What is your background and when did you first get interested in becoming a makeup artist?
I was actually a fashion stylist before I was a makeup artist and after that I was a singer for some trendy 90s record labels. I’d always loved makeup and beauty and someone asked me if I knew of any makeup artists for a shoot they were doing while I was still doing music and I offered to do it (with a very small collection of makeup) and got the bug! I’m very thankful to the people who were open minded in the early days as I truly found my vocation and love my job.
I especially loved one of your posts on Instagram of Judi Dench and Kiki McDonough saying that you don’t believe beauty is strictly the preserve of the young. How is doing makeup for celebrities from age 15-84 important to you?
I think so much is focused on younger beauty and youth – I find the modern obsession with plastic surgery particularly uncomfortable with the “Instagram” look and all the filters people use, where people are buying the same face basically. The fact is there is beauty and vitality in all age groups – beauty is certainly not strictly the preserve of the young and life would be so boring if we all looked the same! I love working with people like Judi as she is not only a gorgeous woman with the best cheekbones and eyes in the business, she also inspires me with her energy, generosity and endless curiosity and passion for life – women like this show us the way forward. I also love working with the younger girls who are embarking on their careers and want a nurturing energy around – it’s exciting to see them blossom on their journey – I feel like their makeup mum!
You’ve led looks for Oscar winners, Vogue shoots and more. How does trust play a role in your relationship with your clients?
Trust is hugely important as it’s a very intimate job on many levels and the moment before the client steps out in the public, so it’s important that they feel looked after in that environment. BTS pictures are a big thing at the moment and some clients love them and some don’t so you have to read that situation and be sensitive to it. I want to send my clients out looking and feeling as confident as possible at all times. If I don’t manage that then I am not doing my job properly!
You see a lot of skin up close. How have you seen sun damage and when did you first become aware of sun safety as it relates to beauty and health?
I think people are much more aware these days about SPF and sun damage – fortunately many brands now integrate SPF into their foundations and many SPF’s are better designed to work with primers and foundations so they don’t look chalky and blend well with other products. When I was growing up in the 80’s it wasn’t really discussed but with global warming ever more present, I think people are generally much more aware of the issues of not using good protection. I can always tell when people are good with protecting their skin as their face is generally much paler than their body! Interestingly I have many paler skinned clients like Rachel Brosnahan, Maisie Williams and Elizabeth Debicki who embrace their skin colour and don’t feel the need to be tanned.
How do you integrate sun safety into your own beauty routine?
When I was much younger I did enjoy the occasional sunbed which I later realised was a terrible idea – I had bad acne when I was teenager and I was told it would help it – it then came out that sunbeds can cause melanomas to form so I stopped that for good. I do like a tan in the summer when I have more skin exposed but there are so many great tanning brands out there like St Tropez, Vita Liberata and James Read that no one needs to take risks with their health to get a glow. I always use an SPF of at least 30 and 50 in the summer before I put my foundation on – I can’t remember the last time I didn’t use one and on any part of my body which is exposed.
For more about Emma, go here.
Image via here.