Ruby Hammer MBE
April 5, 2023

1.    What has been your proudest career moment?

In a career than spans nearly four decades long there have been lots of proud moments. The ones that stand out are receiving an MBE from her late majesty in 2007 for contributions to the beauty industry, the launch of Ruby & Millie and of Ruby Hammer Beauty, the first time I ever shot for Vogue UK.  

2.    Who has been/is your biggest mentor?

My biggest mentor was my late Mum and after that would be working in close partnership with Millie Kendall OBE. We brought two very different sides of the industry together. We were labelled the hands and the voice, our skills worked together, and we could bounce of each other.

On a wider stage I look to Bobbi Brown, Trish McEvoy, Marcia Kilgore…to name just a few. They are inspirational in what they’ve achieved and willing to share knowledge to those willing to learn.

3.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

People are very fond of giving advice and I always receive advice it in a unbiassed way. One of the pieces that has stuck with me is to never believe all the hype about how great you are, and not to take to heart the negatives either.

If you take advice dispassionately you can then weigh it up, working out what is most useful to you.

4.    Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?

The beauty industry as it is today, is completely different from when I first started. I didn’t have formal training, I started by assisting and then became the lead artist learning on the job. Before assisting I would have done my friends makeup at school, or ready for a night out but mostly I practised on myself… I had a different look every single day. I would look at magazines and copy the looks adapting them to me. You can have all the theory in the world, but nothing beats the practise!

The actual opportunities now are much more diverse…. before you were a makeup artist in a set area… whereas now there are so many ways to earn money in artistry. There are social media stars as well as makeup artists for a tv, film and editorial. You can take masterclasses, head to college, learn online… the opportunities for training are more widespread than they have ever been allowing you to learn in the way best suited to you.

5.    How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?

I love what I do, with a keen interest in the beauty industry as a whole. I still thumb through magazines, read online, scan social media as well as get out into stores and watch street fashion. When I first started magazines and catwalks were key, whereas social media makes the world faster paced.

You have to be authentic to yourself… starting in social media I had no desire to share my whole life and I still don’t. There is an insight but I don’t get het up on numbers. I have veered away from posting faddy content, sticking to what I want to post rather than today’s top TikTok trend. You have to find what works for you, not somebody else.

6.    If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?

Think twice, think twenty times…starting a business is all encompassing. You must know it is really what you want to do, there are lots of highs and lots of lows.

Make sure you keep all aspects of yourself and your wellbeing strong and resilient from sleeping and eating well to exercising, otherwise you will flag.

7.    What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?

As a makeup artist the hours are long (especially on set) I’m usually the first to arrive and the last to leave. I love getting to work within a team, expressing my creativity and delivering the brief.

As a brand founder receiving genuine positive feedback feels amazing. I’ve had messages that have brought tears to my eyes and made my chest grow… on the flip side my shoulders completely dropped with the pandemic and all the restrictions. Giants were brought to their knees and as a seedling, start-up I had to change everything I thought I knew.

8.    How do you switch off after a difficult day?

As I’ve gotten older, I don’t try to be superwoman anymore…I spend time with my husband, my grandson, my friends. I used to feel guilty but now I know we all have to switch off.

9.    Desert island 3 course meal?

I love a really good starter… in the winter I like a soup to warm me up.

Nothing beats either rice and dhal or steak and chips as a main.

I didn’t have much of a sweet tooth when I was younger, but now I need a little bit of something sweet to finish off my meal…  wonderful ice cream or light tiramisu.

10.  Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?

The first person would be my late Mum, just to see her gaze again. I love my family and friends... it doesn’t have to be someone famous. People that make me laugh, those that are comforting … That being said Shah Ruk Khan I am sure would be amazing, I like him as an actor but think he would be fascinating to speak to.



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