Alexis Vogel, a makeup artist to the stars, has worked with a number of celebrities including Sharon Stone, Lisa Marie Presley, Carmen Electra, Kelly Clarkson, Paula Abdul, Gwen Stefani, Anna Nicole Smith and our very own Baywatch stunner – Pamela Anderson.
From Playboy to Baywatch, Barb Wire to Dancing with the Stars, Alexis has remained firmly by Pamela’s side since the very beginning of her career.
Pambition.com had the privilege of interviewing this multi-talented and stunning woman known as Alexis Vogel – the very makeup artist responsible for creating Pamela Anderson’s signature “cat eye” look.
Pambition (P): So Alexis, how long have you known Pamela and where did you two first meet?
Alexis Vogel (AV): I started working with Pamela from the beginning when she was still on Tool Time, the girl next door. My first job with her was a Playboy cover with Dan Aykroyd – it was the 1993 Cone head Cover. Then I went on to working with her on Baywatch and many Playboy covers and editorials for many magazines, TV shows, commercials, films, and videos.
P: You’ve been credited for creating Pamela Anderson’s signature look – What was your inspiration for this and how did you come up with her look?
AV: She came into the studio for the Playboy cover with Dan Aykroyd, we met and I just immediately in my minds eye, saw the image I wanted to create right away. She was quiet and sweet. A natural beauty of course! I knew where I was going to take her but I did a subtle version, keeping her still fresh but with some retro Bardot style. I always like to enhance but never change people. I saw in her, all the elements of a young starlet and a bombshell. She had the bone structure of a Hollywood star, a classic & timeless beauty in her facial features. I wanted to step her up to a new higher level and we did! She was so excited when she saw the Polaroid with her new look – She ran over to me and got my business card. That very night I got a voice mail from her saying “Alexis, I love you and I want you everyday for the rest of my life”.
P: And Pam obviously kept her word because you two are still a force to be reckoned with?
AV: Well she is loyal and true blue because approximately 18 years later we’re still a serious team and dear friends – more like sisters or family. I always laugh because even though she is about ten years younger than me, she’s very nurturing and mature. She is super bright and is more like my older sister and even mothers me sometimes, but I do that for her too.
P: So you and Pam travel the world on a regular basis – what do you get up to during the down time on your trips?
AV: Its hard work and long hours but we make it fun. We write poems, she loves to write and is so very talented at writing. We read books and spa out if or when we have a second. When we’re not on set they come to the hotel room, where we hide out most of the time, and get manicures and pedicures – while sipping Champagne. We do enjoy a glass or two or three. Haha!
P: You’ve done make-up for Pamela on numerous television shows, adverts, photo shoots and movies. Has there been any particular favorite shoot or memorable experience that has stood out for you over the years?
AV: Hmm? I will just pick one of out of hundreds. I’ll tell you a funny story when we were in the Bahamas with famous photographer Steven Wayda. He was shooting Pamela for a Playboy layout. We took a small boat ride out to a little island in the middle of nowhere. It was just a small, all sand only, island for a special shot he wanted to achieve. I had a very strange premonition as I am always prone to that 6th sense, so I chose not to set foot on that island. Steve was annoyed at me because I was not by his side helping with the art direction. Pamela was modelling along side the shore of this little Isle and I watched as if I were a Baywatch life guard for some reason. Steve was in the water and Pamela part way. They were concentrating on getting “The Money Shot” and all of a sudden I saw a shadow sliding streamlined toward them in the water. I tried to scream “shark” but I was almost speechless out of shock and fear – I stood up yelling at them to get out of the water. They took a second but caught on very quickly and made it out just in the nick of time. It was crazy. We were nowhere near civilization – The Ocean Wilderness, I called it. Everyone was safe but it was a close call and very scary. Pamela was shaken up of course. We tried laughing about it, and now we can, but not really then! People think we all live such a glamorous lifestyle and I guess in a way we do, but we also take risks that the average person wouldn’t, all for the “art” of our craft and industry. Pamela is a female gladiator. She is fierce yet feminine at the same time and very fearless. I sure wouldn’t get off that boat
P: Can you tell us what was one your most difficult shoots with Pamela and why?
