With Two Gorgeous Beauty Books, an Exciting Fashion and Beauty- Related TV Show, and a New Movie in the Works, Red-Hot Actress and Beauty Expert CHARIS MICHELSEN Is Heating up.
How did Charis Michelsen, a girl from a small US town called Boring (in the state of Oregon) make it onto the cover of magazines? To the big screen (she’s acted in over twenty-five films — and more to come)? Become a beauty expert with two books, a TV show, and a feature film in the works? Gain roots in Hollywood royalty (she’s the former daughter-in-law of legendary producer and head of production at Paramount Pictures Robert Evans (The Godfather, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) and actress and fashion icon Ali MacGraw (Love Story, The Getaway)? And in rock and roll — with her former manager being renowned rock groupie Bebe Buell, whose daughter is none other than Liv Tyler? We asked her.
CM: Thinking my future was in fashion, I applied to only one college while in high school, the best in the world for fashion design — Parsons School of Design in New York City. Thank God I got in because I didn’t have a backup plan.
TCMC: Parsons/The New School named you a “notable alumni” and “legend” in the category of “Acting” amongst other alumnus notables such as Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Tennessee Williams, Marlon Brando, and Bradley Cooper. Even model Bella Hadid and Nikki Hilton Rothschild attended Parsons.
TCMC: How did you start modeling?
CM: Within two weeks of landing in New York, I was scouted by a photographer for Harper’s BAZAAR Magazine while standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street. He asked me what agency I was with, and I had no idea what he was talking about, and then he asked me if I wanted to “test” and I still had no idea what he was talking about, so he explained that testing was taking pictures without pay, so we exchanged info, and I did my first test. It was a blast. And being scouted kept happening. I was scouted again for a national Conair campaign that included print ads and a commercial and then offered an international campaign for Levis through the same celebrity photographer, Ken Nahoum. I was also scouted by Surface Magazine, New York Post for their “Street Style” section, amongst other publications, and ended up getting covers of magazines and starring in music videos, such as Type O Negative’s “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” where I had to kiss lead singer Peter Steele and he actually bit me — it made me laugh. It was super fun to see my face zip past on adverts on busses and find out I was in magazines, which many times I wouldn’t know until friends told me, which prompted me to hunt them down so I could buy them to mail to my family. It was a really cool experience, but a lot to juggle with my studies at Parsons — however, I still got good grades.
TCMC: How did you transition from modeling into acting?
CM: I got an agent who sent me on modeling “go-sees” and he asked me if I wanted to audition for a movie, and I agreed as I thought it sounded like fun it was for this little indie horror film, and to my shock, I booked the role. The producers then offered me the lead in their next project, and that’s how I started acting professionally.
TCMC: How did you end up with Bebe Buell as your manager?
CM: I attended a rock concert, and according to a celebrity photographer friend, who was told the story and later shared it with me, Liv Tyler, who was with her mother, Bebe, spotted me and said, “Mommy, who’s that girl?”, which prompted Bebe to introduce herself to me. I shared that I was modeling and acting in movies, and she offered to be my talent manager. What an honor! Bebe was of course managing Liv, but her other client was Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry — one of my music heroes. I remember riding home in a limo with Jaoquin Phoenix, who Liv was dating at that time, and Debbie from the premier for Liv’s film Stealing Beauty, where I first met her father Steven Tyler, who was just lovely, and Debbie asked me what I did for a living, and I was so starstruck that I could barely remember — or speak. I think I squeaked out, “I act.”. It was also through Bebe that I met another of my music heroes — Joey Ramone of the Ramones — my all-time favorite band. Bebe was so amazing. She connected me with talent agency Innovative Artists, commercial agency CED, and top modeling agency IMG, who represented me through my move to Los Angeles.
TCMC: Tell us about the film projects you worked on and how you ended up in Los Angeles.
