I do think it is important to have knowledge of those who have gone before us and shaped our fashion and social culture. Enter Jerry Hall, circa 1975, who had IT, still has IT, and will have IT till the day she doesn’t. I can’t do her justice in five minutes. There will be lots about makeup history on the blog because it fascinates me and got me started in this crazy biz, but for now, be inspired by Jerry on New Year’s Eve, cos that girl was glamour all the way and I can guarantee she went to some great parties!
If I ever meet her I will have to quiz here on why she left Bryan Ferry for Mick Jagger. Come on Jerry! That’s madness. Which one looks better in a suit? We all know the answer to that xo
I call my Debbie Harry memory one of my makeup moments. I’ve had many more, as I am sure many of you have, and funnily enough, since I’ve been referring to them as that, I’ve found out that other people do too. Can you remember a moment or memory that has shaped how you feel about makeup, good or bad? Would love to hear about them.
Here’s some more that spring to mind:
Buying my first ever Chanel quad eyeshadow at duty-free even though I was a university student on a tight tight budget. The palette contained white, grey, pink and black matte shadows, tres chic, and saw me through more than a year of sophisticated studying, i.e., going down the pub with some books. I wore the shadows with a pink Chanel lipstick, which probably cost me a whole day’s wages from my part-time job, but I was looking gooooood haha. The look went better with my pink Converse then the oxblood Dr Martens and SWP pamphlets. I still have the compact.
Watching my mum apply lipstick; the faces she pulled to do so and copying her, much to her irritation; funnily enough I am quite sure I now make the same faces myself. There’s something about putting your eyeliner on that calls for a really monstrous facial expression! My mum wore a beautiful creamy beige Revlon lipstick. I wish they still made it.
Choosing my wedding makeup. A rite of passage in western culture that otherwise has very few ceremonial landmarks for women.
Being told by my very glamourous Auntie Cynthia, who was a huge inspiration to me in terms of her personal style: “never let them see you without it” and she never did, waking up earlier then her husband to make sure she “had her eyes on”. Not exactly how I live, but she was quite fabulous and I appreciate her ethic.
The reason I think these makeup moments are important is because they are significant and personaland may or may not point us in certain directions. I went through a period when I believed that using makeup and thinking about how we looked or wanted to look was a frivolous thing that didn’t matter and shouldn’t play a part in my life. I was becoming a feminist (I still am one) and had personal appearance tied up with gender inequality. It took a return from a six month journey through India to change my mindset about that, to see it for what it is; a means of enjoyment, adornment and even empowerment, that has existed in civilizations for eons, for both men and women. It represents us both physically and culturally, it is informed by where we are in our lives and where we are in the world, and that’s why it’s still around and we love it. It’s a way of reaching our femininity, and so let’s celebrate it. I think makeup is part of The Art of the Female.I think that makeup is a tool. So use it, whatever your reasons.
I went to a strict, but fantastic, girls school in suburban London. Makeup verboten! But try stopping teenage girls of the ’80’s from experimenting with makeup. Impossible. The mascara would go on on the way to school. And you’d be in trouble if any teacher noticed you wearing it. But everyone needs mascara, right? I still feel that way, it would be my desert island necessity (along with a an enormous pair of sunglasses and loads of sunscreen). I feel blessed to have grown up in a time in London when inspiration was incredible and all around me, and though makeup wasn’t in any way the most important thing about my life, it became a pretty great aspect of it as I grew up.
My real adventures in makeup started before my teenage years ….and I would have to say my first significant makeup moment was on a Thursday in 1979 when something quite amazing happened. Thursday was Top Of The Pops night, and you just couldn’t miss it, it was brilliant and most importantly, you had to know who was going to be Number One in the pop charts; this was something to really look forward to, believe me!
So on this Thursday night, a vibrant, unbelievably gorgeously urbane girl appeared on the screen. The incomparable Debbie Harry and Blondie. She was not perfect, but beautiful and so unlike any of those Hollywood stars because she appeared to be real, which meant her look was attainable, to me and my friends. She blew our minds. And led to my first cosmetics must-have. A red roller-ball lipgloss. Readers, I nicked it, not because that was my usual behaviour but because we didn’t have much money and I didn’t get pocket money, but I had to have that lipgloss. Do not try this at home. I got caught, which to this day I am grateful for, and into enormous trouble.
The lipgloss was not allowed at school or even at home but I did wear it secretly whilst dancing round my room to “Heart of Glass”. And so it began. Not the shoplifting, which I never tried again, but my love of makeup and all it could do.
It never entered my mind to become a makeup artist, in fact I wasn’t even aware of it as a job until a very historical event in 1981 (more on that later) and I thought “imagine doing that for a job. Must be nice.” It was never going to be for me, because I was destined for a life of academia and was definitely going to be a professional…something.
And now here I am! Painting faces (and sometimes bodies) for a living that is fun, artistic and often challenging, but on the whole it’s quite fantastic because making people beautiful is a wonderful thing.
Upon reflection, I think other people could have noticed that the signs were there early on. I had an older sister and a glamourous mum and would watch them doing their stuff…and then “borrow” things to paint myself in a similar vein! Once I painted green eyeshadow up to my eyebrows and thought it was very fabulous! Not really a good look while riding around on a bike.
I was a child of the BBC, and spent very many Saturdays watching black & white movies of the 1940’s and 50’s, in awe of those film stars of bygone years. The Queens of Hollywood: Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, then Bridgitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve. Mature, fantastic beauties. Wonderful stuff. Yep, I should have known.
The first time I was actually paid to do makeup was a revelation to me. So although I never expected or really even planned to become a makeup artist, I do come by it honestly, from a long line of women who took looking good seriously, for what is was worth in their lives at different times. These were not women who had much money, but were always well turned out and very stylish for their means.
I think they would have been happy for me. And though I may still become a professional “something” one day, you just never know, for now I am a makeup artist, making the world a more beautiful place, one face at a time.
Hello! To glossaholics and beauty beginners alike! I’m Wendy, a Brit pro-makeup artist with more than one passport and almost twenty years under my belt; that’s a lot of makeup and skincare. I have loads of info to share and questions to answer, so I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into my life in makeup.