Behind every successful fashion shoot is a talented make up artist. They’re an essential part of every team. Lauren Alice is a British make up artist based just outside of London. The brains “The Azure Issue’s” “Blue Hue” editorial, we wanted to take some time to get to know Lauren better.
Tell us about yourself! Where did you grow up?
I grew up right on the border of Hampshire and Surrey, UK, in the middle of the countryside. It’s such a beautiful area and I consider myself so lucky to have spent my childhood running through fields and getting into trouble!
When did you first become interested in make up?
I think I’d always had an interest in makeup. My mum had worked on an Estée Lauder counter when she was very young. I grew up rummaging around her makeup bag looking at the beautiful packaging and colours. Then on a family trip to New York when I was 14 a man at a Mac counter gave me a makeover and taught me how to do my makeup. It was the first day and I spent all my money I had saved for the trip on products and brushes then recreated the look he’d shown me each morning. I can still remember to this day what I bought! There was this olive coloured eyeshadow which I have since repurchased for nostalgia!
How did you train to become a make up artist?
I trained with my now mentor Louise Constad who is an incredible artist whose work you will have probably seen but not known it. She runs short courses where I learnt the basics. I didn’t go to a traditional makeup school, I learnt more on the job and through assisting.
How did you get started on photoshoots?
When I finished my training I immediately started emailing people about testing. I trawled Twitter and Instagram looking for photographers whose work I liked, then I would email them and beg them to let me test. It was actually through Twitter that I met one of my best friends and now long-term collaborating buddy Saskia Lawson. We chatted online then met for coffee in our local town and arranged our first test which was actually a submission. We were clearly feeling ambitious, there was a dog and a scooter involved! She then introduced me to another long term collaborator and good friend Steve Read who I am lucky enough to work with regularly.
Who are your favourite make up artists?
There are so many incredible artist I adore. Maxine Leonard does skin that I want to weep over. I adore Lucia Pica and her use of muddier muted colours that she seems to make look like they are borne from the skin. Val Garland, just because she’s Val and I don’t think there’s a makeup artist on the planet who doesn’t love her. I also have a deep love for makeup artists who can make a woman look at her most incredibly beautiful. For me Dick Page and Hung Vanngo are the masters of this. They give girls and instant sex-appeal without masking them in makeup.
You’re represented by Mandy Coakley Represents. What steps did you take to become agency represented? Do you think it’s necessary for Make Up artist to get representation?
My agent is actually my mentor’s agent. She’s been with them for many years. So when I trained with her I automatically opened up a dialogue with Mandy. I constantly sent them new work and updated them on my progress. I feel like an agency has given me a lot more confidence in myself, I feel like I’m not so much on my own and I have someone to fight my corner. It’s very freeing not to have to do any of the admin side of my job any more. I can simply focus on being a good artist and meeting new people.
Where do you get the inspiration behind your looks?
I read magazines constantly. Every month I sit down and tear out things from magazines that I love and group them into trends which I then glue into a notebook. I feel like this keeps my work relevant and fresh. It also makes an interesting thing to look back on as years have gone by. I spend a lot of my free time online looking at makeup. I also have an embarrassing Pinterest addiction which gives me a library of looks based around different themes.
Have you got any funny stories you can tell us about being on photoshoots?
There are so many! But the one that sticks out in my head is a two day big toothpaste commercial I was on before Christmas last year. I was booked as a manicurist and knew the makeup and hair team really well. We ended up overrunning to the point where by the time I would have got home I could have maybe managed 3 hours sleep before having to get up again. In the end I booked myself, the makeup artist and her assistant into a local hotel, ran up to a 24 hour M&S, bought us pyjamas and clean underwear then we took toothbrushes from the props department and shampoo from the hairdresser. At the time it was so stressful and we were exhausted but the idea of us all in our oversized mens pj tops cracks me up!
Can you tell us about the make up you did on Millie for “Blue Hue” in The Azure Issue?
I spent a lot of time thinking about the word “Azure” and how that could translate into makeup. I found the idea of a sheer wash of colour and a cloudy appearance to the eyes really interesting and once I saw Millie’s face I knew it would be perfect. I searched high and low for something that would give me a sheer blue wash and landed on a mineralize eyeshadow from Mac. I’m very inspired by product and product technology and the finish this product gives is beautiful and second-skin like.
What advice would you give somebody just starting out in their make up career?
For me there are three important factors; Reading, Testing and Assisting. I feel like these days we are so used to Instagram and YouTube beauty trends and we have stopped consuming and looking at fashion makeup in magazines (print and online). Get an idea of the kind of work you like and who produces it. Read every magazine going and scrutinize as much as you can. Get to know what you don’t like as much as what you do like and figure out why.
Test as much as you possibly can without feeling like you need to push for submission. Some of my early tests are all about me learning technically what works and what doesn’t, it gave me the freedom to experiment without any pressure. I feel like the training I had was like passing my driving test, then doing test shoots taught me to drive. Testing is probably the most vital part of your development as an artist. I once read somewhere that the late, great Kevyn Aucoin tested every Friday, even at the height of his career.
Finally, assist. Not just for your technical development but also your professional development. Assisting taught me on set etiquette, how to look after a makeup in front of a camera and how to interact and have a dialogue with other creatives. I loved assisting and was lucky to have assisted some incredible artists who worked in various fields of makeup.
What aspirations do you have for your career?
I’m very private about my professional aspirations. Every year I sit and write a list of goals I want to achieve which I don’t think I’ve ever shared with anyone. They’re quite fluid and open to change but I feel like it keeps me on track. I think as long as I continue to push my book to develop as much as it can I will be happy. My own portfolio is how I measure my success and as long as that is the focus I think I’ll get to where I want to be!