CM: Legendary animator Bill Plympton gave me the great opportunity to star in his award-winning animated feature film, I Married a Strange Person! — I was a fan, so it was a great honor to work with him. Bill had me wear a short auburn-colored wig and drew me, and I did the voice for my character. And I’m still blown away that I booked the role of “Debby” in the GLAAD Media Award- winning film High Art with Ally Sheedy and Radha Mitchell, directed by Lisa Cholendenko — I wore an outrageous “club kid” outfit, complete with feathered boa, to the audition. I remember thinking it was “right” for the part. And of course it was a dream come true to work with Martin Scorsese on Bringing Out the Dead with Nicolas Cage and Ving Rhames. Mr. Scorsese, who is the nicest man, kindly let me run with my creativity and elaborate on my lines, and I remember seeing Nicolas Cage cruising around set in leather pants and discovered he had his own omelette chef — you know you’ve made it if you have a personal omelette chef. I don’t eat eggs, as I’m a vegan, but still think that’s cool. And of course working with such talent as Michael Douglas, Katie Holmes, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, and Robert Downey Jr. on the Golden Globe-winning film Wonder Boys, directed by Curtis Hanson, who also directed the Oscar-winning film L.A. Confidential, was mind-blowing. We shot the film in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and a lot of fans showed up for Katie. She would very generously cut her lunch break short to meet them and sign autographs — what a cool girl. I’ve been very blessed to star in many independent films, one of which brought me to Los Angeles, where I later ended up moving for a relationship.
TCMC: Was this the relationship that led to you being in an A-list Hollywood family?
CM: Yes. My former father-in-law, Robert Evans, and mother-in-law, Ali MacGraw, were wonderful to have as family. They were both so generous to me, and their great taste in home decor and personal style was so inspiring. Ali, who worked with Diana Vreeland of Harper’s BAZAAR and Vogue, was an amazing fashion mentor to me and even personally introduced me to Ralph Lauren. And there were so many great screenings and parties at Bob’s beautiful Beverly Hills home, where I had the pleasure to meet such fascinating people as Jack Nicholson, Helmut Newton, and many others; and Bob’s British butler and other staff were always so hospitable and went out of their way to make everyone perfectly comfortable. Bob and his home epitomised glamorous Hollywood, and I have many fond memories of hanging out and chatting with Bob and Ali and Bob’s other guests in his bedroom — where he held all his important meetings.
TCMC: Tell us about how you became a beauty expert?
CM: I had the great gift of working with many top makeup artists, and hair and fashion stylists as a model and actress and loved watching them work. I would hang out in the hair and makeup trailer with the beauty crew instead of in my trailer, as to me that’s where the fun and action was at on-set. I remember watching makeup artists apply pigments and thinking it was very similar to fine arts painting or drawing, which I had a background in, so for a kick I took classes and got my makeup artist certification. Soon after, I received an offer to do spokesperson work for one of the world’s top luxury cosmetics companies and accepted it, because it’s a passion of mine to help everyone feel their best. It’s been scientifically proven that there is a correlation between the application of cosmetics and a boosted immune system,so you’re healthier when you like what you see in the mirror — wanting to look good isn’t all vanity. I traveled nationally and internationally for the gig and spoke with many people, and the top question I would get from all is “How do I look my best?”. It was unanimous, everyone wanted to know how to get from “the celebrity without makeup looking ‘blah’ in sweatpants”, which we can all relate to, to “personally gorgeous like a star on the red carpet”, so I set out to create a foolproof scientific system that could give each person this experience as well as answers to tough beauty-related questions that at the time didn’t have answers — and thank God I succeeded. From my discoveries, I created the Universal Beauty Standard SystemTM as well as some original techniques, and began teaching others. Then a dear friend of mine suggested I put my findings in a book, so I did and also did the artwork for it. I entitled it, Hollywood Beauty: The Art of Star Makeup, but I couldn’t leave out the fellas because they want to look their best also, so I created an additional book for them entitled, Grooming for Men: From Dirty to Polished. The books totally fill the industry’s in-depth education gap to empower beauty novices through professionals with an unparalleled physical enhancement skill set, which includes original user- friendly beauty techniques, an A through Z all life stage education, and comprehensive individualised prescriptive solutions, so one can effectively choose and utilise products to maximise their individual physical appeal.
TCMC: People can look inside your beautiful books, which are styled like displayable coffee table books, on your website charismichelsen.com.
CM: Yes, and thank you for the compliment.
TCMC: Your books aren’t available to buy yet, but soon?
CM: Yes, that’s correct.
