How long have you been doing makeup, and when did you know a career in beauty was for you?
-- I started doing makeup freelance in 2003. Before that, I worked at Mac Cosmetics at Selfridges in London, England and then in Toronto before making the decision to go freelance. My father was a hairdresser and my aunt had a makeup studio/spa in my family’s salon, so I grew up around it and worked with them every Saturday from the age of 5 - 17! I used to buy my clothes at a vintage store and put together these themed outfits (fully inspired by Madonna and her constantly changing looks). I would think of what hair and makeup I wanted to do with each particular look and that would be what I would wear to school for the day. My teachers thought I should be an actress because I dressed in character, but I knew I just wanted to put the character together. I loved planning the hair and makeup around the outfit. It gave me purpose during those difficult teen years.
What do you love most about your job?
-- Honestly, I love the people. There are so many great teams and so many talented people here in Canada. I really enjoy my days on set. I also have a love for fashion and beauty trends. I love always moving on to the next thing, the next inspiration, the next job - the constant fast pace suits my personality.
Who are some of your beauty inspirations?
-- I am such a huge fan of fellow Canadian Hung Vango. He has done so well for himself and deservedly so; his artistry and skill is breathtaking and absolutely some of my favourite work.
What influences your work? Which sources do you use for inspiration for shoots?
-- I know it probably sounds expected, but I look to the international markets to see what they are doing every season. I love looking online at fashion shows and the behind the scenes. I look at a lot of magazines and I also find inspiration from street style and people I see out and about. I also love referencing a past decade and finding new ways to interpret it. I find that exciting and something I am always interested to do.
You've worked with Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmo, Flare, Elle and Dress to Kill (just to name a few). How does that feel, and how do you prepare for those shoots?
-- I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with so many amazing magazines! I love how each one of them has their own particular style and vision. Being a part of the teams that work on these shoots has been an incredible experience. I start off my preparation by doing research, putting together visual references and putting a lot of thought into my shoots. I think about my hair and makeup looks, techniques, products, approach - everything - while I drive, workout or try and fall sleep - lol - it’s basically on my mind until it is shot and done (and then I think of how could have improved it! Ha!).
Who do you most enjoy collaborating with?
-- That’s a loaded question and the honest (and boring) answer is there are too many to name. As I’ve said, I am lucky to work with the top people in this country so a day on set with these photographers, stylists and models doesn’t feel like work. I love what I do and it is extremely rewarding to work with other passionate people.
Do you like creating really out-there looks, or do you prefer something classically beautiful?
-- Funny, I just had this conversation today. I like a range, but I definitely like the minimal dewy makeup that enhances the person’s features and natural beauty. I also love going glam with a strong eye, lip and cheek. at the end of the day my goal is to make things look refined and expensive. If I can achieve that I am happy.
How do you think the industry has changed since you’ve started? The beauty industry specifically.
-- It’s changed a lot in the way that it has grown considerably. When I started pursuing this industry in 1999 it wasn’t common to be a makeup artist or a fashion stylist. Now with television shows and social media, a lot of creative kids are getting exposed to these career paths. The beauty industry has changed drastically with social media. Youtube and Instagram are giving a voice and platform to a new kind of beauty and beauty representative. It definitely has changed things.
How do makeup artists assert themselves in the creative process of a shoot?
-- I think it works in your favour to have ideas and suggestions when it comes to the hair and makeup, although sometimes direction is given. I think having an open dialogue with your team and client is key. Don’t be afraid to have the conversation and be clear on what they are wanting. Having visual references helps a lot as well.
If you turn up at a shoot and the model has terrible skin, what do you do?
-- Leave it to Photoshop! Haha, it sounds funny, but it’s true. I don’t like a heavy base - I want pores to read regardless so I leave the foundation light so that the retoucher has good skin texture to pull from to clear up any imperfections.
You've had an amazing career so far - what have been your highlights?
-- Winning Makeup Artist of the Year was a great moment for me. Also, going to Bora Bora with the crew of Fashion Magazine last year was memorable. I love to travel and it was so beautiful - I couldn’t have been with better people. I must say the shoot I did with Chris Nichols and Cary Tauben for Dress to Kill at the Bowmanville Zoo with all the jungle animals was a definite highlight. It was a concept and idea I pitched to the magazine and team and I worked so hard putting it all together. I love animals so being able to do a shoot with them was super cool to say the least.
You've done such stunning work on so many models and celebrities. Who have you not worked on that you'd kill to get into your chair?
-- That’s a great question - I’d have to say Kate Moss because there is just no one like her... and if we’re going to dream big then Madonna because, well it’s madonna, and she has influenced so much of who I am today.
What’s next for you?
-- Next is a night shoot tomorrow for Flare Magazine with Andrew Soule and then TIFF begins...