Two and a half years ago, I created a magazine called Aura that focused on makeup artistry for my final project at uni. It included tips and advice for aspiring makeup artists, breaking into the industry, info on makeup products, trends, and featured interviews with photographers and makeup artists and showcased some of their work. Personally, I found the interviews the most interesting part, as I am always fascinated about people’s stories and their journeys to how they got to where they are today.
One of the makeup artists I interviewed was Edita Simutyte, who moved to London from Lithuania in 2010 to pursue a career in makeup. She has since been working in the fashion and beauty industries, but has a clear passion for bridal makeup. I would love to share this interview with you and hopefully you’ll find it as interesting as I did.
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Where are you from originally, and where are you based now?
I am originally from Lithuania, but have been living in London for nearly five years
How did you get into the makeup industry and how long have you been working as an MUA?
Make up was sort of accidental. Three years ago I decided to make a new turn in my life to become a make up artist. My mother owns a beauty salon back in Lithuania so make up and hair styling was something I could easily relate to since childhood.
Where did you study makeup artistry? What was that like?
I studied for a professional qualification at Academy Of Freelance Make up. I remember having a great time while studying. I met a bunch of very talented people, and learnt from professionals currently working in the industry.
What areas of makeup do you work in the most?
I mostly get to work with bridal clients over the summer and editorials, fashion throughout the year.
What is your favourite makeup look to do?
I love natural make up. Black lipstick never was my thing. I love contouring, highlighting, colour correcting and concealing. Achieving a dewy ‘no make up’ look that has been so popular on catwalks as well as fashion shoots for the past few years.
What would you say is the most important and fundamental makeup skill MUA’s should know?
I think every make up artist or anyone who wants to know the secret of looking great should look up colour correcting and concealing. These little techniques transform the face. We are all amazingly beautiful, just a random spot or a dark circle can ruin the whole image.
What do you love about being an MUA?
Being a MUA is the most enjoyable when working with brides. The fact that your work takes place on such a happy day and is appreciated instantly. Being a make up artist is great because you get to fulfil your creative side as well as learn so much about the industry and photography. And the people you get to meet, it feels like a boiling pool of artists and inventors. It’s a very exciting place to be.
What do you think is the toughest part about the job?
I think that the toughest part of the job usually is long hours of standing with your back bent. I am really tall so I have this joke about foldable high stool I should carry with me, as they are not always provided.
How do you get yourself recognised in the industry?
As any freelancer you need to work long and hard to get through. Usually for free while collaborating with other artists to get some really good work done. The only advice I could give to aspiring artists is pick who you work with carefully. Regardless of how good your make up skills are, if you work with a photographer who clearly has no clue about lighting, the pictures will be unusable. The final images depend on the photographer, so make sure you surround yourself with good ones.
What is it like to work backstage at a runway show?
Runway shows require a lot of preparation so hair and makeup usually starts quite early. It gets very hectic and in a way it reminds me of a conveyor belt. Fashion designers’ shows usually have around 15 models, meaning the same or a very similar look will have to be accurately replicated many times.
What is something many people don’t know about being a makeup artist?
It happens quite a lot that people ask why we charge so much or why we can’t do make up for free. The thing is that to build up a basic kit costs about £2,000 to start with. We need to have around 15-20 shades of foundation, concealers for all skin colours, powders, lipsticks, pencils, and brushes… The list is endless. Being a makeup artist requires an initial investment that not many people know about.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be a makeup artist?
I would advise them to watch YouTube makeup tutorials – everything is there. And also, to practice, practice, practice. Sign up to www.Modelmayhem.com where you can find photographers, models, and stylists to collaborate with and to do test shoots with to build up your portfolio. Have an idea of the standard you want to work at – an established makeup artist and photographer you admire. According to that image or vision for how you want your work to look, you can start to build your own portfolio.
What are the essential items in your makeup kit?
The essential products are very similar to an everyday makeup bag. Things like moisturiser, foundation, concealer, under eye corrector, mascara are the basics. I would add a palette – similar to what painters have – for cream based colours, like lipsticks, that I could apply as a rouge, eyeshadow and lipstick. Makeup is about being creative with what you’ve got.
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If you’d like to see the whole magazine, it’s on Issuu here.