AV: It was during a Vanity Fair shoot with iconic bombshell Mimi Van Doren. The concept was a knock off retro vibe of a famous image of Sophia Loren & Jane Mansfield. I can’t mention any names here but I was told a look that they wanted. A very retro Monroe look for Pamela, something I have always wanted to do on her face! Pamela was even ecstatic and thrilled that we had a chance to do something truly artistic, classic and retro. A timeless and old true Hollywood starlet look! All the way down to the red lips that we never have many chances to do on Pamela. So off we go to the races and 3 hours of my best work I have ever done on Pamela or anybody – she looked better than Jessica Rabbit because I drew her that way. She was so blown away and my assistant at the time almost had tears rolling down her face. To see such a look and beauty on Pamela was just insane. It was glam at its best. The big heads to be, that day after telling us what they wanted, walked in all stuffy and a bit snobby and looked at our flawless Pamela sitting there in al her glory, and said nope, change it! We want “Pamela Back”! I was so beyond in shock, hurt, upset, even furious and I had to hold it together. It was a mistake. I‘m sorry but she never looked so stunning in my humble opinion and for them not to have tried it first before demanding me to do what I usually do on Pamela was just devastating for me. I had to wipe off my art work – like telling Picasso to shred one of his paintings for no good reason. I did as I was asked and in no time Pamela was back! It turned out fab of course. Pamela is a top professional and I was the diva that day.
P: You’ve been in the industry for many years now and have worked with many celebrities – You must have seen some pretty crazy things from behind the scenes – Anything worth mentioning?
AV: I have been in the industry for many years now. 25 years to be exact – if not more. Shhh! A woman never tells her age. That’s AV rule number 1! Ha ha. I have seen so much I would have to write volumes of books. One is not even enough for Pamela – let alone my hundreds of celebrity clients with their own set of stories that I’ve lived through with them. I worked a lot with Anna Nicole Smith and she alone is a book itself. Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Sharon Stone, Shakira and the list goes on and on. You can visit my website (www.makeupbyalexis.com) to see the endless names and wonderful famous people I have had the honour and pleasure in working with. Where do I even begin to tell a story? It is all worth mentioning but much of it I have to keep very confidential of course – that is part of my job! To be trustworthy and worthy of trust I always say!
P: What about something a little more light-hearted from behind the scenes?
AV: Pamela threw an Evian water bottle at me on the set of Barb Wire this one time -Does that count? Tommy was driving her mad on set (and me too) because he kept kissing her lips off. They kept knocking on our makeup trailer door saying “Hurry, hurry – we need her on set”. I was getting a bit frustrated because they thought I was going slowly and I was getting into trouble. So I kind of took her face gently towards me with my hands – she was in the makeup chair ready for lip repair and Tommy had just left. Then I rolled my eyes and she just tossed it across the makeup table. Water went everywhere but it was pretty funny and we both cracked up. She did it for the both of us – We still giggle about it to this very day.
P: Without giving away too many of your secrets – do you have any tips for us on creating the perfect Pamela Anderson bombshell look?
AV: Of course! You always want to have a clean well kept skin routine. Exfoliating and moisturizing to keep you glowing – then you are prepped for a great makeup application with star quality. Always bring out your brows as it is so important to frame your face. Your lips should always be painted on as full as you can go – Never cheat your mouth. It is so sexy to have fun and make it pout so don’t be afraid. Eyes are always hot when you smoke them out because it adds such a dramatic style. It makes you feel flirty and hot and it brings out your eye color… And lots of Mascara or learn to apply lashes. We sometimes use 2 or even 3 pairs to bring out Pamela’s eyes – just to enhance the size. Dark smoking eyes with a lighter shade of a nude lips color is the way to go. Classic, sensual fun! And it always works with anything you wear, from red carpet to even a dressy Jean outfit!
