Katherine Reel of Pittsburgh PA – Make-up, Hair Artist Interview
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self-taught makeup artist?
A: I am a Makeup and Hair Artist for print, TV, video and runway.
I prefer to focus on beauty and fashion but also do commercial as well. I studied Visual Arts and Business in college, but learned almost everything I know about makeup and the industry on my own.
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: No I do not. I think makeup school is beneficial but not necessary. If you have the resources, then go for it; it can definitely shave time off your learning curve.
In my opinion, however, you either have it or you don’t. Going to school cannot give you talent or that natural “eye” for the look.
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 always had a knack and fascination for makeup, but I did not know I wanted to be an artist until after I worked at a makeup counter (which was awful). I realized I didn’t want to sell makeup, I just wanted to DO it!
Long before the makeup counter, when I was a child, I hated going to school; I would use my mother’s cosmetics to make myself look sickly pale so I didn’t have to go. Many times, I faked out my Mom and got to stay home. :)
Around that time I discovered fashion and magazines, which I would pore over – Bazaar was always a favorite. Finally for my 12th birthday I was gifted The Art of Makeup by Kevyn Aucoin; that book changed my life forever. Linda Mason’s Art of Beauty did too.
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: The most exciting aspect of my job is a) the unpredictable and diverse nature of my assignments and b) the facial transformations I am able to conceive of and execute.
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: What is surprising about the makeup biz is that unfortunately, it is not always your talent that gets you the job.
There are many factors at play, and this industry is not immune to nepotism or politics.
Q: How do you define beauty?
A: I once heard that “beauty in a person is a combination of the emotional and the superficial.”
Q: What individual products and brands are you “addicted” to at the moment?
A: MUFE HD Foundation – blends seamlessly; Cinema Secrets Corrector Palette #1 – buh-bye undereye bags and blemishes; NARS The Multiple – Malaysia or Tuomota for contour/glow and Copacabana to highlight. I also adore Wet ‘n Wild brow pencil, the ever-indispensable nude lip liner, Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil and anything by Embryolisse.
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Go easy on your skin; the more natural the product, the better! Maintain a simple routine, don’t over-exfoliate, drink plenty of water, and try an all natural oil such as avocado after the shower for a wrinkle-fighting quench.
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: No, thankfully! It is important to ALWAYS ask every client before you begin about any sensitivities or allergies she/he has.
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: Most common makeup mistakes: Foundation too pink or orange, eyeshadow/liner not blended (i.e. raccoon eyes), spray tan too heavy (i.e. OOMPA LOOMPA/Jerseylicious skin)concealer too light, too much frost/sparkle (especially on mature skin).
The worst thing a woman can do to her skin: FAKE BAKING. Honey get your a** out of the tanning bed. Nothing ages you faster. Also, sleeping in your makeup. Gross! (Although one or two drunken nights a year is inevitable). ;)
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup/skin care industry right now?
A: Best trends: retro glamour. Thank you, Mad Men! Red lips and black liquid liner are timeless; they exude elegance and sophistication. Also, I love the neutral makeup that has come back into fashion. You can thank Kevyn Aucoin for starting that back in the 90s.
Q: Do teenage girls need to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items just as satisfactory?
A: Teenage girls do not need to splurge on cosmetics. If anything they should experiment with the most natural cosmetic items possible so as not to disrupt their already-raging hormones!
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate and why?
A: Skin – I love to sculpt a face with color and a brush. I love using light to bring forward and shadow to add depth. It is always a fun challenge to “correct” a face shape, carve deeper cheek bones, “thin” a nose, disguise a five-head or erase a double chin.
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: My five minute face:
2) Lightly conceal under eye area and blemishes
3) Lightly powder T-zone
4) Lightly fill in brows
5) Add a clean coat of brown/black mascara
6) Add nude lipliner and a dab of clear gloss
7) A few sweeps of blush or bronzer if needed
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: Add a shimmery highlight (i.e. inner corner of eyes, cupid’s bow) and a plumping lip gloss.
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: At a photo shoot, most models are professional enough to work with the makeup that has been applied, even if they may not prefer the look. I HATE it when someone sneaks into the bathroom to touch up my work! Rude! ;)
I love models because most enjoy being a canvas and a chameleon; they like to experiment and transform themselves. Real women are sometimes too picky or fussy about the makeup application, or not trusting enough of the makeup artist because they are stuck in their ways.
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: You can’t really choose because they each have different functions, but pencil is the most versatile.
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: Even though I have many tattoos, I am VERY much against permanent makeup on the face. First of all, our skin changes drastically over the years – you can thank gravity for that!
Your eyebrows at 50 will not be in the same place at 70. Second, tattoo ink fades over time, so the permanence is somewhat illusory; what was once brown can fade to orange or another undesirable hue.
Third, with makeup trends changing faster than you can say “airbrush,”why would you ever want to wear an example of fashion history on your face… forever?
Finally, imagine if you had your permanent makeup done in the 1980′s! Enough said.
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: The airbrush, in my opinion, is best for live HDTV broadcast, body makeup, spray tanning and special FX; it takes a bit of training to get use to. The airbrush sprays makeup in tiny dots that replicate the dot matrix of HDTV, so there are no visible brush marks.
It can certainly save time and the water-based airbrush foundation formulas are fantastic for very oily skin. There is nothing wrong with traditional (brush) makeup application, per se; if you are skilled with blending then you can do just as flawless of a job as an airbrush can.
Airbrush is also a definitive trend for bridal work, likely because of its long wear and for the sheer novelty of it.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: “Katherine is the consummate professional. Not only is she an artistic talent with a keen eye and ability to make her models and clients look fabulous, but she is a solid business woman. As a stylist she is reliable and delivers results.
As a makeup and personal makeover consultant she helps clients create their own natural look and teaches them how to maintain this on their own. Her phone number is a “must have” in any woman’s little black book!”
“Your makeup is a retoucher’s dream.”
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: Always be true to yourself. Find your niche. Never stop learning. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers and stay focused on your dreams.
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Learn everything you can about makeup technique, photography and the industry. Watch America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race, any program that shows makeup application. Read, assist, network, take classes and keep your chin up; it’s fierce out there!