They say behind every movie actor’s success is an entire team of professionals. From makeup artists, stylists, photographers to social media strategists, the list for #squadgoals keeps growing. Well, here’s a behind-the-scene access to Arti Nayar’s career and how she became a makeup artist in Bollywood.
We caught up with Arti Nayar in Paris during her European travels and were smitten by her passion for the film industry. As a celebrated makeup artist behind Bollywood’s biggest names (think Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Vidya Balan), she went from simply watching on-screen action in her living room to getting stars ready for some of their most important life moments.
Growing up in Mumbai, India, Arti graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2008 and is your typical Mumbaiite—embodying the casual feel of the city with a sky is no limit attitude. Dubbed as the city of dreams, Mumbai was Arti’s playing ground since childhood and is where she learned to be fearless and dream big. “I watched a lot of movies because of my father who was obsessed. Before my exams, I would watch award shows with him. We were both fascinated by the world of cinema.”
“I realized that although I always spoke about Bollywood, I secretly loved the glamour, fashion and beauty aspect of it.”
Arti’s journey began with a simple conversation with her mother, who is a bad-ass advertising executive and has directed Ad films throughout her career (she knows what’s up!). And just like all of us have been asked once upon a time: ‘what do you want to do in life,’ Arti’s aspirations to enter the industry led her to a meeting with India’s top producer and choreographer, Farah Khan.
Following Farah Khan’s advice, Arti’s interest slowly shifted towards fashion styling. In fact, she made it her life’s mission to tell everyone about her newfound dream including her cousin, a costume stylist. Through serendipity, they ended up working together. Although she worked as an assistant costume stylist on movie sets of Dostana and Wake Up Sid, Arti never forgot about makeup and enrolled in a three-month makeup course at Bharat & Dorris. How do you forget your first love, after all?
“More than just learning the profession, I’ve learned work ethic, how to respect people and when to stand up for myself.”
By chance, she met Rhea Kapoor on the set of movie, Wake Up Sid. As the daughter of award-winning Bollywood actor, Anil Kapoor (you may recognize him from his cameo in Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Rhea at the time was also working as an assistant director. They became good friends and shortly after, Arti’s career path would lead her to working with Rhea on her first film production, Aisha, starring her sister and the fashionable actress behind several hit Bollywood films, Sonam Kapoor.
It was at this time when Arti was introduced to Namrata Soni, a 22-year old makeup artist and hair stylist. There was no one better than Namrata to mentor and teach Arti the tricks of the trade. Overcoming her shyness to ask Namrata for an assistant position and with a little encouragement from Sonam Kapoor, Arti finally ended up working alongside Namrata for two years.
Living the Dream
Per Namrata’s suggestion, Arti worked as an artist at MAC for over a year and she recalls the best part being, “I didn’t choose my clients. Any customer from any background or skin type would come up to me and I would have to help them out.” Taking what she learned at MAC and from her time with Namrata, Arti today has become a household artist name for many celebrities.
While learning from the best and making a name for herself wasn’t enough, her daydreams of traveling outside India were also fulfilled by entering Bollywood. “I remember looking at my passport with my mother and telling her how I had no travel stamps. The first place I wanted to visit when I grew up was New York.” And as luck was her best friend, her first gig as a costume stylist indeed took her to New York. Since then, her passport has been getting some sweet lovin’ and has experienced New Zealand, Canada, Europe and Australia. Side note: you can do anything you put your mind to!
So, if you’re thinking of becoming a makeup artist, Arti advises, “No matter where you are in the world, the first thing you need is to be passionate about makeup and understand that it’s not always easy and fun.” In an era of instant gratification, Arti adds, “the second thing is to have patience. You don’t learn tricks overnight or over a few months. It takes time and you have to be willing to invest in it and learn the ropes.”
For Arti, this meant 17-hour work days on set and constantly being on her toes while working with high profile celebrities (No, we couldn’t get any insider gossip unfortunately – Arti is a loyal one!). The most important thing, as Namrata Soni once told her, “work hard, do good work, be honest and people will call you back.”
As for makeup lovers, Arti’s go-to products include the Tom Ford primer and Nars highlighter. But her all time favorite look is healthy, glowing and dewy skin. Basically, foundation is everything!
So, what does one do when they’ve hung out with celebrities, collaborated with successful professionals, passed on the wisdom through teaching and traveled the world? Arti says, “I still have a long way to go in the industry. I want people to know my story and I want to continue to work in fashion and films.” This may sound humble and it is true that chance had a lot to do with Arti’s success but her determination and curiousity to always be learning and growing surpasses those unexpected moments of ‘being in the right place at the right time.’
To return the support she was given by her friends and family, she is eager to pass on her knowledge through mentorship. If interested, email us or follow her journey through Bollywood and beyond here.
Photo courtesy of Arti Nayar.