TCMC: And you’ve just started posting videos with information from your books on your YouTube channel and social media accounts, which can be accessed through your website?
CM: Yes — all but my TikTok account. That account is accessible outside of my website.
TCMC: By the way, we love your videos. The information is awesome. We’ve already put many of the tips to use.
CM: Thank you. I’m so happy you’ve found the information helpful.
TCMC: You don’t mind if we ask others to like your videos and subscribe to your YouTube channel and follow you on your social media accounts?
CM: I would be very grateful and of course appreciate any support I get. Thank you.
TCMC: It’s also true that your books are endorsed by former Universal Pictures president and producer Thom Mount, who made movies such as Natural Born Killers?
CM: Yes. He very kindly compared them to Julia Childs’ Mastering The Art of French Cooking.
TCMC: How did you connect with Mr. Mount?
CM: I had starred in a picture he produced and baked him cookies during the holidays one year, and we struck up a conversation about my writing, as I’ve written several feature-length screenplays, and he wanted to read them. He liked my writing and wanted to develop a project with me, which we did. It’s entitled The Reason Sh*t Happens and is a dramedy meant to inspire hope and courage to hang on when going through a personal hell, to find out that everything happens for a good reason.
TCMC: The Reason Sh*t Happens sounds like a movie everyone could use right now and get a lot out of.
CM: That was my goal for the project.
TCMC: What’s happening with that project?
CM: It’s being produced by Thomas D. Adelman, who is the former VP of Beatle George Harrison’s production company Handmade Films, and who’s been involved in making movies such as The Usual Suspects, Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll, with Keith Richards, and the Eloise movies.
TCMC: You’ve also created a fashion, style, and beauty-related TV show that you host. Tell us about that.
CM: It’s a glossy half-hour documentary-style, up-close and personal exploration into the exciting and entertaining world of fashion, style, and beauty, offering the best fashion and cosmetic happenings, history, information, education, and advice to date — think an elegantly sexy Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown with a focus on fashion, style, and beauty, instead of food and travel, with added education. It’s also being produced by Thomas D. Adelman and executive produced by former President of International Sales and Distribution at Voltage Pictures and head of Lakeshore International Elisabeth Costa de Beauregard of Storyboard Media, with Mackenzie Smith.
TCMC: We’ll definitely be watching this show! What’s it called?
CM: Fashion Style Beauty.
TCMC: Love the title -— it’s perfect.
TCMC: Can it be watched now?
CM: Not yet, but soon.
TCMC: We can’t wait. And speaking of fashion, you’ve done some design work and created an Artificial Intelligence Stylist. Tell us about that.
CM: I created and patented a diamond- dot pattern that is expressed in twenty colors, which contains a unique color technology that makes each act as a neutral, allowing each color to be more compatible with various outfits, and I’ve created designs employing conscious fabrics for use with it. I would like to eventually launch my own line of fashion and beauty products. And I created an AI Stylist using my Universal Beauty Standard SystemTM that offers better personal styling than what celebrity stylists offer without making them obsolete. The Stylist connects an individual with their ideal clothing, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics, and styles them. It will be housed on the Fashion Style Beauty Network, a multi- faceted online platform – which is coming soon. My goal with the Stylist is to answer the question, “What should I wear?” for everyone, without dictating personal style to anyone.
TCMC: We totally want smart and conscious fashion products and love that you honour the individual. Who wouldn’t want to be perfectly and effortlessly personally styled? This is all so exciting!
CM: I want to make life happier and easier for people, as well as businesses. My hope is for consumers to say goodbye to the days of buyer’s remorse, as everything purchased through the Stylist should work well for them, and of course vendors will appreciate fewer returns, which will save them a lot of money, increasing their profits.
TCMC: Speaking of business, you just signed with a new agent and manager and were offered a role in a new movie?
CM: Yes. I have a terrific team at Trinity Artists International and have just been offered a role in a great new movie with a top name in the entertainment industry. I’m so very grateful.
TCMC: We can’t wait to see you on- screen in a movie or TV show — and especially hosting your new show, Fashion Style Beauty. We have one last question — we’re dying to find out if you could offer us any beauty tips?
CM: It would be my honor. Would you like to learn how to choose your perfect red lip colour?
