October 6th, 2015
When we got word of the new summery make-up range, Beautiful Bronze, launching from tanning brand Sunkissed, our pale selves were very excited! At the launch we were lucky enough to chat with the lovely Cinta Miller, the resident MUA for the brand. A couple of weeks later we sat down for a real chat to chart her journey to becoming the bronze goddess.
WP: What was it that first interested you in make-up? And how did you decide that you wanted to make a career of this?
CM: I’ve always loved everything to do with hair and make-up. I was a really creative child – I was always more interested in playing with paintbrushes over learning my ABC’s! I was academic too, but I was always more interested in being creative. My dad was an artist, so there were always paintings all around the house, and my sister was into illustration as well, so it’s always been something I wanted to follow in their footsteps, so to speak.
I remember I was ill and off school when I was about 12, and I went with my mum to the shop and she asked if there was anything I wanted. Back in those days it was magazines like Just Seventeen and things, and she bought me Looks magazine, which I’d never heard of before. It came with a VHS tape on ‘How to get Supermodel looks’, and there was a make-up artists called Charlie Green doing the make-up, and a man called Anthony Mascolo doing the hair. And I was just so wowed by both of them, and knew instantly that I wanted to be either Charlie Green or Anthony Mascolo. I watched it morning, noon and night, I’d practice all the hair and make-up styles on my friends, I’d steal my sister’s make-up – I was obsessed!
WP: Where did you do your training?
CM: My training came from my fashion interest and background – when I left school I went straight into the London College of Fashion where I did a course in Fashion Studies. In the course we had to do a little bit of make-up, and it really re-lit my passion for it. It’s kind of a funny story, but when I was a kid I ran into a lamppost and broke my nose. I was so young that they wouldn’t fix it, so as I grew up my nose grew a bit crooked. So when we did that little taster of make-up on the fashion course I learnt how to do things like contouring, but also things like prosthetics as well, aesthetics – how to manipulate a face. And that experience, being able to correct my own nose with make-up, made me want to become a make-up artist.
After I did my fashion course I went on to do an intensive six week course in make-up at LCF as well, and then went on to do another make-up course with TIGI – which was, funnily enough, owned by Pat and Anthony Mascolo. It was kind of like all my dreams come true! Like, that’s the man from my Looks magazine video!
WP: Obviously you’re great at doing hair as well – how important do you think it is for MUAs to have some hair skills, and vice versa?
CM: I think to be really in demand, from a career perspective, having skills in both of them is an absolute must. It’s never a bad thing to have extra strings on your bow! It makes your everyday working life that much more exciting and interesting too, because your work can be much more varied. You don’t need to learn about cutting, how to be a hairdresser, but I would do a styling course. It’s useful to just have a bit of background knowledge so you can be respectful of the hairstylist and their work if you’re there as the MUA, or even helpful to them.
WP: Do you have a preference of the two?
CM: No I really don’t, I love them both! I could happily do both forever.
WP: How did you get involved with Sunkissed and their make-up range? What are your favourite products from the range?
CM: I was actually approached by them after I did some work with Louis Smith for his calendar, and I was using their products on the shoot. Obviously his body is amazing anyway [laughs] but I did his men’s grooming on the shoot. They were already planning their Beautiful Bronze range and contouring is a big part of this so it seemed like a natural fit. It was easy to use, and it’s so affordable, so I was really happy to come on board.
I have to say I love the Sunkissed Giant Bronzer, which comes in two colourways, and in each one there are two shade which is really great. My next favourite is from the Beautiful Bronze range, and it’s the Glow Stick Highlighter – I absolutely love it, it’s so versatile and affordable. It’s great at catching the light, on tops of cheekbones, collarbones, even down the front of your shins if you’re on holiday.
WP: What about your hair kit? What are your hero products?
CM: I cannot be without with my Babyliss Pro Volare Hairdryer. It’s super light, it’s small, it’s powerful – I actually have two of them, one in my kit and one in my bedroom! They have a Ferrari-designed engine, it’s amazing. I love the Fudge Membrane Gas hairspray – it’s literally the strongest holding hairspray you can imagine! And the Fudge Ends serum; it’s an intensive conditioning treatment, like a leave-in condition but it’s not greasy. It just leaves things looking super polished, while doing lots of good to the person’s hair too. Their Push Up Blow Dry Spray is fantastic too. I have a lot of love for Fudge products cos they just smell amazing – so many clients want to know what I’m using!
