How to become a Professional Makeup Artist | Interviews with Famous Makeup Artists

Makeup Artistry is a popular profession for budding creatives, with opportunities to explore work placement in various industries. It is a rewarding trade that is challenging, fun and supports imagination and originality. For most aspiring makeup artists, getting started is the hardest part. At the Huxley School of Makeup, our students engage in an integrated style of education that incorporates external work experience placement with ‘real world’ in-class exercises to improve, not only the students technical skills, but to also develop their creative and critical thinking.

To give you some industry insight we interviewed a couple of our favourite makeup artists who are globally at the top of their game!

‘Drum roll please’

Martin Bray
The fabulous head Makeup Artist for X-Factor, who has also worked on Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland and INXS! He is currently based in Barcelona however, travels around the world for his craft.

Emma Hack
Beyond gifted Aussie Artist, who specialises in Body Art. You would have seen her work in countless advertising campaigns and music videos, like Gotye’s ‘Somebody I used to know’ video, that has over 600million views on YouTube!!

Anita Caffyn
From a cosmetics and employer perspective we have the Director of the world’s largest professional makeup company, Kryolan. Anita’s understanding of business and the cosmetics industry is unequivocal. She has also employed many makeup artists and knows exactly what she is looking for.

Jos Brands
Jos is well-known around the world for his expertise in Fashion Makeup Artistry. He regularly works for the world’s largest brands, on high fashion runway shows and major campaigns. Furthermore, he is the head of Kryolan’s international creative team!

Linda Hartley
When it comes to Film and TV, Lindy is a makeup and hair super star! She has been in the industry for over 20years and worked on major budget productions and feature films. Lindy has worked with celebs like Eric Bana, Hugo Weaving and Vince Colosimo. Most recently she worked on the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and is one of our head Trainers at the school.

Martin Bray

When hiring a makeup artist for shows like X-Factor, what qualities do you look for?
“When selecting a team, I firstly look for talent and skills. Experience in beauty and fashion and technical skills such as blending, body art and air brushing are so important. Secondly, it’s all about work ethic, passion and personality. They have to be able to fit into the team.”

What is the most challenging part about being a professional makeup artist?
“The most challenging aspect of being a makeup artist is to always better yourself and not rest on what you have already done . Staying contemporary and fresh and creative is very important.
Your portfolio is forever changing so, in the beginning, it takes a while because you have to edit it drastically, taking into account your makeup skills, lighting, photography, styling and the type of model.”

What advice would you give to an aspiring Makeup Artist?
“My advice to someone starting out is to firstly make sure you have the passion for your craft. It is not about the money. Assist as many artists as possible,work with as many stylists and photographers as you can to build contacts and always get more education from things such as seminars and workshops after you finish your course. You never stop learning. Good luck to you all.”

Emma Hack

When did you first get into body art?
“I was studying Makeup Artistry in 1990 and my teacher Bill Peacock noticed my face painting on children’s faces and suggested I create a similar application over the body. I tried it, loved the results and never looked back!”

What was your first big break?
“I created my first calendar in 1999. I took a lot of risks with this and also lost a lot of money, but the results were that I then created a calendar for the Paralympic Committee for the 2001 Paralympics and then a Celebrity Chef Calendar. Things started to move forward then.”

What has been your favorite body art project?
“Creating my first calendar with an amazing team of friends creating for the sake of creation!”

What is the most challenging job you have worked on?
“The ‘Body Crash’ campaign for the Motor Accident Commission here in SA. It was the first sculptural body art image with no reference whether it would work or not, a lot of risk for a government company to take on. Very scary on the day and difficult for all involved.”

What is the longest time you have ever worked on one single body art project?
“I assume you mean straight-through? 23 hrs, Gotye, ‘Somebody That I Used it Know’.”

Do you have a favorite body paint product?
“I use a range of paints, mostly Kryolan as that’s what I was using 25 years ago, but love MAC and Paradise Make-up/MEHRON is lovely to apply.”

What brush could you not live without?
“MEHRON flat wide brush for bases.”

How do you book makeup jobs?
“Through my manager mostly, although I have cut this element out of my business mostly nowadays. I am full time with my art career now.”

What advice would you give an aspiring makeup artist who wants to follow in your footsteps?
“Be persistent, believe in yourself, find a point of difference, work your social media and be credible with strong work ethics.”