TCMC: We would be thrilled! We’ve never been able to figure out how to choose our best red lip colour.
CM: Okay, there are two steps, and I have some suggestions and tips:
STEP 1: Access the depth of your skin tone. How pale or dark are you? NOTE: This determination will lead to choosing a lip colour that harmonizes with the shade depth of your skin tone. NOTE: Classically, the darker your skin tone is, the darker your lip colour should be. For example, if you have a pale skin tone, choose bright red. If your skin tone is medium in shade depth, choose a red that’s a little darker. If your skin tone is dark, choose deep red, and if your skin tone is very dark, choose dark red.
STEP 2: Look past how pale or dark you are, and determine the most predominant undertone colour(s) in your skin. Do you have more yellow/gold/olive in your skin? Equal amounts of yellow/gold/olive and pink/red in your skin? Or more pink/red in your skin? NOTE: If your skin’s undertone is predominantly yellow/gold/olive, lip colours that are “warm” with a yellow or gold undertone would be the most flattering, such as a “tomato red”. If you have a neutral skin tone with neither a predominate yellow/gold/olive undertone nor a predominate pink/red undertone, “neutral” lip colours, with equal amounts of both pink/red and yellow/gold, would be the most flattering. If you have a skin tone with a pink or red undertone, then “cool” lip colours with a pink or red undertone would be the most flattering.
Here are some red lip colour suggestions based upon the depth of your skin tone and your skin’s undertone(s):
LIGHT/PALE SKIN TONES:
WARM: Bright red, bright orange-red. NEUTRAL: Bright true red.
COOL: Bright cool red.
MEDIUM SKIN TONES: WARM: Medium coral red. NEUTRAL: Medium brick red. COOL: Medium berry red.
DARK SKIN TONES:
WARM: Deep cinnamon.
NEUTRAL: Deep brick red.
COOL: Deep raspberry, deep burgundy.
DEEP DARK SKIN TONES: WARM: Dark tomato red. NEUTRAL: Dark brick red.
COOL: Dark berry, dark burgundy.
Here are some red lip colour tips:
- For a classic red lip look, choose cream, matte, or semi-matte/suede- textured lip products.
- When wearing a classic red lip look, it’s best to keep the rest of your makeup natural-looking. See my video THE FOUR BASIC FACES on YouTube, or an abbreviated version of the same video on Instagram or TikTok, for additional information.
- For a more casual red lip look, choose sheer-textured lip products in the colour cherry red.
- Keep the size of your lips in mind when choosing a red lip color. For example, if you have small lips, a dark shade of red will make your lips appear even smaller, so choose a brighter shade of red, and possibly one with a light- reflective property, such as a lip gloss. If your lips are large, you may want to choose a red in a sheer texture and/or in a matte or semi-matte/suede texture so your lips won’t overpower the rest of your features.
- Test your red lip colour when wearing no makeup. NOTE: If a lip colour looks good on you when wearing no makeup, it’s a great choice for you.
- When in doubt about which red lip colour is right for you, choose a sheer- textured lip product in the colour cherry red.
- Before applying a red lip colour, apply a lip stain or lip liner in a similar colour underneath it, so if your lip colour wears off, your lips will still appear polished-looking.
- For a more casual red lip look, skip applying lip liner before applying your red lip colour.
- If you have a warm skin tone and a warm red lip colour makes your teeth appear yellow-looking, opt for a red lip colour that has a neutral undertone.
- To create your own sheer-textured red lip colour, mix lip balm with your red lip colour in a 3:1 ratio.
- If you’re a person of maturity, wearing a lip colour similar to your natural lip colour will make it more difficult to detect if your lip colour bleeds into any fine lines around your mouth.
And of course, a great British cosmetic company to shop for your perfect red lip colour is Charlotte Tilbury!
YouTube channel: CHARIS MICHELSEN Instagram: @charismichelsen_official TikTok: charismichelsen_official Facebook: official.charismichelsen Twitter: OfficialCharisM
Official Website: charismichelsen.com
For acting inquiries: Contact Trinity Artists international 011-310-728-4000
Agent: Sheila Finegan firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager: Jeff Smith email@example.com
For production inquiries:
Contact Thomas D. Adelman of TDA pictures