January 20th, 2015
Anyone who has watched popular television for the last 20 years and has an interest in make-up will know Armand Beasley. A regular face on our screens, as a make-up and beauty expert, Armand is also the go-to man for many a British TV actress when she wants to look her best. Having been one of our Head Judges at the Warpaint Competitions for several years, Professional Beauty London this February will see Armand take to our Live Stage to compere a spectacular programme of demo’s and conversation. Warpaint caught up with Armand himself as he prepares to be Our Man in London to find out where his love of make-up came from.
WP: First can we get a little background: where did you train? What was your main motivation to become a make-up artist? What is your first memory of make-up and when did you realise that there’s a potential career in it?
AB: I started off as an actor, I had just come off tour and needed to earn some money whilst I was ‘resting’. I was walking through Manchester’s main department store Kendals and got talking to the counter manager of Clinique, within a week I had a job there and my journey began. The road to me becoming a make-up artist though, was very organic. It all began with an undercover reporter from Marie Claire reviewing me for an article on beauty consultants, I got 9 out of 10. That’s when I thought I may have a potential career here, so I worked for Clinique and YSL, lots of in house training later and I was offered National Make-up Artist for Givenchy.
WP: You first became a MUA back in the mid Nineties working for big make up houses, how has the prestige and commercial side of the make-up industry changed over the last 20 years? What are the big new innovations that will exciting us in 2015?
AB: It’s a very different arena now, with social media playing a huge part. Back in the Nineties and Noughties, the magazines were Gods and it was really important to try and do some editorial work to achieve credibility. Now it’s all about what’s happening on You Tube. But innovations still keep coming, just when you thought there was nothing new to find and right now I’m excited about the organic and natural arena. How it’s growing and exposing some of the harsh chemical compounds and their negative effects on the skin and body. I’m also a lover of the aesthetics of a product. There are some gorgeous launches ahead.
WP: It’s fair to say that your speciality is to make women look beautiful and you have a substantial body of work making up beautiful women for leading editorial titles. How did you begin to work with celebrities, and what is it, do you think, that has made you so successful in this area of your work?
AB: I love making a woman look and feel fantastic which is why I love doing inspirational makeover shows. But my first foray into celebrities was working with actress Tracy Shaw in 2000. At the time she was the biggest soap star and we had a lot of fun creating various looks for the red carpet. My list of celebs has grown now ranging from Goldie Hawn to Michelle Keegan.
WP: Why do you think they trust you so much?
AB: I guess it’s because I’m honest with them and can advise them on their total overall look. I’m a pretty calm person too and that is really essential in dealing with any outside stress factors that may present themselves on the day.
WP: Is there a celebrity you’d like to make up but haven’t yet and why?
AB: Probably Grace Jones or Angelina Jolie. Both have phenomenal bone structure and are really versatile with their looks. The potential would be incredible.
WP: In the last 20 years what has been your most rewarding and your most challenging of assignments?
AB: I loved doing the Oscars. Not only was I glamorising some gorgeous faces, I was reporting for GMTV so live link ups to Lorraine Kelly back in London was fun to do but challenging as it was a very long day, 5am until 3am. Also being the official make-up spokesman for BAFTA was great too. One of my most fascinating as there is so much protocol is to look after international royalty.
WP: What is it, do you think, that has kept you a ‘go-to’ expert for many shows advising women on looking the best they can?
AB: I trained with most of the major cosmetic companies, which is why I was approached to do a makeover on the regional Manchester news, Granada Reports. I also started answering questions from listeners on the radio. This lead to work on various satellite channels before national exposure with GMTV then international exposure with my own show called Fakeover. From what other people have said to me in the past, it’s my down to earth yet professional approach, it’s also about keeping up-to-date with new products and innovations.
WP: As a leading editorial make-up artist, who do you most admire in the industry? Also how important is it to nurture and encourage the newbies trying to get their first break?
AB: Fellow Northerner, Kabuki is pretty amazing as of course are Pat McGrath and Francesca Tolot. But encouraging the next generation is also so important. If I’m doing any big gig I will always take an Assistant so that they can get experience of that environment.
WP: We are immensely grateful here at Warpaint for the work you do with us on our competitions. As the competitions are part of the wider Professional Beauty Exhibitions, how important is make up to the wider beauty industry?
AB: Make-up is an incredibly important part of the beauty industry. More beauty salons are stocking make-up ranges so it’s vital that the therapists keep current with techniques and looks so that they can offer a truly first class experience for their client.
WP: Real Beauty is the category that you have headed up for the last couple of years, what do you enjoy most about this?
AB: I’m incredibly proud to be Head Judge for the Real Beauty section. I’ve got a great team too who are well respected in their field. The reason why I love this category is that it forces an artist to explore subtly in make-up and blending. You can’t be theatrical; you have to work at enhancing the individual’s beauty. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see what potential and talent is out there.
WP: This year at Professional Beauty, we will be hosting a 2 day programme of live demo’s which you will compere. What are you looking forward to most about bring make-up in all its various guises to the Show Floor?
AB: I think that it’s getting participation from the audience and challenging our abilities as well as learning from each other. You never stop learning.
WP: You will also take to the stage yourself, tell us about the thinking behind your topic of natural beauty and how have you selected the ranges you will talk about?
AB: A few years ago I decided to make a lifestyle choice and move to an organic, natural and mostly alkaline diet. It’s been a revelation. My concern about ingredients in skincare and make-up prompted me to explore about this area. So I will be focusing on some fabulous brands and products which can still create gorgeous looks but are kinder to your skin and environment. More of the general public are turning to an organic lifestyle so the demand is growing. I think that it will be a great subject for salon owners, beauty therapists and make-up artists to attend.
WP: The theme for London’s Real Beauty category this year is ‘Model as my Muse’ what will you be looking for from the competitors both in their choice of model and their mood board which they will present to you?
AB: Well first, it’s Real Beauty section so no professional models. I want the competitor to highlight and showcase the models features. Not only should we fall in love with the competitors work but we should fall in love with the model. The before shot should be a part of the mood board so it highlights the transformation. When it comes to a mood board think texture, fabric, colours, icons, fashion, nature, whatever can inspire you to create an original piece of work on your Muse.
For more information on Warpaint’s Competition and Live stage click here.