Daniel Bauer: Making (up) the Bollywood Beauties

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This man is as distinctive as his work! Ace make-up artist Daniel Bauer is reckoned as the best in the beauty business and is the preferred choice of A-list celebrities and fashion designers in the showbiz industry. Currently making waves in the glamour world, Daniel had a feeling (very early in his life) that he was meant to be a part of the beauty industry.In an interaction with Surbhi Varma, he shares how he was swept by the supermodels of the 1990s, about his love to create beautiful work, and what it takes to be a successful makeup artist.


At what age did you realize that you were meant for the fashion industry?

My mom is Thai, dad is German, grandmother is Chinese and grandfather is Indian, but my brother and I are proud Australians, born in Perth. When I was around 5, we left Australia and moved to Germany. I feel my character is built on many different aspects of being an Australian and also having a German dad and dual citizenship.

Being a kid of the ‘70s, I was old enough to be swept away by the supermodels of the ‘90s and the cultural role they played. At that time it was Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer who ruled my world. As unlikely as it seems, they both influenced me greatly. My German character, you can say, was what Claudia showed the world; control and precision, while my Australian attitude and identity was everything that Elle stood for; fun, carefree.

From the age of 14, I knew that the fashion and beauty industry was the one for me. I felt it was an arena where ‘different’ people, who thought and did out of the box things, were championed and welcomed.

When did you decide to become a professional makeup artist?

After finishing high-school, a journey in the world of fashion was miles away from the career path that my parents wanted me to pursue. So succumbing to the family pressure, I studied nursing (psychiatric nursing in specific). I often cracked a joke that a career in psychiatric nursing certainly equipped me to deal with some ‘model moments’.

But in my early 20s, I was under a different pressure! On one hand, I wanted a career which would allow me to express and explore the creative side of my personality, while on the other hand, I needed a steady career, a job to pay bills and keep my parents happy. It is a part of German culture, the steady and safe career plan. The pressure was a challenge. And while one option was safe, the other was risky
and unknown! I never, even for a second, doubted my decision, even when I was doing three things.

I studied nursing during the day, was at a makeup school in the evening, and was working in a bar at night. I Certainly had this realization quite early that a career in makeup involves hard work. However, I also knew that it was worth the expensive courses and equipment and the long hours of toil. The makeup career pays for itself in the end!

What are the three indispensable tools in your makeup kit?

Wet wipes, Q-Tips and lip balm. I do not think I can do my job without these. If a product or brush is missing, one can still improvise, but life as a makeup artist without a Q-Tip is a nightmare.

What kind of hair do you love to work with?

Models who wash their hair twice a week are a dream to work with. The more you wash your hair, the more smooth and shiny it becomes.You have done such beautiful work and with so many celebrities.

Who else would you like to work with?

It is probably less about who I want to work with and more about the looks I would love to try on certain actresses. I have been able to fulfill some creative visions, be it with Coco Rocha where I
created a warrior hair net for her, or turning Aishwarya into a ‘70s punk glam rocker for Noblesse.

What are the beauty tricks you adhere to?

I always believe that ‘less is more’.

Your advice for young makeup artists who have just begun their careers.

There are many, many sleepless nights before you can become a real ‘overnight’ success.

What is the Daniel Bauer signature look, a favorite style that sets you apart from the other makeup artists?

I love to make and do beautiful work! It can be edgy, dark or glamorous, but it has to be aesthetic. Edgy just for the sake of being edgy does not click for me. In India, the makeup work always needs to be beautiful, no matter what. As an artist, it is important not to have a signature
style, but to be adjustable and adaptable as and when required.

What are the current projects you are working on and with whom?

At the moment, I am working with Aishwarya(RaiBachchan) for ‘Fanney Khan’ and Katrina (Kaif) for ‘Thugs of Hindustan’. Ironically, the looks for both characters are very strong. Besides these movies, I am working on a few television assignments. My academy team and I completed the phenomenally successful India’s Next Top Model for MTV Channel, and in a few weeks’ timeTop Model for Colours Infinity Channel will be on air and it is a very exciting American TV format, which Akash from Bulldog Media has brought to India.

From working in the fashion industry to working with top actors in Bollywood, how did the transition happen?

Variety is the spice of life, and nowhere is this truer than in India. I believe it is important to not pigeonhole your career. The sign of any good artist is having the versatility of skills to work on an assignment, be it Band Baaja Bride with the bride-to-be, India’s Next Top Model with
model-to-be or a Lakme Fashion Week or IIFA with the top people of the industry. Having a portfolio as varied as the industry you work in is vital in your career span.

What has been your career’s biggest challenge?

Well, the answer is simple. The biggest challenge of my career has been staying apart from my family (due to professional commitments).

What is the biggest faux-pas when it comes to makeup?

The biggest faux-pas in makeup is believing there are faux-pas in makeup. Makeup is about expression. Never allow any other person dictate what you should do and what you should not
with your face and your own makeup, not least a makeup artist. Experiment, play, have fun and there are no rules, and if there is, find them and break them!

Your word on the current beauty trends.

The industry would like you to believe that trends rule the roost. However, trends are something I pay very little attention to. Paris Fashion Week, for instance, is shouting about graphic eyeliner,
NY Fashion announces this season is all about natural skin, and then London Fashion Week reveals that the red lipstick is back in town this season. If I were to follow all these trends advises, I would have a car crash makeup on my hands. At the moment, I personally love exploring no-makeup- looks. Across a lot of my clients, I use makeup to help achieve that perfect fresh dewy skin. It is about making people look like they have flawless perfect skin and not flawless makeup. Less is more and using even less will give you even better results!

According to you, what makeup trends should not exist at all?

Ban nothing, try everything. The makeup rule book has never existed…let Iris Apfel be you, guru, breaking every makeup rule at 90 years of age and looking more phenomenal with every
“faux-pas” and “mistake” she makes.

Do you have an incredible career- What have been the highlights?

My highlights are my three former assistants. Gen was my first assistant back in 2010 (now expecting her first child) she is an exceptionally skilled artist, who listened and watched everything I did. She is an incredible talent and also works with me at my training academy.Vishal, my next assistant, was working at a makeup counter back in the days. He has traveled the whole world and his drive to be the best artist changed his life and that of his family.

He works as KajalAggarwal’s (a popular actress) makeup artist for her movies, covers shoots and campaigns. Simone is one of my younger assistants and is making waves in  Bollywood for her work; she regularly works with Ananya Birla (noted singer and songwriter). My assistants have been my biggest support in my journey and they are, without a doubt, my proud achievements.My next story will be for Riya, my current assistant.

Your favorite quote.

And tomorrow, more.


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