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Miranda Lambert and Makeup Artist Moani Lee on the Glam Behind the Singer’s Vegas ‘Velvet Rodeo’ Residency

Miranda Lambert and Makeup Artist Moani Lee on the Glam Behind the Singer s Velvet Rodeo Residency
Miranda Lambert. John Shearer/Getty Images for Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is packing up the rodeo. The country superstar has been performing her Velvet Rodeo residency at Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas since September of 2022, but with only a handful of dates left of the run, she’s waxing poetic about the experience.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Lambert exclusively told Us. “I’ve loved the Velvet Rodeo shows so much, and I feel so grateful that the fans loved us back—enough that we were invited to extend the run not once, but twice. At the same time, I’m really excited for some things we have coming up and I’m ready for the next challenge.”

But before she takes her final bow on April 6, Lambert and her longtime makeup artist Moani Lee are sharing some behind-the-scenes secrets from her Vegas glam routine.

“I’ve been dreaming up these looks for some time. I’ve been with Miranda for over a decade now, so to be able to celebrate such an epic moment with her was really special for me,” said Lee. “The aesthetic is a fiery explosion of color and sparkle all woven in with the velvety richness of Miranda’s music and vocals.”

Lambert, for one, approves.

Miranda Lambert and Makeup Artist Moani Lee on the Glam Behind the Singer s Velvet Rodeo Residency
Courtesy of Moani Lee

“I like that we turn the sparkle up a notch,” she said. “We took a lot of inspiration from the wardrobe, which itself really leaned into the Vegas vibe and some of Elvis’ outfits. They’re all very colorful and have a lot of rhinestone detailing, so we pulled colors from the outfits for some fun eyeshadows and then of course added some extra sparkle.”

For Lee, it was a delicate balance between capturing the Vegas vibe and not letting the looks outshine the superstar’s costumes.

“I wanted it to be subtle enough to not compete entirely with all the sparkle in her wardrobe and amazing hats,” said Lee. “When the lights hit her at certain angles, I wanted a little wink of light to hit at various points. Color was a big part of the inspiration and I loved playing with the tones in whatever color wardrobe she decided for any given night. I also had to deal with the heat factor in the show as fire is a big part of the production, so even on the technical side of things, I had to make sure that the inspiration for makeup was also able to withstand fairly high temperatures or even the sweat factor.”

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Products play a key role in the Velvet Rodeo glam, and Lee made sure that everything she used would be performance—and desert—friendly.

“I’ve been playing a lot with Swarovski crystals on the inner and outer corner of her eyes. I like to perfectly place them so that they still offer balance with the rest of the sparkles in her wardrobe,” she said. “I’ve also loved playing with the high shine and heavily pigmented colors of all of Pat McGrath’s various palettes. She truly is the master of intense color and shine. 111 Skin has been so generous with keeping Miranda’s skin super hydrated in the Vegas desert. I’ve loved their entire NAC Y2 collection which is very rich in moisture and perfect for hydration and recovery. I have also loved exploring Haus Labs and they have been so generous with their product. Their Triclone Skin Tech Foundation is so beautifully skin-like but has the coverage and longevity needed for all that heat and performance on stage.”

And while Lambert admits that she prefers a no makeup look when she’s not performing, she’s having a lot of fun getting her glam on before the show.

“Honestly, my favorite days are on my farm in no makeup with my hair tied up in a bandana, but it’s having that balance of my ‘normal’ days that makes it special to really pump up the glam for days like our Velvet Rodeo performances,” she said. “We try to make it as fun as possible, and that’s why it’s so great having someone like Moani, who has become a close friend, backstage with me while I’m getting ready. We always take a shot of tequila before we go onstage, which we call communion because we use a communion tray for [the shot glasses]. It is Sin City after all!”

For Lee, the experience of working on the residency side-by-side with Lambert is one she will never forget.

Miranda Lambert and Makeup Artist Moani Lee on the Glam Behind the Singer s Velvet Rodeo Residency
Miranda Lambert.

“It has been a dream to be a part of this, especially after all these years of music and creativity,” she said. “I have worked with Miranda for over a decade now and our dynamic is just fun. She has such strong opinions on most things, but for makeup she really leaves that part to me. She’s extremely collaborative and always open to new ideas so it’s been super fun to explore.”

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It’s safe to say that the residency was a career high for both Lee and Lambert, who was initially nervous about the undertaking.

“Velvet Rodeo pushed me outside my comfort zone at the start, and by the end the Bakkt Theater felt like our home,” Lambert said. “It’s been fun to see the fans dressed to the nines coming out to these shows. I really appreciated hearing stories from fans who planned a whole trip to Vegas around coming to see us and I hope we delivered a show they’ll never forget.”

Miranda Lambert and Makeup Artist Moani Lee on the Glam Behind the Singer s Velvet Rodeo Residency
Courtesy of Moani Lee

As for another Vegas residency, Lambert hints that she’s not walking away from the table forever.

“I think it’s good to take a break now and to push my creativity in other ways for a while, but I’d love to return someday down the line,” she said.

And as her time in Sin City comes to an end, Lambert is excited for what’s next. Even if she plays coy when asked about new music.

“We always have a few wildcards up our sleeve,” she said. “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

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