The Iconic Inspiration Behind Tina Fey's Oscars Makeup

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Two words: violet eyes.

Tina Fey’s makeup artist looked to one of Hollywood’s most iconic women to get inspired for her Oscars look. The legendary lady in question? “A young Elizabeth Taylor,” says beauty guru Gita Bass. “We wanted to do a cool, sexy, modern Elizabeth Taylor.” Bass’ secondary influence was the bold purple of Fey’s custom Versace gown.

“I love purple, it’s my favorite color. I loved it so much I really wanted to include it in her eye makeup. Purple really brings out the warmth of brown eyes, so I made her eyes the focal part of the look,” says Bass. Combining those two influences, the makeup artist put a spin on the violet-eyed muse’s classic cat eye by coating it in a bright violet hue.


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To begin, Bass drew Fey’s sharp cat eye wings with NARS Larger Than Life Longwear Eyeliner in Bourbon Street ($25), which she says is easily manipulated with a brush or Q-tip. “You have some time to play to get it perfect, and then it stays put.” (She also lined her lower waterline with the same pencil to make them smolder.) For added emphasis, she then went over it with NARS Eyepaint in Tatar ($25). “It’s like a deep, intense purple cat eye, and with the hair pulled back it made her eyes slant upward in a really sexy way.”

In keeping with the Taylor reference, the makeup artist also made sure her client had great lashes, especially in the outer corners. She used NARS Audacious Mascara ($26), which “really separates and coats the lashes for that flirty look. Very Elizabeth Taylor.” Bass says Fey is very versatile and open to makeup looks, but this vivid purple was a “new thing for us.” Clearly it worked.