glitter & Glam” Book Launch Party. Talia, the young aspiring makeup artist, touched my heart and I was so inspired by her. I was very sad to hear of her passing, so we wanted to honor her memory by supporting the organization that she was associated with and who still supports her legacy. Also a huge supporter of diabetes research – as my step-dad suffered for many years and ultimately lost his battle to the disease.
BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?
MM~ To give back with makeup in particular is to be able to inspire, drive, challenge and teach makeup artists both new and seasoned to be the best they can be. To help them find their way and to become great makeup artists themselves. I love it when I can offer new opportunities by bringing aspiring artists backstage to Fashion Week or hiring artists for various projects and productions.
BB411~ What is your skin care regime?
MM~ I love Skin Ceuticals! In the AM 1) wash with a foaming or cream face wash 2) tone with the spray toner 3) apply eye serum 4) apply eye balm 5) apply a neck, chest and hand corrector 6) lotion (Emoliance is amazing and I would bathe in it if I could) 7) Always apply sunscreen.
In the PM I use 1) a clarifying cleanser with exfoliation then all the same steps but with heavier creams and sometimes Retina A. I also try to get facials every 4-6 weeks.
BB411~ What are three beauty products you carry with you always?
BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?
MM~ Uggggg so tough, but I think my Gleam™ Lip Radiance is my must-have product!
BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?
MM~ Just start doing it! Take it step by step. No job is too small or too big. Sometimes you even have to donate your time for the experience and recognition. Outline your dreams and make a plan to get there. Most importantly – network, network, network!
BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?
I try not to define my life by segments, but as far as the future I do have big plans and know that the timing will work itself out. For my future, I definitely see Gleam™ as a major brand competing with all the other key players in the industry. I plan on building my resume and ultimately running major fashion shows in NY, Paris, Milan and London during Fashion week. As I debut my first book, “Glitter & Glam” I hope to one day be on the NY Times Best Seller List with 1-2 more books on the shelf. Also, would love to do some producing and directing!!! I definitely see more traveling opportunities ahead while producing stylized shoots. Most important – I plan to always stay content at home and in my garden with my family and friends feeling accomplished and successful.
BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
MM~ LIFE! BEAUTY! LOVE!
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Much Love, Beauty Buzz 411