How did you get started as a makeup artist? Has it been a lifelong fascination with makeup and hair? I have been a makeup artist for over 25 years!! I got started when I was working part time at a model agency while attending fashion design school. I worked in reception booking models for shoots, and at night I taught the makeup classes. Being the 1980’s it was a very creative period, so I had alot of fun learning my craft by teaching it to others. My first job was a magazine cover as I met a fashion editor who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to work on the shoot. The rest is history.
What training did you have? I have no training and I essentially taught myself. I could do makeup from the age of 12 and was always passionate about fashion, makeup, hair and art.
Was there a particular figure who inspired you to become a makeup artist? My mother has always been glamorous and does wonderful makeup herself. She was a huge inspiration, along with early influences like Cher, Farrah Fawcett and Debbie Harry: all makeup and fashion icons in my eyes.
You have worked with some major celebrities, as well as appeared on TV. Was there any particular event that was a turning point for you that helped in the development of your career? When I first began the big turning point for me was becoming a freelancer. I was only 22 and had been working full time since leaving school, so quitting my job as a model booker/part time makeup artist and becoming a freelancer was a huge step. I was lucky to become instantly sought after and received a lot of publicity in the magazines, so that helped!
What does a typical working month look like for you? How many different projects will you work on? I generally work at least four days a week, sometimes more. Occasionally I get quiet periods when I may only have a day’s work, but that is when I use my time for beauty writing and updating my website. I have a handful of clients that book me all the time for TV commercials and for these shoots I do wardrobe as well as makeup & hair.
What to date has been your favourite film and TV project that you have worked on? My best jobs are always the ones that take me to exotic locations. I have been all over the Pacific to places including Bali, Thailand, Vanuatu, Fiji, Rarotonga, Tahiti & even the Maldives. I have stayed in stunning resorts and have been to amazing hidden away locations that I would only have experienced had we been shooting there. Last year Bride & Groom flew me to Vanuatu to shoot wedding fashion and we took photos on a small private island, and then dolphins followed us back to Port Villa! Now that’s when my job is glamorous.
Weddings and makeup
Are there some things you would absolutely not do? Never follow trends when it comes to the look you want for your wedding. You want to look back at the photos in twenty years time and like what you see!!
Is the location a factor in how you approach makeup for a wedding? For example, if there is a strong outdoors theme, would you apply different makeup? Winter weddings generally have a more dramatic look, but because most brides choose to get married in the summer, girls generally want a fresh natural makeup. Weather plays a part because if its very hot and humid shine becomes an important factor. Technology has come a long way with makeup and now you can use primers to makeup the foundation last and cut back sheen.
Wedding makeup and contact lenses
Do you have to consider what the photographer will do? The bride will always say what she wants! If I am doing a wedding makeup the girls will generally choose a look they like from my website galleries & I’ll go with that theme.
What is the most unusual wedding you have had to do makeup for? Celebrity weddings that are stalked by paparazzi are always interesting & I have worked on a few that have had photographers lurking in the bushes!
Do you ever suggest a bride wears contact lenses for her big day? Most girls that wear contacts will always choose to do so on their wedding day. I would suggest that they put them in before they begin makeup and make sure they tell the makeup artist to be gentle around the eye area to avoid getting any powder or eye shadow under the lens.
For some detailed wedding makeup tips from Nikki, read her article on sensational wedding makeup.
Makeup takes a little effort but is worth it
What was your most challenging assignment? Its not always as glamorous as it sounds. Being a makeup artist means working long days, standing for hours in cold studios & turning models out like a production line! Sometimes I am doing makeup out of a van on the side of the road or in a tent in the middle of a paddock!! The hardest job I ever did was working with Barbie on a three day TV shoot. I had to make her hair look natural & the clients were so fussy!! I’ll never look at a Barbie doll the same way again!
What is your general opinion on the way women in NZ wear makeup? The average NZ woman likes to look natural, but I believe that makeup is a tool that can make you look & feel amazing. Many NZ women do very little to help themselves and it takes a lot of time (& work) to look fresh & natural!!! The key is to update your look every year & stay healthy as beauty comes from the inside.
How has the industry changed over the years? Makeup technology has moved ahead in leaps & bounds; so much so that its hard to keep up! It is amazing how many new products come out every few months & they are not all good. I like to test makeup before I recommend it which is why I started my beauty blog. I only write about products that really work, are good value for money & help to make you look & feel beautiful. Please check out my website and Facebook page to keep up with what’s new in my world of makeup.