Donna Marie Griffey of Manchaster UK – Make-up Artist Interview
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: Having the capability to surprise and delight the client when the work is complete.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self taught makeup artist?
A: A little self-taught, and trained at London School of Beauty & Make-up and Straight Curve Film & TV Training Centre in London. I’ll also be training more at Delamar Academy in the Autumn/Fall. Always good to train up!
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: Yes and no. I think it’s important to train so you can learn techniques and all about products and materials as they change and update all the time now, and having that knowledge I think technically makes you better. Plus, you learn from tutors who already work in the industry. On the other side,you can’t do the job with imagination and some kind of creativity, and I think that is something that going to makeup school can’t give you.
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: Yes I always wanted to be an artist or do artistic things. As a child I was always ‘making’ and painting and drawing. I loved studying music and drama and writing at school too. I practised as an artist for many years before deciding to change route and work in make-up as an art form.
It was an American artist called Cindy Sherman who first inspired me to think about changing somebody’s appearance through make-up and costume. I discovered her work when I first went to university. Since then I have become a big fan of artists like Eve Pearl, Bobbi Brown, Pat McGrath, Rick Baker, Howard Berger, Ve Neill. All marvellous at what they do.
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: Many things! Like the bad habits some people have with their makeup, The hours spent daily on a film set (varied from 12-20 in my case!), the competition and sometimes the bitchiness in the industry, and the growing costs of make-up products (always a pain in the pocket!).
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” how do you define beauty?
A: Classic beauty for me would be epitomised in women such as Audrey Hepburn. Elegant, uncomplicated, simple feminine beauty.
Q: What individual products and brands you’re “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: My all time favourite brand is Bobbi Brown – the best in my opinion. I also really like MAC, Max Factor, Aveda, Eve Pearl ‘CosmeNutrients’, Sleek (UK brand), L’Oreal, Lancome, Bourjois, Rimmel London, Revlon. I use many of these brands on a daily basis. At the moment, I really like L’Oreal’s ‘True Match’ Mineral Powder make-up – it gives a lovely, flawless clear finish and you don’t even need to apply foundation under it, it’s that good! :)
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise – the 3 holy commandments of skin care. Exfoliate well at least once a week, and use a good eye cream every night, starting in your late twenties onwards.
Q: What is the biggest skin care dont’s?
A: Never use soap on your face. And don’t pick at things on your face. We’ve all done it!
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: Yes – I had one client who had a phobia about cotton wool! A bit tricky as us MUA’s tend to use it a lot for hygiene reasons! Mascara and eye liner tend to cause the most problems, so I think its important to ascertain what eye products are suitable for the client first before using. But just in case, have some hypoallergenic black mascara in your kit just in case its needed.
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: Not knowing how to match or compliment colours is very common. Also, foundation matching and application – most women get this wrong and to a trained eye, the wrong foundation stands out like a mile in my opinion.
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup / skin care industry right now?
A: I think one of the good trends right now are the multipurpose products that are coming out in ranges, like I really love Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge, because its for cheeks and lips – really lovely. These products really help a MUA in terms of time and costs too. What gets me down is how confusing some skin care ranges and products can be. There are thousands out there, and I only wish the information could be more simple and straight to the point. It shouldn’t take two and a half hours just to buy a moisturizer should it?
Q: Do teenage girls needs to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: No they don’t. Their skin doesn’t need high priced makeup products. Drugstore and High Street are fine. Advertising to the teenage market has a lot to answer for. Why would a 16 year old want to spend £30-£40 on a foundation? Not necessary! High priced does not necessarily mean the best – that goes for any age.
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
A: Has to be eyes and lips! Although I like to apply camouflage techniques to a face if I think it will enhance it (like narrowing a wide nose). I use Eve Pearl’s methods for that.
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: Ensure skin is well cleansed and moisturised. When applying foundation, make sure the blending is impeccable. Blending is the key for flawless finishes. And finish with a translucent or invisible, light reflecting powder. I don’t like to use powders that can appear too ‘cakey’.
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: To change day to night in minutes, is all about changing the eyes or lips. And not usually both. Night time eye colours should be more dramatic than muted day colours. And the shape of the eyes should be emphasized. Lips should be coloured bit not dramatically. On the other hand, lips can be emphasised with liner and a bold colour for evening, and the eye makeup simply neated up with another coat of mascara.
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: Models are used to makeup application so instinctively know how makeup is applied and what works for them. Clients (real women) on the other hand need consultation and explanation, as well as positive comments throughout the makeup treatment.
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: I would probably choose creme or gel – great colours, very versatile and long lasting, can be subtle or dramatic. Gel liner can be soft or layered to add emphasis.
Q: Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
A: That’s a tricky one. I think I’d go for lipstick. It can change a face instantly. It adds colour to the face and can brighten up the smile.
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: I’d encourage any client to try semi-permanent first if they are seriously considering having permanent makeup done – as its like a trial run and does wear out after a couple of months. I’ve seen permanent makeup look awful after a few months, like eyebrows turning bluish grey. I’d advise a lot of research into permanent makeup before even thinking of having any done.
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: Concealers I use the most are Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer (they are the very best for under eyes and dark circles). I also love MUFE Lift Concealers – which conceal and brighten simultaneously. I use YSL Touche Eclat for highlighting too.
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 think airbrush makeup has come into its own now, with the needs of HD Film and TV, but there are so many good HD makeup ranges out there now (like Make Up For Ever) so its just as possible to get the same and if not sometimes better results with standard makeup application.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: I’ve had some truly wonderful comments. I have a page on my website with my portfolio on, that has some testimonials – please feel free to look!
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 future goals are to work in film makeup and special effects – I want to do both purely because I love them equally. I don’t have a motto per se but I always say embrace change, try your best and love what you do in life. So important. To get by in this industry, I think its always good to remind yourself: be professional, be polite, be punctual, strive to be the best, keep on learning, be brave and take many challenges, love your job, be prepared for knock backs, criticism and competition, not everyone likes you, don’t ever take it personally, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Have the passion, practise makeup on yourself and others, make a great portfolio, market yourself, network like crazy and take unpaid work when there’s no paid work around.