1. What has been your proudest career moment?
I’ve had such a varied career over the years that it's hard to choose a proudest moment but I definitely had a ‘pinch me’ moment the first time I saw my beauty campaign images in the windows of SpaceNK. It was one of my very first jobs I did when I went freelance. I loved the images, still do, and seeing them in shop windows, store light boxes and even in huge displays in New York….yes, that was a proud moment.
2. Who has been/is your biggest mentor?
Bobbi Brown has been just the best friend and mentor over the years. She’s taught me so much, not just about makeup but about how to conduct myself, to believe in myself, to always be kind to everyone, to drink lots of water and move my body. She also taught me to love sushi and tequila on the rocks!!
3. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
The most valuable piece of advice I’ve been given is more of a mantra that I pass on at every available opportunity to other MUA’s and that is ’To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is unacceptable’! Ha! But it's so true - being late is the worst, hate it - you start the job on the wrong foot so always plan plenty of time to get to each job.
4. Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?
In makeup it’s actually not necessary to gain specific training or certifications - some of the greatest MUA’s of our time are self taught like PatMcGrath, Mary Greenwell and Mario Dedivanovic- but of course it’s always a good idea to support natural talent with education and learning to ensure you’re constantly honing your skills and learning from others. Whilst makeup schools offer incredible training, the quality of the teaching can vary hugely from school to school so be sure to research any courses you want to take well before signing up as they can be really expensive and you don’t want to waste money being taught dated makeup looks or techniques. There are also a plethora of online courses now too, meaning you can learn at home which is much more accessible for many. Whilst doing courses is great for gaining knowledge and building confidence I think I learnt more assisting other makeup artists than anywhere else so I always recommend reaching out to MUA’s or building relationships with MUA’s and offering to assist as learning on the job can have huge benefits. As well as learning the artists tricks and techniques, it also prepares you for situations where you might one day be the artist booked - what life is like back stage at fashion week, what it’s like on a shoot on location, what a TV studio feels like etc so yes, learn at every given opportunity and seek out assisting jobs because you’ll learn loads and get to meet others in the industry and widen your network. The more people you know in the industry the more people you can ask for advice-what insurance do I need, how do I write an invoice, what’s the best hygiene practice etc etc
5. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?
I think the best thing one can do to stand out from the crowd is to just be true to yourself - don't try to be anyone else. Yes it's important to always be aware of trends, to be constantly researching makeup styles old and new and trying new looks to keep your skillset fresh and current but don’t strive to be the best reproducer of other peoples work - find your style and perfect it to be the best it can be. Push yourself to try things out of your comfort zone and never stop learning.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?
To anyone starting their own business I’d say be patient. It might well feel really tough initially but perseverance pays and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in the industry who might be able to help you -seeking out a mentor in the field that you're persueing could be really beneficial.
7. What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the people. I get to meet and work with the most amazing people from clients I'd never ordinarily cross paths with to other creatives on set who are a huge source of inspiration. The hardest thing is trying to find balance, especially in the era of social media, its almost impossible to switch off and that can be really challenging, especially when trying to juggle family life - I want to be present for my kids, not always on my phone.
8. How do you switch off after a difficult day?
Switching off after a hard day isn’t always easy. If I'm home late from a big job I need time to decompress and often I find myself scrolling on instagram or reading news websites which I do find relaxing but my favourite thing to do to unwind is to have a bath - I just love a good soak.
9. Desert island 3 course meal?
Oooh, desert Island three course meal…some kind of arancini to start, preferably with truffle, then an assortment of Indian dishes both meat and veg for the main and apple crumble and ice cream for pudding!! Thats a weird combination isn’t it but they’re all my favourite things!
10. Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?
Pat McGrath: Arguably one of our times most talented makeup artists and businesswomen - I’d love to ask her all about her career and the people she’s worked with.
Elizabeth Taylor: She was so fabulous and I'd love to ask her all about life in Hollywood in its heyday and I’d love to try on the Taylor Burton diamond! I think we'd bond over our love of jewellery.
Britney Spears: She was such an icon for me as a teenager, I just love her!!
Tom Hanks: He’s always such a great guest when he’s on UK chat shows and an amazing story teller.
Will Smith: Another excellent talk show guest but he’d also keep the laughs coming.
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