Artist Spotlight: Nova Kaplan Finding True Beauty in Life and Work

Frankie Sanderson

March 7, 2022

Nova Kaplan, celebrity makeup artist, sits with me to spill some tea.  A busy girl on the go beautifying Hollywood’s elite.  I was lucky to get some time to talk.  Let’s jump in…

What got you into the makeup game and who were your biggest makeup influences?

Fashion magazines like Vogue or Harpers Bazaar where ad campaigns were stunning!  Everything worked together to create this painting.  My parents are painters and it reminded me of that in another art form.  Everything working together to create this masterpiece.

Also, one of my best friends who also doubled as my roommate is a Drag Queen and she and all her friends taught me how to do makeup. I taught them how to paint canvas and they taught me how to paint my face. I’ve always been inspired by drag queens and trans women.

What does a day on the set look like for you and how did you get involved on the celebrity makeup artist circuit?

Over preparation. I make sure I have everything. 

Nova Kaplan’s work seen in our February cover shoot featuring Jessica Michel

I hear you are heavily involved in social justice issues. Could you elaborate on that?

It’s our responsibility.  Injustices and inequalities have never set right with me. I’ve latched onto intersectionality and making sure it’s part of my everyday life.  If various communities can speak up within their own communities and share what’s happening in other communities there’s more voices. The minority then becomes not so minor.

I see you have dog and cat fur babies. What are their names? They’re adorable.

Lola is a Manchester Terrier.  She’s my baby.

KO, our teenager, stands for “knock out”.  I was playing a lot of Mortal Combat when I named her and she has a black ring around her eye.

What was your favorite moment during the February/March issue of HOP?

My favorite part of the travel issue was working with Jana for the first time.  It was so cool when Jana said “let’s move out of the way so the glam team can get a beauty shot”.  I thought that was really great because a lot of photographers don’t do that.  I thought that was so sweet.  The whole HOP team has been so open and wants to make sure everyone is having a good time while creating this editorial dream.  Everyone has been so wonderful!

Do you have any future plans to collaborate on any interesting projects with other artists?

I feel so lucky every day. I get to work with the most phenomenal, amazing women.  Intelligent, smart, kind, funny… I can’t say enough about them!  My regulars are the “f******” best if I’m allowed to say that?  I wake up every morning happy and grateful! I get to work on different things all the time.  TV, print, Red Carpet.  I never get bored.  I’ll never stop being grateful for that.  Yes, I love it!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t know where I will be in 5 years, in 5 minutes.  I just try to stay in the moment and take it one day at a time!