LIFESTYLE / Fashion

Secret special effects that make stars shine
(Independent)
Updated: 2006-03-22 13:57

The quaint notion that beauty comes from within has never troubled the image-obsessed world of movie stars.

So who better to lift the veneer of A-list starlets than the unsung heroes of Hollywood, charged with ensuring a flawless finish no matter how unpromising the client?

A survey conducted among leading make-up artists has revealed the reassuring news that not every actor is blessed with perfect skin, and a third lie about their age.

An increasing number of stars are reliant on the dark arts of the powder brush to maintain their unblemished image, it confirmed.

While the likes of Scarlett Johansson, voted the most naturally beautiful actor for her "flawless" skin, get by on a minimum of maintenance, three-quarters feared that their wrinkles, liver spots and crows feet threatened their careers.

Fifteen per cent of actors said spots, boils and blotches were as big a concern as learning their lines, the make-up artists said.

And with rapid advances in visual technology, a growing number of celebrities are worried their complexions are about to come under even closer scrutiny by audiences.

Sandra Exelby, chairman of the National Association of Screen Makeup Artists and Hairdressers (NASMAH), and a veteran with 30 years' experience in the industry, said that many stars already fought shy of getting too close to the camera.

"I have been told by production companies that some of the big actors coming to the UK from America have a 'no close-up' clause in their contracts, people who are maybe getting on a bit," she said.

It is not just the women who need touching up behind the scenes. Male stars are regulars in the make-up chair, as not all match up to the dermatological heights of Orlando Bloom, star of Pirates of the Caribbean, regarded in the industry as having the best male complexion. The survey, conducted by NASMAH on behalf of Telewest, rated Kate Winslet, who starred in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the second most natural beauty for her "classic English rose" looks. Third was Catherine Zeta Jones.

The spectre of high-definition television has sent anxiety levels soaring in the industry, it was claimed. The format, which increases lines on screen from 365 to between 750 and 1000, is currently used in the filming of nature programmes like The Blue Planet or major sporting events such as the football World Cup and the Olympics.

The result is a picture up to five times more detailed.
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