We chat with Lady Gaga's makeup artist, Sarah Tanno

We chat with Lady Gaga's makeup artist, Sarah Tanno

Iconic looks

Text: Renée Batchelor

Sarah Tanno is the woman behind some of Lady Gaga's most iconic looks. Find out what this Marc Jacobs Beauty global artistry ambassador has to say about dream jobs, makeup must-haves and finding inspiration

Sarah Tanno has a career most people can only dream of including nabbing an Emmy for her makeup design in American Horror Story: Hotel and creating iconic looks on pop superstar Lady Gaga. The latest feather in her cap? Her appointment as a global artistry ambassador for Marc Jacobs Beauty. In an exclusive email interview, we find out tips on how to use the new Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon, and why Tanno loves doing fashion editorials the most.

What is it like being a global ambassador for Marc Jacobs Beauty and what does your job entail?
It is my actual dream job. I get to work with a team of incredible people who are now all my friends and support me in creating whatever I want to for the brand. I get to break boundaries in beauty while staying true to who I am as an artist.

I love that I get to be one of the first to try and give feedback on products. I am such a product nerd, I like to know everything. I love when we have photoshoots for the new products, that's where I feel most at home. I also get to travel and share product knowledge with amazing editors around the world.

Could you share with us why you love the new Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon? What are some interesting ways that we can use this product to create unique, 3D or ombré lip colours?
I love these crayons for so many reasons. The formula is lightweight and goes on in one swipe, with super smooth. rich pigment. The wearability is incredible so you rarely need to even touch up this product. I also love the multi-dimensional look it gives.

The key ingredient, ghost pearl, delivers this subtle shimmer that is not frosty or metallic, but gives the appearance of fuller, more radiant and younger lips. It's also easy to blend colors to create many versions of an ombré lip.



What are your top three Marc Jacobs Beauty products that you always find yourself using on your clients, and can you share your tips for using them?
The new Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayons, because I never have to worry about them coming off on clients' teeth, or fading or smudging before a red carpet. The Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner is another because of the incredible shade range. I like to use them as bold eyeliners, to blend out into eyeshadows or to use as a base. And last but not least, the Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara. It is just so thick and lengthening. I layer and layer!




You've had a very interesting career, including doing the makeup design for AHS:Hotel as well  for Lady Gaga's big performances like her Superbowl 2017 look. What have been the high points of your career,?
Creating the look for The Countess was extremely rewarding, especially after taking home an Emmy. I created 68 original looks in one series of the television programme. It was a very in-depth process of creating her character and was so much fun to look back on.

The David Bowie Tribute at the Grammys last year was also incredible. I got to re-create some of Bowie's most iconic makeups on another icon. It taught me a lot about different processes of applying makeup. Obviously the Superbowl was one of the biggest things you can do! It was so special to be part of that moment for my friend. I wanted to do something she would love looking back on, 20 years from now.


What's the difference when you're creating looks for television, performances, music videos, editorials and live appearances? Which is the most challenging for you and why? Which do you love doing the most?
For a red carpet or live appearance I really like my client's skin to show through. The event will determine how creative I get, but the skin will always stay looking radiant. My favorite is to create looks for fashion editorials. I love telling a story with beauty, and being able to work with creative people to bring the story together.

For television it's a lot of character building and continuity, and to pay attention to that can be challenging at times. For stage looks, my style is completely different. It's a system that's taken me years to perfect. More is more. Layering several products so its stays on through all the dancing, and costume changes. Creating something that looks amazing from far away, but also looks beautiful on the mega screen is a very precise balance.

If there's one piece of makeup advice you could give women today, what would it be?
I advise women to wear whatever helps them express who they are or who they want to be. You can enhance what you have or create a new persona. That's the beauty of makeup and what it can do for you.

What are you looking forward to most in your role as global ambassador? What new global trends do you think will be huge in 2018?
I'm looking forward to being part of Marc Jacobs Beauty in 2018 and continuing to break beauty boundaries and setting new trends. I have a good feeling about metallic and disco — the '70s era making a comeback. Or at least that's what I feel like doing!