6 Style and Makeup Tips for Self-Tapes

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“When you have style, you have confidence. When you’ve got confidence, you’ve got style,” says LaurieBStyle owner Laurie Brucker, one of Los Angeles’ leading certified image consultants and personal stylists. “I believe that style can make or break an audition,” Brucker says. “Of the actors I work with, when they’re [auditioning], it’s really about nailing that look before they even open their mouths.” 

And don’t forget about makeup! “When an actor is auditioning for a specific role, having the right makeup design and great application technique can visually create the look,” says New York-based makeup stylist Jill Harth. “It will help an actor’s performance and help the director and casting people see the actor in the part.”

We asked Brucker and Harth to share their top styling tips for self-taped auditions. Wondering what to wear for a self-tape? Or how to do your hair? These 6 tips—covering everything from makeup to wardrobe—will help you nail a natural look for your next video audition.

1. Simple is best. Often, the most successful self-tape audition look boils down to chic simplicity. Your performance should be what sets you apart, rather than any loud fashion choices. That means wearing a fuss-free, comfortable outfit.

2. Consider the character. “Simple is always better, but it’s good to have a little bit of theme and messaging in what you’re doing,” Brucker says. Wearing your hair a certain way can also bring out a character’s personality. “If you want to be fun, bubbly, and approachable, you might wear your hair down with a little wave in it for a girl,” Brucker says. “If a guy is going for a bad-boy look, he might want to do just a classic T-shirt and jeans but do some type of slicked-back hairstyle. For girls, if they’re looking to do something a little bit more edgy or have a serious tone, straight hair would be great—or even a center part with it pulled back.”

3. Pick the right jewelry. Brucker warns against dangly bracelets and earrings: “It’s going to be distracting.” 

4. Avoid distracting patterns. It’s important to remember what looks good on camera when self-taping. “You definitely want to avoid very strong patterns and stripes,” Brucker advises. “Typically, jewel tones—teal, eggplant, turquoise—are a great color range to stay in, in terms of showing color. White never looks good on camera.” If you do wear white for a self-taped audition, throw in something like a lightly patterned scarf for a pop of color to frame the face. “The idea is that you want your face to glow, to shine.”

5. Go natural. When it comes to makeup, an actor’s safest bet is a fresh, natural look. Keeping it natural means using a conservative amount of product and “blending the makeup so it leaves no harsh lines,” notes Harth. Maintaining your skin’s overall health is also key. “Make sure you wash your face every night with a gentle but effective cleanser before you go to sleep,” she says.

6. Watch out for shine. “In a self-taped audition, the major concern for any actor is to look shine-free,” Harth continues. “Make sure a blotting powder is used to kill excess shine, which looks dirty and distracting on video. If using a powdered foundation, the biggest concern should be color-matching to the skin.”

To that end, the best bet for finding your perfect personalized foundation and concealer tone is speaking to a makeup professional. “The worst thing is to use a too-light or too-dark color on the skin,” Harth says. “You want to enhance, not detract from, your appearance.”

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Benjamin Lindsay
Benjamin Lindsay is managing editor at Backstage, where if you’re reading it in our magazine, he’s written or edited it first. He’s also producer and host of a number of our digital interview series, including our inaugural on-camera segment, Backstage Live.
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