i had the opportunity to interview the very fabulous, not to mention uber-talented, celebrity makeup artist Melissa Walsh, and i must say, she is a doll!* as busy as she is, she still found time to answer my questions regarding herself and her career.
she currently works with Terri Seymour, but has also worked with celebs like Dannii Minogue, Hanson and Jamie Oliver. she has many credits to her name, but is still very down-to-earth. she's a beauty herself, and uses her love of makeup to bring out only the best in people.
so dear readers, please meet Melissa Walsh (and admire some of her work between questions)...
BGM: have you always been into makeup?
MW: "i've always been artistic. my mom says that ever since i could hold a crayon i was obsessed with drawing faces. eventually that turned into playing with makeup just as soon as i discovered it! from the age of about 11, i spent all my allowance on makeup. i didn't wear it though, instead i used to do makeovers on my friends and anyone who would sit still long enough!"
BGM: what inspired you to take the leap into full-time makeup?
MW: "i started out testing with photographers (that’s when you do a photo shoot for free pictures for your portfolio). to make ends meet while i was starting my makeup career, i worked part time in a movie theater. then one of the photographers i tested with gave me my first paid job. it was with a band called The Quireboys managed by Sharon Osbourne. after that, one job led to another until i landed my first big break, which was becoming personal makeup artist to Vanessa Mae, a young classical violinist of 16 years of age. i toured the world with her when i was 26. it was such an amazing experience that i knew then i never wanted to do anything else for a living."
BGM: who are some makeup artists you admire (living or dead)?
MW: "i think the greatest makeup artist that ever lived was Kevyn Aucoin. he passed away a few years ago and it was such a loss to the makeup world. i also love Topolino; he is outstandingly creative and is known for not carrying a huge makeup kit around. i don't either. once, i remember someone telling a photographer 'she turns up with a little bag but don't worry, she's amazing!' i thought that was hilarious!"
BGM: how would you describe your personal makeup aesthetic?
MW: "i love to make people look beautiful but natural (i work with men a lot too)! they shouldn't look like they are wearing a lot of makeup. i sometimes do heavy makeup for photo shoots, but even then it still looks glowing and it will only be on one area, maybe smokey eyes perhaps or dark lips. i think far too many people wear unnecessarily heavy makeup and it hides their real beauty."
BGM: if you weren't a makeup artist, what do you think you'd be doing?
MW: "my other passion in life is sharks! i know everything there is to know about them and have even been cage diving in the ocean off gansbaai, south africa. it was such a thrill to see great whites up close. i would have loved to be a marine biologist specializing in sharks if i hadn't gone into makeup- about as far removed as you can get i think!"
BGM: what are your favorite beauty brands?
MW: "ah! where do I start?! i love a lot of brands and have particular favorites from several of them. i have to say that among my particular favorites, that i use over and over again, are: Smashbox, Hourglass, Jouer, Janson Beckett, Fresh, Dr Hauschka and Liz Earle. all these brands have certain products that are staples in my kit or bathroom! for male grooming jobs i particularly like Anthony Logistics For Men and Murad. so, ladies, if you need some ideas for your men for Christmas...."
BGM: what are the three must-have makeup items or products every women should have?
MW: "i think a good anti-aging moisturizer with SPF is essential- my favorite is Janson Beckett Alpha Derma CE. a great mascara will help define the eyes even if you have no other makeup on- Prescriptives Lash Envy is amazing. a good face powder is the third item i recommend- a little of this evens out the skin and gets rid of shine- Hourglass Invisible Veil not only does this but also brightens the whole face, which is why i love it!"
Melissa is based in hollywood and can be contacted through her agency website, beautyandphoto.com (check out her amazing portfolio of work while you're there!)
be sure to stay tuned, as you will be hearing more from Ms. Walsh in 2009!
*thanks to jenn for introducing me!