All the Secrets Behind Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Stage Makeup
The singer's makeup was the real winner of the Super Bowl -- and we've got exclusive story behind the look
If you were one of the more than 50 million viewers who tuned into Lady Gaga’s jaw-dropping halftime show, there’s no way you could keep a “Poker Face” by culmination of her 13-minute serenade — which appropriately ended with the songstress showing off her athletic chops and catching a football pass. And in true Gaga fashion, not only were there split-second fashion switch-ups in the midst of her medley, but a mid-performance makeup change, too. To pull off the first of two near impossibilities of the night (the second being Tom Brady’s come-from-behind win) Gaga relied on her makeup artist since 2009, Sarah Tanno. And now the pro is sharing the secrets behind the epic event with PeopleStyle.
Tanno “broke into tears” the moment she learned she’d be tasked with the creating Gaga’s makeup. “I was really honored, but I was especially happy and proud for her since she has worked so hard and deserves this moment.”
For inspiration, the pro didn’t have to look any further than her iconic client. And after seeing her custom, Swarovski crystal embellished Atelier Versace looks, she focused on a color palette that would complement the “iridescent and pearly” pieces.
It was during a rehearsal that Tanno first shared her vision with the Gaga. “I started doing her makeup as I usually do, and I wanted to do the Super Bowl look I had in my mind, but I didn’t tell her. But as soon as I started, she totally knew! [So] we discussed and tweaked the look [there],” Tanno explains.
“We wanted everything to feel of the moment yet timeless — we have been dreaming of this moment for years.”
The duo, who also collaborated on Gaga’s David Bowie performance makeup, are accustomed to pushing the envelope. So it should come as no surprise that the two also decided a mid-performance makeup transformation to shake things up.
“Gaga and I have figured out how to do quick change make-up a while ago,” says Tanno, adding that the two love a challenge. “There nothing like a quick [switch] in the middle of the world’s biggest stage!”
For the Swarovski crystal design adorning Gaga’s eyes, Tanno worked with friend at Face Lace in London. The pro says it was a “really wild process” so determine the shape, where to place it and most importantly what tape to adhere it with that wouldn’t ruin the integrity of the makeup underneath.
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Another hurdle: creating flawless stage makeup for her action-packed performance. “It’s a different process from red carpet and television,” says Tanno, explaining that it takes several calculated steps to create a look for stage that’s seamless and weightless — plus budge-and-sweat-proof. “Gaga and I joked as I was doing her make-up that it’s a “Million Layers!” (Yes, Tanno dropped a Joanne reference!)
Tanno started by prepping Gaga’s skin with a thin layer of Marc Jacobs Beauty Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer. Then she applied two concealer shades — one on the high points of of Gaga’s face and the other on the sculpting points — to create depth. To even her complexion, Tanno applied foundation, then highlighted under her eyes and the bridge of her nose with a brightening concealer pen. To set her base, Tanno swept on a powder foundation — and added a little more definition by applying a contour powder on her cheekbones and forehead.
Moving on to her mesmerizing eyes, the makeup artist applied a shimmery pewter cream shadow as a base, then she blended a vibrant lavender liner and a range of purple shades from this and this palette to make her lids “really stand out.” She also layered two black eyeliners (one gel and one liquid) to ensure the winged liner was “bold and budge-proof.” Tanno also used two mascaras (seen here and here) to “create insane amounts of volume and drama. And voila! The eyes aren’t going anywhere, even after ripping a rhinestone mask off mid-performance.”
“Gaga’s lips were the perfect candy apple red. I used Le Marc lip crème lipstick in Dashing, applying and blotting it several times. Then I added just a small touch of Enamored hi-shine gloss in Hot Hot Hot to add a bit of shine for the lights and cameras.”
To tie the entire look together, Tanno applied a “feminine, natural” soft rose blush on the apples of her cheeks.
All in all, Tanno (above) applied 23 Marc Jacobs Beauty products to create Gaga’s look. (They’re so high-performance, I knew they’d be prefect for a stunt like this,” she gushes.) But the marathon makeup session didn’t stop Gaga from busting a pre-performance move or two. Says Tanno, “She usually likes to listen to music which makes her dance. It can make it a challenge to do the makeup!”
So how did Gaga react to the show-stopping look? According to her pro, “She said that it was everything she loved about makeup: beautiful eyeshadow, great winged liner, and an iconic red lip.”
Do you agreed? Sound off on Gaga’s makeup moment below.