She was bullied at school because of her acne. Wearing makeup was her escape. Makeup was her tool to ease her trauma. Now it is her skill for success – Naomi Louise has a celebrity clientele and a good reputation in the fitness industry with her signature stage makeup.
Where are you from and what you do?
I am a professional makeup artist from North London. My workload is completely varied from celebrities, bodybuilders, influencers, models, bridal and teaching 1-1 virtual online lessons to students worldwide, who cannot physically train with me in London. This gives them virtual access to my training and guidance.
My interest in makeup began in the early 90s when I was a kid. I was obsessed with my mum and nan’s lipsticks, I would draw all over my face and the carpet just to prove a point. Later I found an obsession with the dolly makeup kits, so I started drawing all over their faces, too. Clearly I thought I was artistic.
In my school days I was known as ” the makeup girl ” or ” cake face”. School was never for me – I knew from a young age that there was more to life than following orders from things that didn’t satisfy your heart. During lessons I would sit and start doing my makeup… big eyebrows were not really a thing back then, it was “the thinner the better eyebrows” era so I kept plucking my eyebrows and doing others’ makeup in class. Obviously my appearance was more important than the lesson.
From the age of 13-19 I suffered with severe cystic acne. Unfortunately I was bullied for years because of that. I tried to hide those hideous bumps as much as I could. Wearing makeup was my escape. It gave me the confidence to get up and leave the house in the morning!
Makeup changed and pretty much saved my life when I was going through difficult times at college and trying to figure out who I was. It allowed me to hide under a mask and feel free from trauma and bullying. I was 16 when I become more creative in applying my own makeup. I would experiment with different colors whilst watching my favorite youtubers, at the time was Pixiwoo. I followed along to their tutorials most evenings after college perfecting my own face as good as I could.
That is when I realized I wanted to learn how to do makeup on other people professionally and not just for myself.
What is your best inspiration?
The 1950s, my all time favorite era for makeup! I mean just look at how flawless Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot were. Big beautiful brows, large, plump lips and very rouge dewy cheeks. These are the styles of makeup I love seeing women rock today. I am all about radiant and glowing skin! One of my favorite makeup artists’ is Scott Barnes. He invented the iconic J-LO glow, a style that is still replicated and worn by women all over the world today! This style is not going out of fashion anytime soon.
What is your speciality?
After specializing in different aspects of makeup such as bridal, glamour and commercial I accidentally stumbled into the bodybuilding niche. It was never planned it just randomly happened. My cousin, Sarah, competed at her first bodybuilding show 5 years ago and hired me for the day to do her makeup for the competition. I had never done stage makeup before so I was completely out of my comfort zone, especially with the dark layers of tan I had to match her up to. At that particular show there was no hair and makeup team backstage – back then shows weren’t really commercialized. That day opened so many doors and my future as a successful makeup artist in the fitness industry. Even till this day in London and the UK, bodybuilding makeup is not entirely saturated with artists unlike many other niches such as bridal, freelance, glamour, editorial, TV, etc.
Makeup is bigger than ever these days, there are so many talented artists on social media. How to stand out? What it takes to be a professional MUA?
Makeup has completely blown up from 7 years ago when I first started doing it professionally! Social media is loaded with endless talent, which is a good thing, but for professionals looking to stand out in today’s world that can be severely challenging and it’s easy for people to get disheartened. My advice would be to narrow down your competitors. Get inspiration from what they are doing then think about how you could do that better. Maybe offer a different service or combine packages. Promote giveaways and show of something that others are not doing. For instance when I started to do stage makeup no other makeup artist in North London or Essex was working with bodybuilders and fitness models, therefore I saw that as a sign to push out content relating to this niche. I also offer Skype, facetime and zoom makeup lessons online, which again many others in my area (North London) or the bodybuilding field, do not offer!
Don’t be afraid of collaboration with models and influencers. Luckily when I started we did a lot of TFP (trade or time for prints – BWG note) instead of paid collaborations. In today’s world being an influencer or blogger is a full time job! Their time is money, so be aware you may have to pay a small fee for their time, which is completely understandable. No one wants to work for free but in the beginning collaborating with as many creatives as possible will put you on the map, so others know you exist! Otherwise hire a professional model or photographer influencer related to your niche of makeup to create clickbait content (content that encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page – BWG note) which makes people want to watch, work with and follow you.
There are incredible amount of makeup brands on the market. What is your favorite? How to chose the right makeup?
My two favorite brands on the market in 2020 are Hourglass Cosmetics, which is a cruelty free brand offering luxury products, and Milani Cosmetics.
The beauty industry itself can be pretty intimidating and overwhelming. New brands are surfacing in shops and the internet every day. Plus bloggers and influencers doing paid promotions for brand collaborations can be very misleading especially when lots of money is involved! How many of us have been subject to promo fraud from our favorite celebrities and influencers? We buy brands expecting to achieve the same results as them, ending up disappointed with the end results. Yes, I have been there myself. It sucks when your hard earned cash has been spent on crappy products. My advice would be to do your research on the brand your thinking about purchasing from, check reviews and feedback! Make sure if the brand is right for your skin type! So if you have oily skin, try and focus on oil free products. Some of my favorite oil free foundations are from Laura Mercier. These days I prefer clean / green beauty, very natural with no harmful ingredients. One of the most affordable, cruelty free brands I love is Pixi by Petra, The Ordinary and Milk Makeup.
What you like the most in your job?
I love being creative and working my magic on clients, seeing their faces at the end result is priceless! I love being able to travel to luxurious locations in the UK and overseas! I have been very fortunate to experience this and I am excited to see where my job takes me in the future.
What is the hardest in your job?
The hardest part is definitely the long and unsociable hours, not being able to spend time with loved ones as much as I would like to. I find the industry to be very cut throat and challenging at times, which is not always fair. People I have trained up, helped and even given a helping hand too will eventually throw you under the bus because they wanted the short cut without putting in the work. Regardless of how intense things can get, remember to hold your own, never stop showing off your work because someone else is intimidated by your success.
What your plans are for the future?
My plans for the future include lots of travelling for work! I may eventually relocate to somewhere overseas again but for now I am very busy in London. Also, my online lessons have been a huge success throughout lockdown. Eventually I would like to open up my own academy for worldwide students to come and train with me hands on.
Anything else you would talk about?
If you want to learn makeup for your own face shape or even for bodybuilding shows always hire a professional! A professional can assist you with any questions you have and recommend you the best products for your skin type, age and style. Also, the makeup artist can teach you all the techniques on your face – the MUA does half of your face and you replicate the other side. This will save you money in the long run and you won’t be buying unnecessary products because your favorite celebrity recommended it on a sponsored Instagram ad!
You can find Naomi on IG @naomilouisemakeup
One of Naomi’s clients – Aisleyne, British TV Star (IG @aisleyne1)