Retro post; my interview with makeup artist @mykie_
I first published this interview back in 2014, when LA-based makeup artist Mykie (AKA Glam & Gore on Twitter and Facebook,) was on a not-unimpressive 29,000 Instagram followers. Today she has amassed a staggering 663,000. So much can happen in a year huh? In the interview she tells a tale of moving cities to follow her dreams, and how self-motivation got her where she is today.
It's a way to show off your artistic side, daily! Some people don't like how makeup can drastically change the way a person looks, but that's what makes it fascinating to me. I love playing with different colours, shapes and angles to bring out certain features or mute others. I love that makeup can be beautiful or disgusting; that it can emulate real-life or can be completely sci-fi. I think the better question is, ‘why not makeup?’
how did it all start?
Well, I suppose technically I got started in Philadelphia when I was 8 years old. I had to learn how to do beauty makeup for the dance competitions I was competing in. A few years later I became fascinated with special effects makeup in horror movies. So it was a hobby of mine from a young age, but my first professional work as a makeup artist came when I was in college. I got a job at MAC and learned a lot to supplement what I had taught myself over the years. I was itching for the FX (special effects) side of things too though, so a year later I got a job as a special effects artist at Terror Behind the Walls, an award-winning haunted house in Philadelphia. Again, I had taught myself some special effects techniques before this, but this was where I learned a lot of the foundations. From those two jobs I became really passionate about the craft. I read and watched everything I could to learn as much as possible, experimented on my own face every day, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career. I began posting on social media in the beginning of this year (2014) - just as my own personal challenge - and had no idea it would grow into what it is today.
if I wasn't a makeup artist I would be a ... cinematographer. I went to school for film because it's the other huge passion in my life. I actually moved to Los Angeles to pursue either a career in makeup or in cinematography, but makeup has taken precedence so far. Beautiful imagery is what I love so I fully plan on following that, both in cosmetics and in making films.
tell me about your signature look
I'm not sure I have a signature look in my makeup, at least as far as what I post online. I try to have a wide range and change things up quite a bit. But if you saw me on an everyday basis, I guess you could say it's a bold winged eyeliner paired with a colourful or dark lipstick. I love the pin-up look and its simplicity, so that's the basis of my go-to for when I'm going out on a normal day. Fashion-wise, my signature look is definitely combat boots. I wear Doc Martens like it's my job. Of course I have an extensive shoe collection beyond that, but 90 percent of the time, regardless of pants, shorts, skirt, or dress – it’s boots.
what is your can't-live-without brand/product and why?
Right now it's definitely Kryolan's Shimmering Events Foundation in Silver. It's really difficult for me to find a good highlight that shows up on my extremely fair skin, but this is definitely the best I've found. It’s easy to blend and catches the light brilliantly!
if you only had three products to work with, what would they be and why?
Three?! What a torturous scenario! Well in my case, I have super blonde eyebrows and lashes. So necessities for me would be a good mascara and brow product. I also think flawless skin is a must-have, so foundation would be my third necessity! My favourite products for those are:
1. Lancome Virtuose Mascara in Black Carat
Nothing is better than this mascara. It's super black, gives instant curl to even the straightest of lashes, and volumises better than any other I've tried. It's pricey, but it's well worth it.
2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow in Chocolate
This is perfect for my nearly invisible brows. Because it's a wax/gel formula, it keeps my brows in place all day. It's also great for getting super sharp and clean brows, or for doing more natural brows. And I like it in the colour Chocolate because even though it's super dark, it can be used really lightly and works just as well on blondes. A little of this product goes a long way!
3. Cinema Secrets Cream Foundation
If you could only have one foundation, this is the way to go. It gives heavy enough coverage to cover up tattoos, but can be thinned down into a gorgeous light coverage too. Because it's creamy, your skin never looks dry, but it doesn't over moisturise oily skin either. There's every combination of shades and undertones to fit anyone's skin and it lasts a long time since it's so heavily pigmented - you don't need much to cover a full face.
what trend would you like to see curl up and die?
Two trends, actually! And they're both similar to one another; the first being the trend of picking a concealer shade significantly lighter than your foundation shade to go under your eyes. One shade? Okay. But when I see girls with white under-eyes and a tan face, they don't look awake: they just look silly, especially in pictures.
And the worst offender? The overly highlighted brow. The idea came from a great place: to use concealer to clean up your brow lines both underneath and on top. It went a step further with the idea to use a lighter concealer underneath to create the same effect as adding a light shadow under your brow for a highlight. I'm okay with it up to this point. But it got a little out of hand when people started using the lighter concealer on the top too, and sometimes more than one shade lighter. Sharp brows don't look natural as it is – let's not overdo it with a white rim around the whole thing!
how different do you think your career might be if it wasn't for social media?
I would have less opportunities to speak with brands I admire. It's a surreal feeling to be contacted by makeup companies you've been wearing since you were a teenager, asking if you would want to promote their products. That's certainly something that wouldn't be happening without social media. And even though I've always had tons of support from my family and friends before, I have even more support now. Social media is a nice constant reminder that I'm here in LA doing exactly what I should be doing.
how do you combat the negativity that comes hand in hand with social media platforms?
Sometimes I'll make a satirical joke about it, but most times I just ignore it. People who say negative things are just looking for a rise. The most common form of negativity that I get is someone expressing how they think a makeup look of mine is too crazy, and it's not something that they would wear. What I don't think those people think about is that the looks I post are not my everyday looks, and that if it's too much makeup for them they don't have to wear it. I think it's rude for people to go out of their way to try and put others down but regardless, it doesn't bother me, because it's unrealistic to think everyone's going to like what you do. Dita Von Teese summed it up best when she said: ‘you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.'
what advice would you give to someone who wants to become a makeup artist?
I can't say I think you need to have official qualifications to make it, because I don't have them! Going to cosmetology school is a great option for some people, but certainly not a necessity or an indicator of success. It all depends on how you learn best. If you think you soak up information better at your own pace and you have the discipline to teach yourself what you need to know, by all means, jump right in and teach yourself. If you learn best with instruction and a set schedule, cosmetology school may be the way to start.
But my advice for someone who wants to become a makeup artist is to just start doing it. It breaks my heart when I hear someone say they wish they could be half as good as me, or that they don't think they ever could be. We all start somewhere. You should see my eyebrows from when I was 16! Some people are more naturally talented at makeup when they begin, but the only thing that really separates the beginners and the ‘pros’ is their time and dedication. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of something; where are you doing in those 10,000 hours? Do it every day and you will get better. Then start applying to counters, stores, or freelance jobs. Take pictures of your work and build a portfolio, know what your strengths are, and show people why they need you to be their makeup artist.
Who's your favourite Instagram makeup queen? Let me know if you'd like me to interview them!