HELEN, who grew up in Port Glasgow after moving to Scotland from Kenya as a child, has worked with a variety of Hollywood A-listers during her glittering career.
AS Michael Douglas lay watching football on the telly, his wife Catherine Zeta Jones sat in her white bathrobe, eyes shut and patiently waiting.
Helen Anderson was preparing to do Catherine’s make-up ahead of Donatella Versace’s Spring-Summer fashion show in 2004.
It’s was a long way from her childhood in Port Glasgow to mixing with the stars in Milan. But for Helen, the Hollywood couple were just one of a large number of A-list clients.
Helen, 40, said: “Catherine had just had her second baby, Cara, and she and Michael were in their hotel room relaxing before going to the show.
“Michael was really easy going as he watched TV and Catherine was lovely. The hotel had a big dressing room and Catherine sat at a table while I gave her smokey dark eyes.
“She was so beautiful and had a Morrocan theme outfit and the best chat. She was so friendly and wanted to know all about me and we talked about the fact that I was Scottish.”
Helen is quite matter of fact when she talks about her glamorous work.
With her well traveled transatlantic twang it’s hard to believe that she comes from the Inverclyde town, which was also home to her sister and former TV weather presenter Jean Johansson.
Helen’s dream was always to enter the make-up world.
She said: “I grew up in Port Glasgow after we moved from Kenya when I was around 10.
“I went to James Watt College in Greenock after school and did hairdressing and beauty as an HND course for two years when I was 17.
“I’d done well at school but wanted to follow my dream and make-up was my passion.
“I’d played with make-up from a young age and used to practice on Jean and my friends. I’m still practicing, and always try something different, trying to make a new trend that everyone will follow.”
Working as a waitress between doing make-up for small shows and magazines, Helen’s big break finally came when she assisted her hero Mary Greenwell in London.
She said: “Mary was a very well known make-up artist and my idol. I got contacted through an agency about assisting her at a show when I was in my 20s.
“Mary taught me to polish off my work and that attention to detail was everything. I learned so much.”
More jobs followed through contracts with the BBC and in 2002, Helen did make-up for her first big celebrity – Johnny Depp.
She said: “I was at the World Music Awards in Hackney doing make-up for the presenters and they needed someone for Johnny Depp.
“I did powder for him to present an award and he was a real gentleman. He shook my hand and yes, he does have fine skin.”
Helen then found an agent in Milan who took her on to do work with Donatella Versace and other big names. And very soon she was flying around the world, being driven to and from jobs and staying in luxury hotels.
She said: “Donatella is a lovely, lovely lady, very friendly and kind and treated me very well.”
As well as the Zeta Jones job, Helen was asked to do make-up for Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Linda Evangelista.
She said: “In 2003, I did the make up for Beyonce in her hotel room. She was really, really sweet, very quiet and doesn’t speak too much.
“Her mum was there and I ended up doing her make-up as well. She said I made her look younger.
“I gave her sparkly gold in her eyes with a dark brown powder banana in the crease and dark brown pencil liner at the top, as well as false eyelashes. I highlighted her brow bone and glossed her lips.”
That same year, Helen achieved her biggest ambition of getting a Vogue cover.
She said: “My career accelerated and I got called by Russian Vogue for a shoot in Milan with Carolina Trentini, a new six-foot Brazilian supermodel.
“I wasn’t told it was going to be a cover and almost fell over when they told me. They wanted her very natural and it was quite easy as I’m good at natural make-up and just built it from there.
“She had gorgeous skin and I kept her freckles so it was very light. She was everywhere after that.”
A fashion show with Aguilera in Milan soon followed.
Helen said: “Christina had released her song Dirty just before but had taken out all her extensions and looked more innocent.
“She was pretty made up from a job beforehand and I just touched up her foundation and did her lips. We were backstage at the fashion show before she went on stage for Versace.” As well as working for Harper’s Bazaar and being gifted clothes and make-up, Helen was asked to create a new look for Valentino Red in 2004.
She said: “I showed people how to make use of new colours in 2004 when I did Valentino Red’s look book.
“I got picked up from Rome’s five-star hotel Boscolo and was treated like a movie star. They used my Polaroids to create the style for their New York show.”
Shoots with Naomi Campbell and Evangelista followed and, despite their diva reputations, Helen claims they were the nicest people she’s met.
She said: “I was doing a Harper’s Bazaar shoot with Donatella and Linda Evangelista and I thought Linda may be intimidating because of her ‘I don’t get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars a day comment’.
“She was so sweet in person and wanted to go make-up shopping with me.
“She had the whole Nars collection but wanted more and we ran out of time to do it. Funnily enough, the shoot was with Donatella so I had to make sure that Linda’s skin matched the same dark colour as Donatella’s.”
Despite the luxury travel and hotels, Helen claims her life isn’t as glamorous as people think.
She said: “It’s not all champagne and caviar. The worst thing that can happen is if a model cries and her face goes red after you’ve done her make-up. It can happen if people are short on time or if someone upsets them.
“If the weather changes, people get uptight or if there is no food and there are soggy sandwiches, they can start yelling too.”
Helen, who is in Florida on a shoot, more recently brought out her brushes for singer Pharrell Williams, tennis coach Boris Becker and socialite Nicole Richie.
She is keen to continue her vocation but has also just launched her own swimwear range – after growing dissatisfied with other brands on the market.
She said: “I’ve not got my own make-up range but have my own swimwear range after looking at horrible bikinis for years.
“Some are so ugly and don’t sit right so I launched Watababe. I’m hoping some of the people I meet might endorse it.
“As I get older it might give me something a bit more stable but I wouldn’t change what I’ve done for anything – and I’d like to come back to Scotland at some point.
“It’s just too cold. If only the weather were better – but not even my sister can sort that.”