WP: And the rest of your make-up kit? What do you always keep stocked?
CM: I love the Sunkissed Glow Stick Highlighter, as I said – and the Beautiful Bronze Perfect Primer as well actually! I absolutely love the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, I always have that with me – the coverage on it is incredible, and I love that I can make it really thick or sheer it out. For session work, I can’t live without it. Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist actually taught me a great trick when we worked together on some session work. He mixes the Sensual Skin Enhancer with a liquid highlighter to create the most incredible glow.
I like Ardell lashes – the Demi Whispies especially. And Neal’s Yard White Tea Facial Mist – it’s so good for the skin, and it’s organic. I love it. I’m really big on organic products, but I’m still yet to find a really great organic make-up range which is pigmented enough for photographic work and TV make-up. For day-to-day make-up I’ve found things, but not something strong enough for the work I do.
WP: Do you have any industry pet peeves?
CM: If I’m being honest, I’ve been really lucky in this industry. I haven’t been exposed to too much which would class as a pet peeve. Although… it does niggle me slightly, and it’s nothing really to do with the industry itself, but when people come along and they aren’t prepared to work hard for it. People come to me and want to know how I got to work with this person, or do that job, and the reality is that I’ve been working, and assisting, and running about in this industry since I was 14.
WP: Do you have a favourite job or project that you’ve worked on?
CM: Working with Sunkissed has been great – it’s my first time as a brand ambassador, and it’s a really multi-faceted approach rather than just being sponsored by them – this way I can really connect with the public and show them how to get the best out of the products. I’m doing interviews and tutorials and really engaging with the public, and I’m actually loving that.
I worked on the first series of Bodyshockers with Katie Piper as well. That was really interesting too because I had to create 30 very different looks for the show, a different one every day. You might think it was quite challenging work because of her burns, but her skin is actually great, and it was such a different approach to make-up. She’s such a lovely girl, and I could really sink my teeth into it because she was fun and loves make-up as well. It was also the first time I’d really had to deal with continuity, as I normally work on a static image, so that was fun and challenging.
WP: Would you say you have a signature look? Or do you like to experiment?
CM: I would say I have a signature look for myself, but on jobs I definitely like to experiment! I like to play with different colours and skin finishes and tones. I like to try and make skin look airbrushed without the photoshop. And I think you learn every day, there are no set rules here – I love using products which aren’t make-up too! Like feathers and spirit gum for colour or texture; sugar sprinkles which make amazing lip or nail textures; and lace, I absolutely love lace! I use it like a stencil, especially on eyelids. I like finding different fabrics and props that aren’t necessarily make-up.
WP: Do you have any tips for editorial or advertising shoots? What should MUAs be aware of?
CM: When it comes to editorial and TV, you really, really have to bear the lighting in mind! What you see with the naked eye and in a mirror isn’t what you see through the camera lens. If you want to specialise in this you should devote some time to really learn about lighting and cameras. Be aware of which products have light-reflecting properties and how to use them well.
I’d also say to do your best to perfect a red lip. It’s such a staple look that you’ll use over and over again. Find a great matte, pillarbox red with a touch of blue in it. Charlotte Tilbury does a great one – I apply with a brush, after liner, to make it as clean and neat as possible.
WP: Whose work inspires you?
CM: I will always, always, be a massive Anthony Mascolo fan. And Pat McGrath, she’s always going to be my favourite make-up artist. I actually get a lot of inspiration from designers and from photographic work, feeding back into my original interest in fashion. People who use lighting interestingly, or who play with textiles and fabric.
WP: What are you currently working towards? What is the next big box you’d like to check off on your career list?
CM: I’ve always thought I’d like to be the hair and make-up expert on something like This Morning! Although I’m not sure how great I am in front of a camera! Having done this ambassador work with Sunkissed I’ve discovered that I quite like talking and demo-ing!
I’d also like to work on a film at some point. To get someone ready for set, rather than the red carpet. I know I’d have to start from the bottom, to feel brand new again, but I’m totally excited by the idea of that. I’ve had a few talks in LA recently, so… watch this space!