Angela Bassett’s NAACP Awards Makeup Look Was Inspired By The ’70s
D’Andre Michael

Angela Bassett — that’s the tweet. Anytime the award-winning actress crosses our feeds it’s either for a stellar performance, those ever-aspirational arms or because the face card continues to be top tier. On Saturday, as the star accepted her award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards — for her role in 9-1-1 — it was all three. For more details on the face, ESSENCE caught up with makeup artist D’Andre Michael, who explained how he mastered that effortless glow and that sultry lid, as well as the disco diva era that inspired it all.

“She wore vintage Halston so I wanted to do something chic and sexy,” he says. “Something very ’70s with a pop of color but not too wild since that was a disco-tech era.” To do that, Michael played up Bassett’s striking eyes. “I know a lot of women who like smokey eyes, but they are afraid to try it — because everyone assumes a smokey eye means black eyeshadow and a lot of women are afraid they will look like a raccoon,” he says. “But I believe every woman can do a smokey eye and you can use many colors to do so not just black.” 

To make it all happen, Michael relied on CHANEL Beauty — known for products that dish out the expert amount of color payoff. “I used three different CHANEL Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow Palettes because all of the colors I wanted to use for the look I found in the separate palettes,” he says. “The CHANEL eyeshadows are some of the best. They blend very nicely, they are velvety and have great buildable coverage. “

And while the eyes may have been the focal point, the skin got just as much love. “You always want to make sure whatever complexion you’re working on, that you warm it up a tad, because with all of the lights the complexion can be blown out,” he says.

Michael’s extensive knowledge of mastering Black skin for the camera is years and years in the making. “I’ve been doing it for so long and having started at CNN, I would always talk to the lighting grips trying to get an understanding as to why sometimes ones complexion can look green or gray or muddy,” he says. “So it’s all color theory.  That really helped me develop an understanding. For example, if you have a green-based light you have to make sure your client has some warmer tones to neutralize the green so she’s not green or gray.  And if your lighting is warmer you have to make sure your client has a cooler tone so she doesn’t end up too warm or yellow looking.” 

He relied on CHANEL Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Highlighting Fluid in Sunkissed to do just that. “I love that it gives you a highlight that is flesh-toned, which is more natural looking to me,” he shares.

To finish the look, Michael dusted Bassett’s pout with the CHANEL Rouge Allure L’Extrait Lipstick. “I love it because it provided me with a natural looking color and shine that didn’t look like lipstick,” he says. “After applying I got the natural pouty look I wanted.” Michael says that the trick to achieving a natural looking pout is to use a lip liner that’s a tad darker than your skin tone and line is slightly above your natural lip line, then fill in with the Rouge Allure L’Extrait.

According to Michael, “you’ll love it.” 

And yet again, Bassett’s longtime glam squad proved victorious. “The hairstylist, Randy Stodghil, and myself have been working together since 1996,” Michael reveals. “I’ve been with her [Bassett] since 1999 and he’s been with her since 2005. We always try to find out what she’s wearing first and build out but work together so there is no competing in the look as a whole. So we just get it — it’s a natural evolution.” 

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