January 22nd, 2014
At Warpaint, we’re lucky enough to talk to some of the best artists in the business. But we’re also on the lookout for enterprising new talent, which is why we launched the Warpaint Scholar competition, in association with The Session School. After some amazing entries, a winner was finally chosen – Christina V, whose talents have already taken her behind the scenes at London Fashion Week. We caught up with her to talk about her winning look and her creative drive which sees her both in front of, and behind, the camera.
Christina’s route into the industry was not straightforward, despite her creativity and love of make-up and fashion from a young age. “I was advised to study the sciences at University,” she reveals, “but after I became seriously ill and had to leave, I decided to then follow my dreams and pursue something that I was not only passionate about, but something which also suited my lifestyle… that was the start of my make-up and modelling journey!”
Modelling came first for Christina, which led to an association with the DFMA Make-Up Academy in her hometown of Bournemouth. Initially working as a model for the Academy, she then went on to indulge in some training of her own, and her journey to becoming a professional MUA began. She also draws on her training at the London College of Fashion in her work, where she studied the history of fashion and contemporary fashion. “It has really given me a great perspective on styles and trends throughout the times, which I now incorporate into my make-up work. And at the DFMA I studied fashion make-up, which was brilliant as I learnt so many tips and tricks of the trade.”
While this choice to acquire some qualifications marked her commitment to her chosen career, she recalls that her love for make-up had led her to become highly proficient even through self-teaching and practice. “As a child, I enjoyed playing with my mum’s make-up… and I remember being so happy at the age of 10 when I first taught myself how to apply lipstick! My skills developed throughout my teenage years, especially in applying concealer and foundation, but it wasn’t until my boyfriend Dan encouraged me to take my passion and flair for my make-up to the next level that I then decided to become officially qualified as a make-up artist at the DFMA.”
It can be difficult to land your first big job when newly qualified, but Christina’s jumped ahead unusually fast, highly telling of her talent. “My first big make-up job was actually at London Fashion Week last September,” she admits. “I got the opportunity through my modelling contacts. It was the most incredible experience, and I am very thankful to the head make-up artist of the team I was working with for seeing my potential and believing in me!” Even with this excellent start to her career, she knows that starting out and establishing a name for herself is something that will not happen overnight. “As with anything, it can be difficult, but as long as you keep persevering, keep positive, and always show how passionate you are about what you do, opportunities will present themselves,” she asserts.
With the internet full of beauty bloggers and vloggers, as well as other competing MUAs, we were interested to know how technology factors into the rise of a new artist. Does this technological environment, so commonplace in our lives now, help or hinder progress? “Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have really helped me to showcase my make-up and modelling work to a wider audience, and I think as long as social media is used appropriately and wisely, it can be a great help,” Christina affirms. “I’ve even got jobs through Twitter! [Resources such as] Warpaint Magazine, as well as the vast amount of blogs and images which can now be accessed online are brilliant tools as they provide great inspiration and ideas for my own work!”
When asked about her MUA idol, she replied without hesitation to state that “Davinia Perrin [founder of the DFMA Make-up Academy] is my MUA idol, as she has not only had a successful career herself, working with the likes of magazines including Vogue and Tatler, TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing, and celebrities such as Daniel Craig, but she also saw my potential as both a model and make-up artist. Since then she has given me so much encouragement, support and guidance, as she does to many others who have trained with the DFMA too.” Speaking of idols, her excitement at winning the coveted prize of a free place on a course at The Session School reveals another. “I’m also looking forward to meeting Dani Guinsberg. She has an amazing list of make-up credits to her name, and I am sure she will also have some brilliant advice to share!”
While on the topic, we asked her to break down her winning look for the Warpaint Scholar competition, a striking look involving traditional, classic colours and a touch of seasonal sparkle, all modelled on her most familiar and useful canvas – herself. Using a mixture of professional and high-street products, Christina’s combinations are proof that a hefty price-tag is not always required to achieve fantastic results.
“After first creating a flawless complexion by highlighting and contouring my skin with Max Factor and L’Oréal concealers, foundation, powders, and blusher, I set about creating the look for my eyes. I used red, green and gold eyeshadows from my Sleek and Crownbrush palettes to give the bright and vibrant colours, also blending in a touch of dark grey/black in the sockets to accentuate my eyes. I highlighted under the brow and under my eyes too with my Kryolan Supracolour palette to give my look that extra sparkle, even adding a hint of silver there too. I then used Avon’s SuperShock gel eyeliner pencil to give my eyes that extra and essential definition, along with several coats of black waterproof mascara. For my lips, I wore Rimmel’s gorgeous bright red Scream lipstick, and then also added a touch of gold from my Kryolan palette in the centre of my bottom lip for that little bit of shimmer. Red and gold glittery nails completed my look!”
Effective make-up products aside, Christina – as a model herself – knows exactly how important it is to care about what is underneath. “First and foremost, I recommend a great skincare regime as after all an artist always needs a good canvas on which to work. And, of course, a make-up artist always needs good quality make-up brushes; at the moment I use Royal & Langnickel along with Nanshy brushes, but I’m looking to expand my ever growing collection!”
Christina’s future is undoubtedly looking very bright, and she is determined to keep pushing ahead and bettering herself. Her excitement for her Advanced Make-up course at The Session School, as well as photo shoots and other make-up and modelling opportunities and competitions already pencilled in for 2014 is clear. “I’m hoping to work at London Fashion Week again this year, which would be an amazing experience again,” she enthuses. “I’m also excited about expanding my make-up work more locally, for weddings and other special occasions. I have a very busy year ahead.”
With her dreams in sight – working backstage on a production like Strictly Come Dancing, as well as her ultimate dream “to be on the cover of a major magazine such as Vogue as both the model and make-up artist for the shoot!” – Christina has everything going for her: the skills, the education, and most importantly a fantastic mentality and ethos, which she applies to every face she creates.
“Some of the best advice I have received is to always be true to yourself. Always keep trying – practise, practise, practise – and to remember to be respectful of others. Most importantly, although fashion and art should be used as inspiration when creating a look, first and foremost make-up should always be applied to suit one’s features and to make one look their absolute best!”