Anita Caffyn

When hiring a makeup artist what qualities do you look for?
“Honesty and a strong work ethic are the most important qualities we look for when we recruit. We also look for ‘Soft Skills’ such as people and communication skills before technical makeup skills.”

What are the benefits of working for Kryolan?
“We are big globally and are able to provide our staff with international opportunities. Two of our staff just came back from a study tour in Germany where they had the opportunity to meet and learn with representatives from over 40 countries. Even as a global organisation we care enough to ensure our staff are not treated as a number.”

What advice would you give someone looking to turn makeup into a career?
“Like all other industries, technical skills are commodity. Develop your soft skills 1st! I see ego as the biggest inhibitor for any makeup artist who wants to succeed in this industry.”

Jos Brands

When did you get your first big break into the makeup industry?
“I started very young in makeup, but it was in the theatrical direction. I was 19 years old when I first started at the Royal Opera House in Antwerp. About 20 years ago I started to work in Fashion. I worked for prolific designers such as Viktor&Rolf, Walter van Beirendonck and Raf Simons.”

When the world’s biggest fashion houses create campaigns or fashion shows, what do they look for in a Makeup Artist?
“You need to be a chameleon. It’s important to feel the aesthetic direction from the designer and the brand. It’s not your personal preference what is important, but the way you can feel and can translate the wish of your client. Your technical skills are the tools to build up your creativity.”

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
“Inspiration is all around you. On the street, in magazines, on television. Creativity is the way you play around with this inspiration and build up new combinations.”

Has there ever been a time where you have made a mistake on the job and if so how did you fix it?
“You make many mistakes in your career, but you learn from them. Once I did a job for Walter van Beirendonck in Paris Fashion Week, he ask me to paint a white triangle on male models chests. It was necessary that the make up was stable and didn’t transfer on the clothes. I use a new product what was very stable for underwater shoots but during the show it became really hot under the stage lights and the makeup start to peel of. I solved the problem by using white Dermacolor over the top. You can imagine it was very exciting but being able to make decisions on the spot is vitally important.”

What was your favorite fashion campaign that you have worked on?
“In February I worked on the Dior Avant-garde Show in the Paris Fashion Week. It was great to work with two of my career mentors again. Those being, Raf Simons, who is the designer for Dior and the amazing makeup artist Peter Philips.”

What advice would you give an aspiring makeup artist?
“Making connections in the makeup industry is very important, but you need to earn them with a strong work ethic. I have a professorship at the renowned Antwerp Municipal Institute for Adult Education. In my lecturing activities the most important thing is to guarantee that the young up-and-coming talent in the makeup artistry profession receive high-quality training as this is the decisive prerequisite for finding a job as a qualified makeup artist.”

Linda Hartley

What was your first big break into the Film & TV industry?
“MY most memorable 1st film was definitely having the opportunity to work with my mentor Kirsten Veysey on the film ‘Chopper’. It was so memorable for me because I was able to work with truly skilled professionals in my field, and extend my skills and knowledge. It was truly inspiring!”

What is the most challenging aspect in Film and TV?
“You need total commitment to the project, including possible relocation, discipline and focus. Crazy hours, but awesome times. I think if you can do the hours, meet the required brief successfully etc and arrive home with a big smile on you face, maybe Film and TV is for you.”

What do you think is the most important skill in Film and TV?
“I can’t say there is one skill specifically… knowledge, personality & life experience. Having the diversity in skills and knowledge gives you the edge in employability. The more you know the more valuable you are. I would say one of the things I most love about this industry is that we never stop learning. Don’t get carried away in the moment, stay focused, remember why you are there, remember your place, remember the brief, and communicate with others appropriately. Be professional at all times!”

What advice would you give to others wanting to get into Film and TV?
“Knowledge, passion and dedication goes a long way… but the film industry is not as glam as you may think! It is so important to collaborate with others throughout your training to enable opportunities to transpire. Making yourself available for small projects to gain experience is a great start. I believe your personality is a huge factor. Be yourself, be the best that you can be, and be open to learning from others… we never stop learning!”

We are now accepting enrollments for our
Fashion & Beauty Makeup Artistry | September Intake
places are limited, make sure you get in fast so you don’t miss your place!
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