Without knowing too much about the Gossip Girl reboot — which airs tomorrow, July 8th on HBO Max — it's clear that fans of the original will find the series aggressively binge-able. It's the same premise: a voyeuristic peek into the lives of the wealthy New York City prep-school "elite." But now, it's present day — the post-pandemic year 2021 — and the kids have Instagram.
According to the show's lead makeup artist Amy Tagliamonti, who also worked on the set of the original GG, the biggest difference between the Blair-and-Serena era and this reboot is the presence of social media. "Now, social media is a huge part of the show," Tagliamonti explains. "With Julien — the lead cool girl who has a shaved head played by Jordan Alexander — she's a high-school student, but also an influencer. Monet and Luna are her best friends, but also her production team. Serena and Blair never had that element, because it just wasn't around yet."
On and off-grid, each characters' status and perspective informs their fashion — as well as their glam."This cast is large, but everyone has their own unique storyline," Tagliamonti explains. "For example, Zoya, played by Whitney Peak, she's the new freshman at Constance, so for her look, we had to reflect on what a 14-year-old coming to New York City might look like. Then, on the flip side, Julian, she's an influencer, so her makeup is definitely more experimental."
So, what's in the rich teen's makeup bag? Tagliamonti tells us it's as eclectic as the wardrobe. "Each character has their own big makeup bag with a mix of tried and true products and what's new and looks cool," she explains. "For me, MAC is always tried and true, I never have to worry about how that eyeshadow will sit. I also love Pat McGrath products; I use Maybelline, too. Actually, Zion, who plays Luna, she's really into makeup and introduced me to a setting powder that she liked for baking under her eyes by this brand called Dragun Beauty, and so we started using that."
As another sign of the times, Tagliamonti wanted filled-in eyebrows. "Our approach to eyebrows was really different this time around; we didn't want to tweeze the heck out them," she laughs, referencing Leighton Meester's razor-thin arches. "Instead of focusing on perfection, we used a lot of brow gels and waxes. Emily Lind who plays Audrey really loved the soap-brow look, so we did that. Of course, Glossier Boy Brow and Brow Flick were staples for everyone."
While the Gen-Z perspective is trendy and experimental, Tagliamonti adds the caveat that the makeup is not overdone. "I really kept natural beauty in mind," she explains. "We used influences from the outside world, but I always remind myself that these are high-school students who go to a prep school. Yes, they are chic, there's a glossiness to them, but I still want them to seem approachable. There are times where the character is just rolling out of bed, and in those instances, I don't want to give them a full-face of makeup because that's not real."
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