Inspiration and Beginnings
What has inspired you in the past year and what new experiences have shaped your career further?
I took the leap of going full time self-employed to give me the flexibility to host make-up classes and SFX workshops, plus work on 2 film productions as a casual MUA, while I was focusing on building my brand and maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle. I learnt that looking after my overall wellbeing was more important than pushing myself to work crazy hours. I've put in the hard yards getting to where I am today so my health and happiness was the most important thing to focus on. Health is wealth! I've learnt how to prevent burn out, have a balanced work/life balance and continue doing what I love.
Have you taken on any new challenges or projects related to your passion for films/special effects makeup?
Yes! I was offered a full time role on Jason Mamoa's TV show Chief Of War end of last year, hired to do prosthetic make-up, fake wounds/scar, tattoo cover & application, head to toe body tans, hair/wigs and make-up. This job began in January and just finished up end of June. I created my best work on this show! I cannot speak much about it but as an artist I have grown so much.
How has your career journey been over the past year and are there any significant milestones you have achieved?
In the past year I'ved worked on 3 amazing productions including a casual role on Our Flag Means Death with Taika Waititi. I got the privilege of meeting him which was wild! I then got offered an opportunity to do Rita Ora's (his wife) prosthetic make-up for a music video he was directing for her. Honestly a dream come true! I am a massive fan of her music and having that opportunity to do her make-up was a huge career highlight for me. I was shaking with nerves!
Another milestone was working on the new apple tv show Chief Of War season 1 as a full time make-up and prosthetics artist. For the first time in my career I was given a handful of lead actors to look after everyday. It was a promotion I've been working so hard towards. I am usually in the Background extras team looking after the stunt performers. I moved up to the main lead team and loved every moment. This job started in January and recently just finished at the end of June, was the best film job I've ever had. Working closely with Jason Mamoa was a crazy time as he was the main actor, writer and producer of the show. I learnt so much on this job and gained so much new skills and knowledge. I was challenged daily and was put under so much pressure, in turn the growth I gained as an artist and a person was monumental. Very grateful! Bring on season 2!
Have you been working on any new competitions, collaborations or projects since our last interview?
I've been collaborating with photographers recently creating make-up looks on myself or others to build my portfolio and upskill. My friend Fiona who owns Sole Wig Works and I have been collaborating alot to help push both our businesses. She sells the most incredible wigs and onset equipment, so we've joined our skills together to create content.
Day in the life:
What does your typical working week as a full time freelance makeup artist and SFX tutor look like?
If I'm not working on a production full time and solely freelancing, a typical week looks like this: Monday to Friday are usually admin days, late afternoon beauty clients, one-on-one lessons in my home studio, content creating, collaborations or the odd day or 2 onset working as a hair & make-up artist or teaching a workshop at a tertiary school. Saturdays are usually booked with beauty clients, balls/weddings, special occasion make-up and face painting events. Sundays are for rest and recovery!
What have you learnt or experienced since hosting classes and events - and how do you balance it all?!
Hosting a class is ALOT OF WORK! But honestly the most rewarding feeling after teaching a class of eager students. Last year I worked hard getting my 'Make-Up & Wine Night' event off the ground, hosting this class every 2-3 weeks. This class mainly taught people how to do their own make-up, watching me demonstrate each step on a model, while they sipped on wine and ate delicious snacks. This class was quite successful selling out each time with 12-20 attendees per class. Although I loved hosting these classes, it was a lot of work promoting this class, setting up, organising sponsors and goodie bags, and so on. I could only host these classes if I was not busy on a film set. Too much work and energy if I worked all week on set then hosted a class. I mean I've definitely done it but I was wrecked by the end of the week.
How has your work on ‘Rings of Power’ TV Show impacted your career and do you think you’d do something like that again?
I made incredible connections and life long friends on Rings Of Power. It was the most challenging and difficult job I've ever had (and answering the second part to this question, if it was the same management and pay, I wouldn't do this show again). The film industry in small in NZ, so now I jump from job to job working with the same crew. I love it! It's like working with a family and each day we all motivate and push each other to do the best we possibly can.
