Meet Michael Anthony, The Makeup Maestro behind Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and more

On set with Michael

“When do you feel your most powerful, authentic self? For me it’s when I’m painting” – Michael Anthony with Akita photographed by Kenny Burrell

Michael Anthony is the celebrity makeup artist behind some of your favorite beauty looks. Ariana Grande’s rendition of 60’s mod for her Positions album? he did that. Katy Perry’s Hollywood Glam at last year’s Met gala? he did that! In our exclusive interview, we talk with Michael about everything from his favorite beauty products to working with some of the world’s biggest acts.


Hey Michael! so glad we could connect! You have been so busy creating gorgeous red carpet and tv looks this year (I loved your Harpers Bazaar cover with Daphne). How are you?

Thank you! It’s a pleasure to connect with you all at Galore, I’ve been a fan since the beginning when I would run around NYC doing looks for the first iteration of the magazine! I’m still out here turning out covers with the dolls!! 

In your early career, you assisted industry expert Pat McGrath – an artist I am so fond of – How was working with her? I can only imagine the skills you learned being on set with her.

Well, I have to say the few times I worked with her remain highlights in my career – when Givenchy showed in Manhattan for the first time I got to walk the runway during a run-through because they were missing a few male models lol… she is Mother – she is THEE one we all look to for inspiration from those iconic couture collections at Dior and Galliano etc. You know something I learned from her is to give people the opportunity to do what they do best – and for some that may be blocking out eyebrows and for someone else it may be applying crystals.

Ariana Grande for R.E.M fragrance at Ulta. Glam by Michael Anthony, Photographed by Stefan Kohli

We love the look you created for Ariana Grande for the Positions album in 2020. When approaching a project like this, do you discuss what she wants? Do you freestyle at all?

You know, It’s a little bit of both – all the wonderful talented girls I work with have a strong sense of self – I’m there to bring their visions to life and to add my own personal magic !! 

It was very exciting to see so many people recreate that vibe and it really continued on and sort of made this huge impact in the beauty world – so that was very exciting for me to be a part of!

Gwen Stefani for Paper Magazine. Glam by Michael Anthony

Do you have a few favorite looks you have created in your career? Any moments that stand out?

I adore this heart sequin lip I made years ago in Brooklyn, really before people were doing lip art stuff like this 

Viva la glam! Heart-inspired lips done right. Image shot by Jamie Nelson

I also love the white floating cat eye from Rain on me – and I love the L.E.D. Lights I glued to Katy Perry’s eyes for her song with Alesso “ When I’m gone “ it was a very raver girl. Working on a paper magazine cover with Gwen Stefani was surreal – and Doja cat for the VMAS when she won best new Artist was also very slay for me lol.

You have been fortunate to see Ariana Grande launch R.E.M beauty from scratch. How was that process of seeing the product before its launch and being able to test it on her?

That’s completely her – all her – I’m in awe of everything she does – I cannot wait to see wicked and I really love the R.E.M. brand she’s created. My favorites are the lipsticks and the lip oils !! 

Model Daphne for Harpers Bazaar photographed by Greg Swales, Glam by Michael Anthony

Beauty is so influencer driven in 2023 with the help of Tiktok and Instagram – As a makeup veteran, how do you find inspiration? Do you find yourself still working the same way you did – let us say ten years ago? Has your inspiration process evolved through the years?

I used to go to Barnes and Noble and look at fashion magazines for inspiration and of course music videos and fashion shows – now I look to my peers and beauty gurus online – they’re so creative and inspire me to level up and try new stuff.

You were born in Germany and moved across the U.S. as a child of army officers, growing up, do you have any memories that made you realize this is what you want to do when you grow up?

Well, my mom had all kinds of perfume and makeup and I would play with her color corrector and clay masks in the bathroom for hours…I don’t know…I was always artistic and loves beautiful things. It just naturally happened. 

A week of Glam for Katy Perry

Katy Perry during a week of Press in NYC. Glam by Michael Anthony.
Image source: Getty Images

How do you prep skin before applying makeup? Was there a moment in your career when you learned what techniques best work for you before applying makeup? 

Oh, that is one of my favorite parts tbh – I spend time making sure the skin is hydrated all over and then removing excess moisture so that foundations will stay in place. It’s different for everyone though because everyone’s skin is slightly different…I have been loving my “face gym” wand which is like a tens device… it gives your facial muscles a little workout and lifts you up! 

When building full coverage, what tools are key? Any tips for a long-lasting face?

Sponges / synthetic brushes/packing product on with stamping motions instead of sweeping … cannot live without the Kevyn Aucoin skin enhancer… and good plz’ studio fix lol .. or baking with loose powder and re-setting with powder foundation like Fenty beauty.

We loved the glam you created for Karol G in her new music video with Shakira for their song TQG – what are some products that are your go-to when working with artists that dance for hours on set?

Well, thank you! That was so exciting to work with her in Barcelona and to watch her and Shakira represent Columbia as the baddies they are !! Karol’s team was so incredible and had excellent references for the looks we created  … fake piercings and glossy lids – it was very I-D magazine just so fresh and cool ya know ?!  I love setting sprays and blot sheets for those long dance days .. and body oil for that glow on the legs and arms and all over !!

Karol G and Shakira on set of TGQ Video. Karol’s glam by Michael Anthony

I love that you support so many makeup artists. Who are some of your favorite creators right now? (makeup artist and or influencers)

I’m so inspired by my friend Yadim, I love Raul’s stuff with Valentino and I love Keita Moore .. the way he does complexion is unparalleled in this industry. Also, my friend Wendy Miyake is slaying the girls in LA .. and always Etienne cuz he’s just so passionate and really humble for someone so accomplished … Alexandra French is one of the most creative artists I’ve seen in a  while … I’m so proud of everyone hustling out there. 

You have worked on many sets for Music Videos and Editorial – what advice would you give to the new generation of makeup artists looking to do what you do?

I would say test shoot as much as possible and build relationships with your peers- work without expectations, take feedback and keep pushing … and look at your work objectively and try to improve every single time you pick a brush!

Paris Jackson for VOGUE Hong Kong, photo by Greg Swales, Glam by Michael Anthony

How has traveling with all your products and tools been for you? What were some mistakes you have maybe made that you have since learned from?

Oh, I used to come home with broken shadows and leaked foundations REGULARLY!! Grishan has helped me and many other repack our products so they travel lighter and tighter / I also try to condense what I carry in small ways like mini pallets. 

What are some of your favorite products right now?

Right now I am loving too faced liquid line, makeup by Mario surreal skin foundation, and NARS has these iconic shades of cream contour like laguna … it’s my new go-to for carving out a face without it looking so obvious. 

What are some of your favorite Brushes right now?

I will always be a Hakuhodo fan – but MYKITco has some really interesting shapes and I have to say I have incorporated some of them into my kits for different clients and they have quickly become some of my faves. 

Lastly, 2023 will…..?

A year of expansion and growth! A lot of travel – balance – getting to the bag and teaching!!

To see more of Michael’s work follow him on Instagram here

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