I used to attend an ashram in upstate New York for years and there I met a lot of interesting, talented folks and one of them was makeup artist, Pati Dubroff. I’ve followed her work over the years and she has become one of the top go-to professionals for red carpet stars like Liv Tyler, Karlie Kloss, Kylie Jenner, Margot Robbie and Dakota Johnson. She’s now at Laura Mercier but she got her start assisting François Nars and traveling with Naomi Watts. She sat down with People magazine to share her beauty secrets. Here’s an excerpt,
“I moved to New York City right after I graduated high school — pretty much the next day — and my first job was selling makeup at the Yves Saint Laurent counter in Bergdorf Goodman. I’m really grateful for it because it gave me the opportunity to put makeup on all different kinds of people and really practice all day long. I didn’t even go to any formalized schooling — I think of those days at Bergdorf’s as my prep school.
After that, I worked at MTV studios, which, in the early 80’s was a really exciting time to be there. Will Smith had a show called Yo! MTV Raps and I was in the studios doing makeup on the VJs and whoever came through. And then Cindy Crawford launched a show called House of Style and I started to do makeup for those shows in the beginning. Then I started to assist on fashion shows and I met with the big makeup artists of that time, and became Francois Nars’ assistant for a year and a half and I would go to Paris and Milan for shows and do photo shoots with everyone. It was a very exciting time to be in the fashion world. After assisting him I broke off and started doing work on my own and literally working with some of the photographers I had met at the assistant level. And that started my journey in the fashion world.
Who was your mentor?
François Nars. He wasn’t just someone who let me observe and he also let me be proactive, he was a great teacher in that he would do half the face and I would do the other half of the face. He’d ask me questions, he’d talk about why he was doing things. I learned how to be very precise and fast, which is so important because if you take too long on a base, you really just end up messing it up.
How did you land your first celebrity client?
It was Liv Tyler, when she was an actress but she was modeling too, doing fashion magazines. It really was the early stages of actresses making a big presence in the fashion world. She was one of the early ones I had shot a cover with — we met on a cover shoot for Jane magazine — and definitely the first one whose makeup I did for an award show. She was presenting at the Oscars with her dad and that was my first time doing anything for the Oscars. That was a long time ago.
When did branch out on your own?
When I worked with François, it was really fashion, fashion, fashion. We worked with Madonna, who was obviously a very big celebrity, but it was about the fashion. It was more and more actresses being photographed for fashion magazine covers and I started to find that what suited my personality was working with actresses and really making these women look like the most incredible versions of themselves. That’s really when I feel like I came into my own because I accepted that the world of Hollywood and the beauty of actresses was a good fit for me.
What’s your all time favorite look that you’ve created?
Most recently, I did Margot Robbie for the Suicide Squad premiere. It was perfect. Doing a lip like that is hard, really hard. I was online with my fingers and my toes crossed, hoping that it photographed well. It photographed perfectly.
What’s the most important lesson that you teach your clients?
To keep their brushes clean. People have to be taught that.
What would you say is the coolest part of your job?
When someone looks in the mirror after I’ve worked on them and they see a reflection back that makes them feel really confident and really beautiful and gives them a boost of beauty energy. That’s pretty darn cool.”