Are there any other memorable projects that you’ve worked on and what’s made them stand out?
Our Flag Mens Death season 2: Meeting and working with Taika Waititi & Rita Ora, creating some epic make-ups and gory prosthetics, and having such a fun time on this set!
The Convert - A Lee Tamahori film: Felt grateful to be involved in a film sharing my culture and the story of the first Maori & European marriage. Great team and awesome cultural make-ups.
Chief Of War: Promotion to lead make-up artist, working closely with A-List celebrities, learning from industry greats from LA, making the best connections and friends, & lastly producing my best work to date!
BeautyNation Festival: I was asked to create a head to toe creative make-up plus jump on stage for 45 mins hosting a masterclass! First beauty festival event in NZ and was super grateful to be apart of it.
Special FX Tips and Advice
Have you got any new tips and advice for aspiring makeup artists, and those who might be finishing their studies?
Build your portfolio and kit as soon you finish your studies! Collab with other artists (so you can learn off each other and upskill), photographers to take amazing photos of your work and try work with models or dancers who can truly bring your work to life. I worked on a makeup counter as soon as I finished studies. This was so beneficial as I built up my kit, I learnt people skills fast, also product and tool knowledge. Another important tip for this day and age, is social media! Start posting your work regularly to get your name out there, you showcase that you're producing, practicing and eager to get work. By posting your work you attract brands and people that would like to work with you. Social media is your online portfolio and as an artist, it's the best way to showcase yourself and attract work!
What are three things you would recommend to try out as a recent graduate?
Work on a counter, create all types of make-up looks to build your portfolio and collaborate with other creatives!
The best and most challenging aspects of the job
A year on, what are the best things about being a makeup artist, and how has your perspective on this evolved?
As a TV/Film MUA, I had the privilege of getting my actor/actress into character each morning. I helped calm their nerves and transform them into their characters. It's such a honour to be the one who helps the actor feel ready and confident to get through each scene. It's a incredibly rewarding feeling. On the other hand when I do beauty make-up on clients the feeling of making them feel more beautiful and comfortable in their own skin is such a great feeling. Love their reaction when they see their glammed face!
Have you faced any new challenges in your freelance career in the last year?
Right now due to the writers and actors strikes happening in America, there is no work. Every job I had lined up has been pushed to a later date. Also winter is a very quiet period for any and all make-up bookings.
Keys to success
How has your persistence, work ethic and passion changed in the last year?
Learning how to truly balance work and life has been great! Every day I woke up ready to smash the day. I was so excited and grateful to get up early (all of May my wake-up call was 2am) even though I was exhausted I was filled with so much energy and passion! I get paid for what I do? I get paid to work on an epic film set, working alongside insanely talented people, under allot of pressure and opportunity to grow as an artist? Living the dream! I didn't let the stress and film politics get me to, I worked hard, head down and got the job done! With ofcouse a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm. I made sure my first and last impressions on the job was at a high standard. Very important!
Advice for aspiring makeup artists:
Do you have any fresh advice for high school graduates looking at doing a makeup qualification?
If you think you'll love doing make-up each day, work damn hard to grow as an artist, be open to learn and take on advice, then definitely do a 1 year course. 1 year is enough as you learn the most on the job. You need an easy going nature and drive to go far as an artist. Getting hired as an artist here are the things we look for: PASSION, ENTHUSIASM, WILLINGNESS TO LEARN, EASY GOING NATURE TO WORK WITH & INITIATIVE.
How are you using social media and collaboration opportunities to build your brand and clientele?
Constantly posting all types of contents, tagging brand products I've used, collaborating with other kiwi businesses, photographers and models! Using friends as models if need be to upskill and post content I need to showcase. Working with PR companies is super valuable too.
What are 3 social media pieces of advice for new artists?
Post short reels of your makeup look, behind the scenes or a day in the life of a MUA, post stills or videos 2-3 times a week (every second day is better!) & be consistent! I post stories everyday to show I'm busy building my brand and myself, and posts of recent work, collabs etc to my main feed.