THE INSIDER: ROBIN MATHEWS
Meet the face behind Kristen Stewart's face.
Bella Swan’s lips. Joan Jett’s eyes. Kristen Stewart’s cheeks.
This story was published on February 10, 2010.
You can thank Robin Mathews for all three. The expert makeup artist has painted the faces of everyone from Dakota Fanning to Anna Faris, but, after working on the second and third installments of the Twilight franchise, her latest project just might be her most wild yet. As the makeup department head of The Runaways, she figured out a way to perfect the smoky eye. The good news? She tells NYLON how to get it, sans professional help.
What’s harder: making someone look like a rock star or a vampire?
That’s a good question. Probably The Runaways was a bit harder, because it was recreating real people, icons. It was hard to live up to—although Bella is pretty much a teen icon, too.
How much research did you have to do for The Runaways?
So much! That’s one of my main focuses as a makeup department head; I really enjoy delving into the research, no matter what the movie is. For The Runaways, we had binders in the makeup trailer with about 5,000 photos total, and then I lined the entire trailer with tons of photos of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. It was really important to get [Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning] to look as close to the real characters as possible, which meant doing a lot of chiseling—with Kristen, we used some prosthetic appliances.
What would you say is the basis of the Runaways' look?
Joan is known for her amazing smudgy black eyeliner that she wears better than anyone else in the world. For Cherie Currie, she was a little more of a chameleon with her makeup. She had a twin sister, Marie Currie (played [in the movie] by Riley Keough), who was a makeup artist in real life, so they played with their makeup looks quite a bit. But it always seemed to be more about the eyes for the two girls, they’re the two that created the iconic looks. They really broke down barriers with that smoky eye look that we like to wear today. And Cherie would do smoky eyes like nobody else, with blue and gold, or silver and brown, she’d wear all types of colors for a smoky eye.
What’s the best pencil for a Runaways-inspired smoky eye?
Make Up Forever makes a great one that’s long-lasting. Also, the regular MAC kohl eye pencil is great for smudging.
You just finished doing Kristen’s makeup for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. How would you describe Bella’s look?
Her look was so tricky, because she had to be a naturally pretty girl, but she’s also surrounded by these mythical creatures. She needs to be plain, but beautiful at the same time. It’s all about the flawless skin and a naturally pretty cheek color. The number one question I get is the lips—and I can’t give it up yet!
Who’s your beauty icon?
Kristen Stewart—[she’s] the most chameleon-like actress that I’ve ever witnessed. She can play a beauty or a wreck at the same time if she wants to.
Why do you think that is?
The mainstay of it is her acting ability, but she just has a bone structure that allows her to be morphed into other things easily. It’s what she does with the physicality of [acting]. We had just finished shooting New Moon a week prior to The Runaways, and I started noticing that she had a little bit of a hunch—I never really noticed that she stood like that and walked like that. And [then] I realized that’s how Joan [Jett] stands, because she plays the guitar. We shot Eclipse two days after The Runaways [ended], and the hunch was gone!
True or false: You need to take off your makeup every night—even if you’re a rock star.
Absolutely every night, you need to take off any foundation. It’s definitely a good idea to take [eye makeup] off, but for a true rock’n’roll smoky eye, leaving that black eyeliner on overnight is sometimes a good thing to do.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS