How to look good on video calls, according to celebrity stylists and make-up artistes
There’s more to looking good on-screen than just perfect lighting and the right angles. Prakriti Ananth, Samantha Jagan, Chaitanya Rao and Amrita Ram tell you how!
As days of social distancing and self-isolation turn into weeks and even a month, it may seem like more and more of our professional and social lives are unfolding over video chat. Whether it is FaceTiming with friends or Zooming with colleagues, we’re all seeing a lot more of our faces than we are used to. Now, if you are feeling like your phone camera isn’t doing you any favours, we say fret not: you’re not the only one. Attempting to keep sartorial standards high, we’ve enlisted the help of experts who know a thing or two about looking good on camera. Between two of Tollywood’s go-to make-up artists and two of the cine industry's styling whizzes, we bring you a step-by-step guide on how to get that celebrity-approved glow on, even while lounging in your sweats.
The eyes have it
“Bright eyes are the easiest way to create the illusion of looking well-rested and ready to start the day,” says make-up artiste Prakriti Ananth. “In real life or even the virtual world, one is drawn to people with expressive looking eyes and that’s exactly what you need, especially when you are confined to a small box on someone’s screen — and attentions are easily diverted. With a clean, bare face, made-up eyes are not too over the top... it is easy going, looks natural — it even works for a casual day out (whenever the day finally arrives).” To enhance the effect, the artiste, who is one of Shruti Haasan’s favourites, suggests starting the routine with a smidge of concealer and a dab of powder to cover up those dark circles after a late-night of binging on Netflix. “You can choose between the eyeliner or kohl, but mascara is non-negotiable. Curling those lashes is the first step to really opening up and widening the eye.” Complete the look with a tinted lip balm or a light lipstick — preferably a shade of nude or pink to enhance the look.
Sure you might have to discard those ‘day pyjamas’, but working from home does not mean that you need to forego comfort for style. Taking a cue from the S/S ’20 catwalks, celebrity designer and stylist Chaitanya Rao’s top pick is spring knitwear. “Keep things minimal and chic. You don’t want to look boxed in or constricted. A classic long-sleeve, round neck, knitted tee works well as a stand-in for a formal shirt.” To achieve a balance between the slouchy easy-to-wear style and a work-appropriate look, Chaitanya’s bet is an unlined jacket. “A wardrobe can be pulled together using a jacket. Adding in one piece that is fitted not only smartens things up, it gives your look a sense of refinement,” says the designer, who has worked extensively with Jayam Ravi, Taapsee Pannu, Nayanthara and Andrea Jeremiah. Advocating the use of a basic colour palette, the one OTT element that gets a free pass from the designer is a statement timepiece.
One and done
Celebrity stylist Amrita Ram prescribes to a similar school of thought like that of Karl Lagerfeld — ‘Sweatpants are a sign of defeat’. While her remarks may not be as stark, the woman who has dressed the who’s who of Tollywood from Kamal Haasan and Siddharth to Radhika Sharathkumar and Nithya Menen says that there is a connection between getting dressed for the day and your general mental state. “If you constantly live in your sweat clothes, you’re either prepared to work out at the gym or clean out the house. You’re not doing anything professional or mentally challenging, and that spills over into your motivation and confidence.” To elevate your work-from-home look, Amrita’s suggestion is simple: Nail your look with a single piece. “You could throw in a choker or a statement stud earring. If that’s a little too dramatic, accessorise your shirt with pearl embellishments or braid your hair with a multi-coloured scarf. For men, an ascot will do the trick.” Giving us an additional style tip, Amrita says, “Play with how you roll up your sleeves — it is the smartest way to transition between formal and casual look.”
The brow code
While you could embrace your coronabrow, and that pandemic ’stache, well-groomed brows can be uplifting (pun intended) during these extraordinary times. To look ‘convincing and confident during’ work meetings, Samantha Jagan suggests going for strong and full eyebrows. But if there is one grooming tip that takes precedence above all others, it is: Be conservative. “You could use a tweezer to remove extra hair, but now is not the best time to attempt a new brow shape,” points out the make-up artiste, whose clientele includes the likes of Andrea Jeremiah and Rakul Preet among others. Samantha recommends first brushing up the brows with a pomade and then using a coloured pencil to fill in the gaps. “Since there won’t be any high-definition photos, a light hand to apply just enough coverage to blur the skin imperfections should suffice. Placing primary emphasis on the brows, followed by cheekbones and lips say that it is business as usual.” For an easy two-in-one product, Samantha uses a coral or pink lip shade that works both as lip-and-cheek colour.