At the peak of the global pandemic, all creatives were faced with the uncertainty of what would come next. Some have been lucky enough to go straight back into work; like nothing has happened. However, make-up artists have seemly had the most setbacks when it comes to the new Covid-19 legislation.
Here at F Word, we wanted to provide a rich insight into what it has been like to be a make-up artist during this pandemic and to find out about our creatives lockdown experiences. This, along with asking for some predictions for the future of the industry, discovering how their day-to-day work has been affected during this unpredictable time, and discuss all things from their careers to their creative passions.
To accompany this, F Word set the task for these creatives to produce a visual representation- through any medium of their choice- that showcases themselves and their career over the past few months.
How has your creativity been affected during lockdown? Emilie Louizides: When I think back to when covid was really starting to make its way over to the UK, I realize how much my creativity has come and gone and thrived and suffered since. The last in- person shoot I worked on was in early March; it was a beauty story executed by a small team and we were doing it just for fun. I’m grateful that the last job I physically showed up for was such an artistic one; I believe it really helped to fuel my creativity over the following months when the UK was in full-on lockdown mode. During lockdown, I practiced tons of different makeup looks on myself, I joined Tik Tok kind of as a joke but then I made a few make-up videos and actually wound up having a lot of fun with it, I pulled out some of my old make-up coffee table books and flipped through them for the first time in years, and I was also doing a lot of collaging which made my overall creativity feel really well-rounded. In mid-May I experienced complete shock when my dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Life became something totally different and when I realized that my full focus would have to turn to working on my grief rather than my job it was as if my creativity died along with my dad. Three months have passed, and I feel my creativity slowly creeping back in. These are the first creative make-up looks I’ve done on my own face and aside from this I haven’t worn any other make-up at all. I’ve started collaging again and I’m looking forward to the future when I’ll be able to do my job the way I really want to, just as I did on that last beauty story right before lockdown.
What beauty trends do you think we will see going forward and any predictions for the beauty industry?
E.L: I’ve never been one to follow make-up trends or even know that they exist. I may have followed the curve before in my work, but I can promise that it would have been inadvertent or coincidental. I would think that trends are only exciting right at the start but once everyone jumps on board there probably isn’t anything interesting about them. It does depend on the kind of make-up you do as an artist; some seem more inclined to follow a set of rules, application techniques, or trends but my skills don’t lie in that area, and I also wasn’t trained that way. I work across four pretty diverse facets of the industry (celebrity, music, editorial and e-commerce) which keeps me in a routine of doing different makeup all the time. This might explain why I don’t have much of a knowledge of trends and what’s to come. However, as far as predictions for the beauty industry, I think black-owned beauty brands are beginning to receive the recognition they’ve always deserved but never gotten. We’re also finally starting to see more equal representation within brands that have always put white models at the forefront. I pride myself on the fact that 50% of my clients are people of color and I’m relieved that the industry seems to be catching up in how they showcase, celebrate and provide for professional models and normal people alike with darker skin. It’s disheartening that many brands seem to be asking for a pat on the back when they include people of color aside from their one token black model. These are the brands that shouldn’t be supported. Truly equal representation should just be a given. Brands shouldn’t receive a prize for creating darker foundation shades and including people of color in their campaigns just how police shouldn’t receive a prize for treating black people with human decency. Right now, I think the most important thing makeup artists can do is buy black.
Why did you become a make-up artist and how long have you been working as one? E.L: I moved to London almost six years ago to study make-up at London College of Fashion. It was there that I learned that make-up artistry is supported by so much culture, history and academia and that inspired me to delve further into the craft and ultimately make it my career. Since then, I’ve discovered that make-up artistry is also extremely intimate. My work begins with touching complete strangers faces, familiarizing myself with their bone structures and skin tones, fulfilling briefs and getting to know the people as I go. I believe my connection to each person results in the make-up being as strong as it can be, and this is the current reason why I am a make-up artist.
Have the last few months made you contemplate a career change, if yes what did you consider and if no, what have you done to adapt to the new restrictions? E.L: When lockdown went into effect, I chose to adapt to the new restrictions rather than resist them. I’ve invested a lot into my job and I really love it, so it was important that I found a new way to keep doing it. I decided to bring every aspect of my work into a virtual setting. At first, instead of showing up for in-person shoots (most of which were cancelled in the early stages anyway) I started teaching people how to do their make-up over FaceTime. It’s been a lot of fun and incredibly fulfilling. After a few months, when shoots began to resume, I started offering make-up direction. I do this by talking back and forth with clients about their briefs, coming up with make-up mood boards, and once the clients approve I teach the models how to do the make-up looks over FaceTime ahead of the shoots, and on the day of the shoots I’m available on FaceTime to talk the models through the looks again and keep an eye out for when they need to touch up. While virtual make-up has been more fun and successful than I anticipated I do miss the real thing and desperately want to get back to it but at the moment, working so physically close with people feels too risky. When I experience moments of doubt about my career and the way it’s going because of Covid-19 I do think about making a significant change. I’ve always been extremely drawn to animals. I grew up with lots of pets and my family and I would frequently visit farms. Just last year I visited a goat farm very soon after dozens had been born. It was a magical day; I felt so connected to the animals and also my parents who I shared the experience with. Since my dad has died and Covid has continued, I’ve daydreamed about starting a goat farm in my dad’s memory called ‘Gary’s Goats’. I would raise goats, milk them, make yogurt, cheese and ice cream and sell it. My sister also makes goat milk soap so I would love to have her be a part of it in that way. I think this would make me really happy, whether it turns into a reality this year or in forty years.
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