P: What about Pamela’s signature blonde bombshell locks?
AV: Put in some hot rollers and twist each section. Do this before you apply the makeup so your hair will stay set for that much longer. (A nice Alexis Vogel tip here). Take them out, as I do with Pamela, turn your head upside down and shake out your hair. Tousle it with your fingers only – no brush. Then look in the mirror and using your fingers, put your style into place and mist it with a nice setting medium strength hair spray. Add some shine spray to top it off and you’re now ready to go out and meet the president or the press!
P: What other styles do you specialize in – and what is the average duration on creating a look?
AV: I teach many different styles of eyes and makeup looks – Like a natural look (but my version of that), a career look, my signature cat eye style (Pamela’s main image) and a smokin’ smokey eye that I do on Pamela a lot to change it up. It can take anywhere from about 20 minutes to an hour depending on what image you are creating for yourself with my techniques.
P: We hear you have a few projects in the works – What can we expect from Alexis Vogel in the near future?
AV: I have a fabulous kit launching with my new Alexis Makeup Line and a book I wrote called “Alexis – The Fable begins & never Ends”. It’s filled with my secrets, tips and tricks that I use on Pamela. The kit will have all the tools, colors and makeup’s that I use on Pamela. I have taken all the guess work out of the routine for whoever wants to indulge in the sexiest iconic style of all time. It will make it fun and easy to learn. It includes full color photos and Instructions every step of the way. Pouty lips, smokey/sultry eyes and lashes too! – Gorgeous brows and glowing bronze toned skin!
P: When can we expect these fabulous projects to launch and what was your inspiration behind it all?
AV: I have created this make-up line from my heart and it’s expected to launch in January 2012. I want to empower women to have a signature image for themselves. There is no reason why an average woman cannot look like a celebrity at a quarter of the cost. I’ve created make-up that is of the same quality that I use – only it’s a little more user friendly so they can work with it. It’s so encouraging for me to be able to help women be all that they can be without having to spend so much money. I’ve designed all kinds of tools and techniques that have never been exposed to the public. I’m coming up with more universal colors and kits that are designed to help the public look better. They can get better results from the first time they try it. They won’t need anything else that isn’t in the kit. There is an instructional book full of color photos – A step by step manual that they can follow and in within an hour they can look fabulous. Do you know how good that makes them feel? It almost blows me away. I really care about people. I don’t have any children so I feel that everyone is my child. I raised Pamela!
P: Apart from make-up, do you have any other interests/ talents?
AV: I art direct many photo shoots of my own and have a photo business with top photographers and retouches. I have done this for Playboy for over a decade, Guess with Paul Marciano and even for Vogue as well as other magazines. I do the campaigns and editorials all out of my head. It’s second nature to me. I love doing hair, wardrobe styling and set designs too. I love to paint and professionally ride horses. I was a very famous horse rider during the first few chapters of my life and won over 500 1st place awards and trophies. I also trained and made the USA Olympic Team for Jumpers. I play the guitar and sing like crazy. I was in the high school choir and had a band – I still sing! I enjoy cooking and working out. I play tennis and love The Ballet. I love so many things and can do just about anything I put my mind too, and do it well. I have always been an over achiever and very athletic.
P: Any last minute words of wisdom or advice from Alexis Vogel?
AV: My favorite saying that I made up is: Always try to be the other woman, or man, in your partner’s life. This is something you should not only do for them but for yourself as well. Always keep yourself up. It helps feed esteem issues and it can be very exciting for your partner as well as for you. Nobody will ever have a wandering eye if you make sure of it. Be all you can be at all times – Be red carpet and camera ready every waking and sleeping moment. That in itself can be the fountain of youth. It sure is and has worked for our Pamela. Thanks and enjoy… Love Alexis
For more on Alexis Vogel visit her official websites: www.makeupbyalexis.com and www.alexisvogel.com as well as Alexis’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/officialalexisvogelmakeup.