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gina ribisi

Gina Ribisi Interview

Gina Ribisi Interview

Gina Ribisi is a makeup artist and groomer with impeccable taste. She brings such a beautifully-balanced approach to her work, it’s nearly indescribable. It’s clean, classic, textured, abstract and original all at the same time. How is that even possible? Because it’s Gina Ribisi.

Aside from being a talented artist, she’s a spectacularly kind human being.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a dancer. I was a dancer — mostly jazz, tap and hip hop. Not ballet, really.

What do you love?
I LOVE, visual imagery — still and motion. I am a gluten for insanely powerful, poignant and aesthetic imagery. I am a photographer myself and that is honestly how I got into makeup. In photography I do mostly tableau as a fine art. I set up scenes and imagery that tells a story.

I also LOVE music. There is a DJ inside me somewhere. Maybe one day I’ll forge ahead in that field, but until then I will just derive pure aesthetic pleasure by listening to music – spanning ALL styles. Hip-Hop to obscure indie.

Tell me about what you do.
I do makeup as my main job.

What’s an average work week like for you?
The average work week would be about 3-5 days of work, getting up at 4:30 or 5:30 am, working about 12 or more hours and hitting the pillow. Haha. Some weeks are lighter and I have 2 days straight of  4-hour days or something like this. But somehow the busier and longer days keep me happier.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be willing to experience anything.” In the end, nothing can hurt you if you truly embrace that idea.

3 of your favorite books:
Franny and Zooey
Candide
Ramona Quimbey Age 8

What’s something you had to learn the hard way?
To treat others as you would want to be treated.

It all comes back to you! Learned that the hard way. I’m a much better person these days. I’ve got your back and because I stress being good to people, they have my back. I’ve got a lot of great friends in this world now and I always know I’ll be taken care of. It’s a nice way to live.

What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I tap danced in Buffalo ’66, the movie. The scene where Christina Ricci is tap dancing in the bowling alley, I actually made tap sounds. Vincent met me at a party and saw me dancing. He asked me if I tap dance and I told him yes, but not professionally. I shot him down when he asked me to tap dance in his movie because I didn’t feel confident enough. He convinced me that my rhythmic sensibility was what he wanted and that he didn’t want me to do anything intricate, just Awesome. I gave in, figured out the sounds I should make and did the tapping for him.

Who are some of your influences?
For makeup, Tim Burton movies, like Edward Scissorhands. I was blown away by the hair and makeup on the middle-aged neighbor woman.  

Steven Meisel and Pat McGrath as an editorial team of perfection. Steven as the photographer and Pat, the makeup artist. Others inspire me on hair and wardrobe, but Steven and Pat make MAGIC in their shoots. It’s more than editorial, it’s fine art. I aspire to it and one day, maybe, I could be that great.

I have other personal influences in terms of work ethic and inspiration. Close friends and family that out-work me or who are not afraid to PUSH to newer places with art and thresholds. One of them being my brother. I only know maybe 10 people who work as hard and are as creative. He influences me all the time with his personal motivation. It reminds me to supply my own personal motivation always and don’t get lazy.

Artistically I am a fan or Guy Bourdin, David Hockney, Cindy Sherman and several more.

How do you define success?
Success is the ability to persist and the ability to solve problems. Success is being solvent financially, more than 60% happy with what you do, and 100% excited about where you’re going.

How do you prepare for a new project?
I always make sure that I have decided for myself what I would want to do on the person or people that I am working on. I will look through my own inspiration collection, or Google image the basic idea I have and hone it in with more pictures and inspiration and such. Then when I have the subject in front of me I really ask them what they like. I may change direction entirely. Usually the director will have input and I will consult them as well.

Best advice you have for aspiring makeup artists?
The best advice I could give would be to find someone to assist and work really really hard and never bail on them so they know you are reliable. Also, don’t stand around and chat on set. It looks bad. Haha! That is a common mistake with new makeup artists.

How do you think we can make the world a better place?
Hard one to answer! I try to work really hard and lead by example. If people could care about one another just as equally as they cared about themselves, or even a little more than themselves, this place would be a lot happier. Consideration for others.

Gina Ribisi

website: ginaribisimakeup.com
twitter: @ginaribisi
instagram: @ginaribisi

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