February 18th, 2015
Gemma Horner is a rising star of the Kryolan International Pro Team. Her tutelage from the likes of Jos Brands and Paul Merchant has seen her travel the world, creating diverse and accomplished make-up that often pushes the boundaries of convention. Warpaint chats to the lady herself as she prepares to take to our Live Stage at Professional Beauty this weekend as well as judging our Edit category in our Competition.
WP: If we can start at the beginning, when did you first realise you wanted to be a make-up artist? What was your earliest memory of make-up and where did you train?
GH: At a very young age I realised I wanted to be a make-up artist. My mum is a big inspiration for me, as when I was growing up she had already been in the Hair and Beauty Industry for over 20 years. She took me to a beauty show, where I saw a body paint. I was in awe of this art and from that moment on my passion for art progressed to where I am now. I trained for two years at South Essex College.
WP: Looking at your skills and body of work, you are a versatile artist – were you very artistic when you were young and was make-up your obvious choice of career?
GH: For me, there was no other option- make-up was my choice in career. I used to get told off a lot in school for carrying such a huge make-up bag. Yes I was incredibly artistic growing up, I enjoyed creating art and I think my Mum has a lot of impact on this as she is so involved in beauty – she is even a qualified tattooist.
WP: When did start to work with Kryolan UK? How did you progress through the company?
GH: I began working in the store in Covent Garden as work experience when I was 18. This then led to a full time position as Make-Up consultant on the shop floor. I was given the great opportunity to assist Jos Brands, the International Head of Make-up for Kryolan at IMATS on the mainstage in 2008. Jos Brands was impressed with my role in assisting him, he asked me to continue with this at Fashion Shows and Miss Universe 2009. These opportunities have led me to my current position now on the Kryolan International Pro team.
WP: What’s the best thing about working for Kryolan UK?
GH: The opportunities it has given me in all areas and aspects of make-up, and the knowledge it has given me in that I am able to play with products. It’s great to be a part of the Kryolan family- as they are a family owned business.
WP: You teach and take a lot of time working with colleges and students: how important is it for you to work with the newbies in the industry?
GH: It’s very satisfying to pass on my knowledge to the students, to give back to the industry what I gained. I enjoy teaching; as much as I inspire the students, I gain inspiration from them. In the make-up syllabus there is not always time to teach about the industry and profession itself in depth, so I enjoy being able to touch base on this to give them more of an insight into the world of a make-up artist.
WP: What’s the best thing about all the different types of make-up you do: bridal, fashion, editorial, TV and body painting?
GH: The best thing is the different type of people you meet, the locations and the ability to express myself in different ways through make-up. Having so much variety of work, I could never get bored or tired.
WP: What have been your favourite jobs? How was working on the X Factor Final for example?
GH: My absolute favourite job that I have done for the last four years is working at the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria on behalf of Kryolan. This has allowed me to produce some of my most creative work. I find everytime I go there I am blown away by the talent that is produced by bodypainters and what you find is that people are so willing to share their knowledge, rather than being afraid to share trade secrets. I would highly recommend artists to attend or compete at this show.
My career highlight has to be working on the X Factor, assisting head make-up artist of the show Julia Carta. It was great to experience the demands of live television, high definition make-up and working with celebrities on such a popular show.
WP: Who are your industry heroes? And your hero products?
GH: Lan Nguyen Grealis has to be an industry hero, her work is so unique and different where she isn’t restrained in her creativity or scared to use colours, textures and different approaches to techniques. Lan thinks of the whole concept down to every little detail not just the make-up which is something I admire. I like the story of Pixiwoo and how they have become such blogging sensations, sharing such relevant information from tutorials, to trends and expertise.
My hero products have to be the Dermacolor Camouflage Cream and the Kryolan Lipstains. The Dermacolor Camouflage Cream due to it’s versatility, camouflaging ability to cover tattoo’s, pigmentation or just a cosmetic concealer to conceal blemishes or dark circles under the eyes. I feel this product has a relevant use in all genres of make-up from TV to fashion. I not only have this product in my kit, but it is a most go to on the tired mornings for myself.
I love the range of Lipstain colours and the vibrancy of them. The lipstains provide a brilliant, matt velvety finish that stay on. My little pro tip for this lipstains is to apply the stain first then line the lips after to create that ombre effect. My personal favourite is Rock- a classic red.
WP: Tell us about the demos you’ll be doing at Professional Beauty.
GH: I will be showcasing the Dermacolor Range in a Cosmetic Camouflage Demonstration on Sunday at 3:30, using the Dermacolor Camouflaging system. Dermacolor is a highly pigmented range that is designed to give coverage to the skin discolorations including: Scars, Varicose Veins, Rosacea, Vitiligo, Under-Eye Circles, Thread Veins, Liver Spots, Birthmarks, Acne Scarring and even Tattoos.
On Monday at 11, the demonstration is how to achieve a girl’s dream make-up using inspiration from celebrity looks. This look will showcase the art of highlight and contour and how to create the perfect smokey eye in natural, warm tones and the fashion trend of an ombre lip.
WP: You are also the Head Judge for the Editorial category of the Warpaint Competition – the theme is City Chic and will encapsulate Power with Beauty What specifically will you be hoping to see in both the make-up and the mood board that the entrants will present to you?
GH: I will be looking for originality, the concept as a whole and the approach to the theme, to evidence the growth and progression of the idea. The use of products, techniques employed and overall impact of the make-up will all be judged.
WP: What advice can you give those thinking of entering the Warpaint competition? Why should they enter?
GH: Definitely you should go for it, in all honesty competitions are good preparation for the industry. The experience gained can show time constraints, coping under pressure and thinking of concepts of make-up suitable for a certain type of brief. Competitions are also a great opportunity to network, which is vital in this industry. By competing it is a stepping stone in releasing your work against your name; which a credit is what you strive to achieve in this industry.
WP: What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you first started out and what would you say to a young aspiring MUA now?
GH: When I very first started out as a make-up artist I lacked in confidence, I was supported to grow in self-belief and encouraged to not give up. My advice to new make-up artists would be that your dream is not going to come to you, you need to be prepared to put in the hours and hard work to reap the benefits. You will need to network, continue learning and every mistake you make look at it as a learning curve. It is so important that you understand your industry and follow artists; you can be inspired and even more importantly get the chance to assist.
WP: What do you have planned for 2015?
GH: 2015 will see me qualify in a degree to teach make-up to be able to award certified qualifications. I aim to pursue my make-up career this year with even greater goals and continue to work with Kryolan on great projects, to ultimately lead to the opening of my own make-up academy.