It is fair to say that make up artist Francesca Tolot is a legend behind the scenes, having worked in the industry since the early 80’s. Her work has been featured on the cover of renowned publications and on many a star. Looking through Tolot’s impressive body of work, it is obvious that this is a woman who is a true artist from the soul, she was most definitely put on this earth to be an artist and to inspire others with her creativity. Where you sometimes find that in the new generation of make up artists the true authenticity and heritage of make up artistry can sometimes be lost, Tolot’s work always leads by example of how creativity, modern beauty and heritage should meet.
Francesca Tolot is a true Icon, an inspiration to many, and although there are countless talented artists out there, for me Tolot is the best of the best. Her work, her integrity, her creativity, her journey in the industry and her passion sets a true example and reminds us that dreams can come true and goals can be accomplished. I’m sure her diary probably doesn’t give her a second to breathe, but nonetheless she very kindly gave me her time to answer some questions.
Francesca Tolot, we salute you!

Maria Asadi: Francesca, tell me when you first came over to the US?
Francesca Tolot: My first time in the US was in 1981 on vacation, I fell in love with LA. The next year I decided to experience it for 3 months. I moved here permanently in 1983.

MA: Talk to me through your journey as a makeup artist from the very beginning, how and where did this all start for you?
FT: The beginning of my career was in Milan, I met a makeup artist who was opening a school and I started taking classes, he liked my work and asked me to take over jobs he couldn’t do. One of my first opportunities was Italian Vogue and that’s when I decided this would be by profession. I loved the creativity behind editorials.

MA: What is the one thing you really like and dislike about your job and industry? Say you could change one thing about the industry you work in, what would that be?
FT: I like everything about my job; I dislike it when there is diva attitude around me.

MA: Which other makeup artists both international and American inspire you and your work?
FT: Since the beginning of my career I have been inspired by Serge Lutens.

MA: Define your style of work and make up identity in 3 words?
FT: Versatile, clean, feminine.

MA: What has been the highlight of your career so far? And what or who has been your big breakthrough? By this I mean after what stage or which client did everyone know who Francesca Tolot is.
FT: As soon as I moved here, my collaborations with Herb Ritts was my breakthrough. A few of the highlights of my career have been working with Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor and Beyoncé, including Dreamgirls.

MA: What attributes or personality traits do you really need to be successful in your field?
FT: Be professional, on time and don’t gossip.

MA: What are your 5 favorite products at the moment that you can’t work without?
FT: Nars Laguna and Orgasm, Armani foundations, La Mer moisturizers.

MA: What would you say you are really known for, what is your signature style?
FT: I’m known for bringing out natural beauty, whether it’s a glamorous or a soft look.

MA: How has the makeup industry changed for you? You’ve been working since the 80’s, and I’m sure you have seen a lot of changes both in the business and in makeup.
FT: One of the biggest changes I’ve witnessed throughout my career is the way makeup products became more accessible and the quality has increased dramatically. Business-wise the industry has become more competitive.

MA: How did your first get your job with music artist Beyoncé? Describe your first day at work!
FT: My initial day at work with Beyoncé was for her first solo video, Crazy In Love, it was a great experience, we had an instant connection that’s grown and continued to this day.

MA: A lot of people refer to success in the industry as a who you know business. What are your thoughts on this?
FT: If you are without talent, I agree with this theory. My thought is, if you have talent and are professional, your work will speak for itself.

MA: Apart from Beyoncé, who else were or are your clients?
FT: I work with many celebrities, music artists and entertainers, you can check on my website and find the complete list.

MA: The work you are most proud of is…?
FT: I cannot pick just one, but all the work on my website I’m proud of.

MA: Your key to your success has been?
FT: Creativity and professionalism.

MA: You have reached the ultimate success in what you do, from an outsiders eye you have reached the top. Where else do you go now from the top? What else do you want to accomplish, or what else is left to accomplish?
FT: You should never feel that you’ve reached the top, there is always space for growth and new things to happen. Every time that I learn something new, that’s an accomplishment.

MA: What is your next career steps and move, will we be seeing a cosmetics line out soon?
FT: No makeup lines for me in the immediate future. I don’t know what the future has in store, but my dream is to come out with a book of my work.

To see more of Francesca Tolot’s work please go to

Words by Maria Asadi


Armani, Francesca Tolot, La Mer, Maria Asadi, NARS, Serge Lutens,