So, who exactly is Melanie Mills? Firstly, she’s a talented Makeup Artist who is never afraid to take the next step. With over 20 years on Hollywood sets, Emmy award-winning celebrity makeup artist Melanie Mills of Melanie Mills Hollywood is one of Hollywood’s leading makeup and beauty experts. Currently nominated for a Daytime Emmy for “The Real Daytime TV” with four Guild Awards, multiple Emmy and Guild award nominations, on-camera beauty expert, and author of “Glitter & Glam,” Melanie is a master of her craft. Known for her glamorous flair, supreme talent, and vivacious personality, Melanie’s journey began in Thousand Oaks, California. Eventually, she 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 are style icons in their own right. Melanie’s love affair with glitter, glam, and all things stylish has always been her true destiny. Melanie has worked on multiple hit shows and films. She is currently head of makeup for Emmy winning show “The Real Daytime Talk Show” and has been a key makeup artist for 10 years at Nickelodeon on hit shows “Icarly”, “Victorious”, “Henry Danger” “Sam & Cat” & currently “All That”.
Melanie also developed her first product – Gleam Face & Body Radiance – on the set of “Dancing With The Stars” where Melanie was head makeup artist & designer for the first 15 seasons. Once she saw it was hot and in-demand, she collaborated with top cometic labs to develop the now Iconic Gleam Face & Body Radiance. In 2011, Melanie launched her brand Melanie Mills Hollywood. Melanie is very hands-on and has refined her products to be an industry-leading makeup line. In a niche market and with little marketing dollars, Melanie has driven the company to millions in sales. She oversees all facets of the company.
Melanie is a standout and extremely inspiring. Mills is so well versed in her craft that she produces genuine artistry. She loves working on shows, teaching others, and creating beautiful looks. Mills also has a sharp entrepreneurial side with her Gleam Products. When Melanie had a quick moment to take a break, she spoke with Gemma Magazine, and we were thrilled to learn more about this talented creative entrepreneur!.
When did you know that you were interested in makeup as a career?
One day I was visiting a friend in Milan where she would finish signing up for a makeup school, and I went with her. It was a stunning cathedral-like building turned into a makeup school. The students were at the end of their courses and put together a show – it was all breathtaking and very alluring – the first thing I thought was to wait a minute – “you can make money doing makeup?!”
It just hit me! I had been living in Florence, going to school for Art, Art History & Language. I thought I wanted to be a translator. I just needed an excuse to live in Italy. I loved art and wanted a form of an artist’s life. I realized translating was not the path for me. I immediately found myself daydreaming of European fashion shows & shoots. I came home to share the news with my nana, my great-grandma that supported everything I did. I told her about my new dream of living in Milan and becoming a makeup artist. I was shocked when she had said she didn’t think the makeup business or entertainment business was the right path as the “business” is a man’s world and very tough to be successful in. She liked the translator idea. A few days later, I told my hairdresser that I had stumbled upon the idea of doing makeup; her roommate happened to be a makeup artist for film. The next thing that I knew, I met her roommate, and within days she referred me to intern on a set – as scared as I was with no experience, I jumped at the opportunity. I fell in love with doing makeup for film and tv; I guess I also had the drive to prove to my nana that I could be successful in what she referred to a “man’s world.”
Did you train formally?
Most of my experience comes from doing and learning right there on the set from great mentors. I did take a 6-week night course at Sunset & Gower Makeup Academy, and later once I became Union took makeup classes to be a journeyman.
What do you love most about creating a “look’? There’s this incredible & beautiful energy that takes over. It’s fluid, and it’s art! I love it when I’ve walked away to come back and feel excited about what we just created. Makeup is living and breathing and has so much to do with the person your painting. Though you can recreate the same look on the same person and recreate a look for multiple people – there’s always something unique with each person. It’s beautiful!
What was your inspiration to start Gleam?
It was a need. I had dreams of being an ambassador or lead artist for other cosmetic companies, and to be on their development teams, I never thought I would have the money to own my own cosmetic company. When I ran the makeup for Dancing With The Stars, I needed a stunning body makeup that would seamlessly even out the spray tans on the dancers, and it needed to work on multiple skin tones, be hydrating, create a stunning glow for HD and not get all over the place or stain. Nothing was giving me what I needed, and the body makeup was a challenge for the show. At first, I approached other companies to collaborate with me. I was then challenged by a founder of another brand to try to do it on my own. She gave me some referrals, and the rest is history.
You have worked on so many great shows. Does one, in particular, stand out?
“Dancing with the Stars” was a favorite and a springboard for the rest of my career. It was exciting to be a part of a trending, fresh, and fun show and known for its makeup. I was quite young to be running a massive show of that caliber with 30 million people tuning in life! Allure credited me for bringing the glamour back to TV as we were coming out of a very dull makeup era. I also was the first to experiment with glow, glitter & color live. Being a part of the energy, the nerves, and the teamwork was thrilling.
I love as well “The Real.” I feel I’m a part of another fantastic show that is at the forefront of being the first ethnic all-female talk show touching on sensitive political, ethnic & female topics while being fun. Not to mention, it’s all about the glam. Another current favorite is the reboot of Nickelodeon’s “All That.” We get to create so many iconic characters and work with so many actors from the original “All That.” This is a big makeup show ranging from healthy kids makeup to glam, fantasy, fx, and character work. I’ve always loved sketch comedy.
“There’s this incredible & beautiful energy that takes over. It’s fluid, and it’s art! I love it when I’ve walked away to come back and feel excited about what we just created. Makeup is living and breathing and has so much to do with the person your painting.” (Melanie Mills)
What keeps you inspired as a makeup artist?
I think fashion from the past inspires me – iconic looks from film, tv, print & music videos always get my juices going. I also love travel, museums, art & nature -I find it all inspiring. I must admit that I even love Instagram and flipped through so many creative looks that the kids come up with.
How did you decide to write a book, “Glitter and Glam”?
I was always so inspired by the Kevyn Aucoin books they were bibles to me. One day in the makeup trailer doing Brandy’s makeup, I said to her I would love to do a photoshoot with you as Queen Nefertiti or Josephine Baker, and she said, “Mel let’s do it!” I knew I had to act fast before moving on, and we lost our “moment.” I had already been talking to my photographer friend David Alley about doing some projects, and I said we got Brandy, let’s do this! And we did! The next thing I know after that experience, other actors I was working with, saw the images, and wanted to get on board. My husband and I then laid out the storyboard concept of the chapters and started working there. I created a little mini “sell book” to pitch to publishers and found a great agent. Next thing I knew, Penguin Publishing wanted in on it! The makeup and images and story’s through the pictures came first, then the writing. The writing was tough for me, and my husband worked with me every step of the way.
Thank God Penguin had deadlines, or I would have procrastinated that part forever! I wanted a big coffee table book with a hardcover. However, once onboard, the publishers hold the card at the end of the day of these particular choices. Since I had quite a few Nickelodeon stars in it, they wanted to target a younger audience with a lower price point and were very excited about the glittery holographic cover. I have a vision for a second book, and I hope it comes to fruition. It’s a costly project and takes a long time to accomplish, but it’s so worth it! Hopefully, the next will be a hardcover.
What you do is artistry. Who would be one of your dream people to work with?
Hmmmm, I feel I am so blessed to do so many amazing iconic people as it is. It would be a dream to work with top fashion designers like Donatella Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, or Marc Jacobs and run some of their fashion shows and work in Italy or Paris. But if I had to choose one person, I think it would be Zendaya or Charlize Theron – two different people, but I’m sure it would be two amazing experiences.
To keep up with Melanie Mills, you can follow her on the follow platforms: