Emily Tallman – Fashion Wedding Make-up Artist Interview
Fashion wedding and runway makeup artist Emily Tallman’s passion for makeup, photography, art history, literature, and creative writing makes this makeup artist interview an extremely informative, eloquent and overall great read!
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: I love approaching a clean, fresh face and seeing all the possibilities. It’s very exciting to me to transform people, and to see how the transformation affects them. This could be the transformation from a woman into a beautiful bride or an actor into a scary character, or a man into a drag queen. I love helping to create these transformations.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self taught makeup artist?
A: I am a California-based makeup artist with over 12 years of experience. I am mostly a self taught makeup artist, but I originally trained with professional makeup artist Gilbert Soliz, who is now a national artist for Sephora.
I learned most of my technique from him, but I have also been trained by MAC Cosmetics and Chanel Cosmetics, during my years of working at the counter and as a freelance artist for those companies.
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: It depends on what area of the field you are interested in. If you want to to waxing, permanent makeup, eyelash tinting, etc. you need to go to school and get a license. If you just want to do makeup artistry (as I do), than school is not necessary; you can get the training you need through hands-on experience and by being an apprentice to other artists.
Most famous makeup artists in Hollywood–including my idol, the late Kevyn Aucoin–were self-taught.
Q: Did you always wanted to be an artist, or did you stumble upon your talent by chance? Who or what inspired you to become a makeup artist?
A: I have been interested in makeup since I was a toddler, and started working in makeup at age 16. I have a great love for all forms of art, and makeup artistry is just one of those manifestations. I have studied photography, art history, literature, and creative writing, to mane a few subjects; and I think all of this knowledge influences my makeup work and ideas. Although I have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and also work as a college English instructor, I will always work as a makeup artist as well.
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: Probably the assumptions that people make. When women find out that I’m a makeup artist, the sometimes say things like, “Oh, you’re probably critiquing my makeup right now and noticing how bad my skin is!” Just because I do makeup doesn’t mean I think all women should wear full makeup all the time!
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” how do you define beauty?
A: Beauty is a hard thing to define. I suppose my approach to “beauty” is to see the beauty that is already there in every woman and to use the makeup to accentuate it and bring it out. I don’t think makeup should necessarily be used to create a whole new face (unless I’m doing special effects. . .), but it should be to call attention to what is already there.
Q: What individual products and brands you’re “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: I use MAC color products and Chanel skincare almost exclusively. I also really love Chanel’s Double Perfection Powder Foundation, because it looks absolutely flawless and it photographs well. Another product I use often is the Skin Beauty Repair Serum by Clarins, which is wonderful for treating sensitive skin, dry skin, or dried-out over-medicated blemishes before applying makeup.
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Moisturize! Moisturizer (with sunscreen) should be applied every single day, along with eye cream. Dehydrated skin not only shows fine lines faster but it is also not a good surface for applying makeup. If your skin isn’t nice and hydrated your makeup is just not going to look good! Also, drinking lots of water and avoiding smoking are definitely two things you can do to visibly improve your skin.
Q: What is the biggest skin care dont’s?
A: Don’t smoke, don’t go into the sun unprotected, and DON’T pick at yourface.
Q: Have you had an extreme, crazy or bad experience with a skin care product or during a makeup session? If so, what happened?
A: I have encountered many different situations, but one that sticks out in my mind was the time I was preparing a bride’s face for makeup with a toner and she had an allergic reaction. Her face turned red and irritated. Fortunately I had a secret weapon and I knew what to do: I used Chanel’s Calming Emulsion on a cotton ball and swiped it over her face. This product contains almond extract, which helps calm and soothe irritated skin. The redness went away in a few minutes and I was able to continue with her bridal makeup successfully.
Q: What do you find to be the most common mistakes women make with makeup? What’s the worst thing a woman can do to her skin?
A: I think the most common makeup mistake women make is simply wearing too much. Hiding your face behind too much makeup will make you look like you’re wearing a fake mask; well-applied makeup accentuates your features without looking like a mannequin. Another mistake is wearing face makeup that is too dark or too light, so that there is a visible line at the jaw. I see this mistake all the time, and it’s easy to correct: be sure to match your face makeup to the color of your neck.
DON’T use your face makeup to try to look more tan or more pale; if your head doesn’t match your body your face makeup will look fake. As for the worst thing a woman can do to her skin, I would probably have too say too much plastic surgery, because that is something that no amount of makeup can fix.
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup / skin care industry right now?
A: The best trends are green products, and the fact that many companies are becoming more environmentally conscious. There are so many great organic products out there right now! And the fact that many companies are using recycled/recyclable packaging is also a great trend. As for worst trends, I think I would have to say skincare with too many harsh anti-acne or anti-aging ingredients. Women are being tricked into trying a variety of skincare products touted as “the next big thing”, and many of these women are having allergic reactions and other skin problems as a result.
Q: Do teenage girls needs to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: This is a tricky question, because makeup is not just divided into “high-priced” and “drugstore”. I believe the important thing to look for in cosmetics, for any age, is the quality of ingredients. And it’s possible to find reasonably priced products with high quality ingredients in the drugstore as well as the department store.
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
A: I know everyone says “eyes” when I ask them what they’d like me to accentuate on them, but I would have to say skin. I love to make a person’s skin appear glowing and flawless, because then it makes the rest of the makeup look even better.
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: Hydrated skin, a good makeup primer (like MAC Prep & Prime for face), a thin layer of foundation that matches your skin perfectly (powder foundation for oily skin, liquid or creme for dry skin), and a good setting powder with a luminous quality to it (like MAC Mineralize powder). Also, concealer (used sparingly) can be applied under your powder to cover any imperfections. I prefer MAC Select Cover Concealer for oily skin, or MAC Studio Finish Concealer for dry skin.
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: There are two quick and easy ways to do this: either add a brighter (or darker) color to your lips, OR add more color (like a smoky liner) to your eyes. If you attempt to do both you may look overdone, so just to really play up one feature if you’re in a hurry.
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: Well, for one thing, models ARE “real women”. When they arrive with no makeup they have just as many blemishes, under-eye circles and fine lines as everyone else. The difference is the occasion. Models that will be posing for a photo shoot or walking down the runway usually need to wear more makeup and brighter colors. This is because the makeup needs to “read” from far away, and has to be able to show up and appear flawless in photos.
However, if you look at their makeup in natural light it probably looks unnatural and very heavy. Women who are doing makeup for everyday use don’t need to have it piled it on, and it also needs to stay looking natural in different lights. A bride, for example, needs to look good in the photos as well as up-close and in person. The occasion and the circumstances are what affect the differences in application.
Q: In terms of eyeliner, if you had to choose between a pencil, liquid, or creme/gel based, which one would you choose? Why?
A: Well, I use all forms of liner depending on the situation, but if I have to choose just one I would probably use a pencil because it is versatile and can be used to create a smooth line or smudged for a smoky effect.
Q: Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
A: Again, it depends on the situation. Lip gloss is best for a sheer and natural look, while lipstick is better for long-lasting bold color. I tend to use a combination on both to create a variety of looks.
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: I am not experienced or trained in permanent (or semi-permanent) makeup, but over the years I have certainly seen a lot of bad work. If a client is considering this as an option I would advise them to be certain they want a specific look before going permanent. Also, be sure to go to a reputable professional whose work you have seen. Otherwise, you could end up with crooked, miscolored eyebrows or worse.
Q: What brand/type of concealer is your favorite for covering up the after effects of a late night out i.e. under-eye circles, blemishes?
A: MAC Select Cover concealer is great for this because it’s not too heavy. For under the eyes I’d suggest using a bit of MAC Fast Response Eye Cream to reduce puffiness and help the concealer to go on smoothly.
Q: How about airbrush spray makeup trend? Are these products better or easier to use than standard sponge or finger application? If yes when would you recommend using them?
A: I am not trained in airbrush makeup, but I have seen some good airbrush work recently. For me, it is easier to control the amount of makeup and to blend & apply the colors precisely with brushes and my fingers.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: My clients are usually very loyal and continue to work with me for years. They tend to trust my judgment after seeing my work, and often want me to repeat looks I’ve done on them in the past. As for individual testimonials, I know I have made more than one client literally cry because they were so happy with how they looked. That always makes me feel like I’m doing something helpful and rewarding.
Q: Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
A: My goals are to continue doing makeup and finding new clients as much as I can, and to keep up with what’s new in the industry. I am up for anything, and am prepared to do makeup for any occasion and any face.
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Get as much hands-on experience as you can, with as many different skin types/cultural backgrounds/occasions as you can. Being versatile will take you a long way in this industry. And don’t be afraid to try new things! Experiment on yourself, your friends, your family, and anyone who you can get to sit still. The more makeup you do, the better artist you’ll be.
Visit Emily’s MySpace profile.