The beauty industry in London is lively and booming, but often not given the credit and praise it deserves. However, beauty has so many different subcategories and for this reason, we are featuring a three-part interview series with beauty professionals in London.
This week I dove deep into the makeup industry at different angles by speaking with four local artists with different specializations including corporate, bridal, SFX, and creative-vibrant.
Corporate – Deanna Ronson
I first reached out to Deanna Ronson after familiarizing myself with her work in VOGUE Italia and COCO Bride. The work I had seen by her, as pictured below, was editorial and commercial fashion – natural enhancement of model’s features, different from couture runway or “InstaGlam” makeup many are familiar with. However, I was surprised to hear that her speciality is “corporate work”.
“[This is] makeup for professional clients for stage (speaking engagements), video, TV, and headshots,” Ronson said. “This style of makeup is much like makeup for commercial fashion work, it’s usually natural in style, enhancing my client’s strong features and camouflaging any weak features. It’s makeup enhanced to show up under camera or stage lights.”
She’s lived in London for 30 years and she loves the city even though the obvious path might be to move to a bigger one. She sees a lot of potential, however.
“There have been a few burgeoning fashion designers coming out of Fanshawe recently who are stationed here,” she stated. “I think London’s fashion industry will only continue to grow and, of course, fashion and makeup go hand and hand.”
As for what sets her apart from other makeup artists, she believes that her experience as well as extensive training by an artist who worked with the founders of MAC in the 80’s gives her an edge up on younger artists who are often trained on a one set formula.
“Many of today’s younger artists are heavily influenced by the use of Instagram and YouTube. I can see it in their portfolio when you see client after client with the exact same look,” said Ronson. “The placement of product is the same on each face. You should be applying makeup according to your client’s own unique features.”
Bridal – Hanna Lafferty
Continuing on the quest to learn about makeup in all of it’s fashions, I decided to consult with Hanna Lafferty, the owner of her own company, Selah Vie, and Canada’s #9 Wedding Industry expert. Selah Vie does not only specialize in makeup, however.
“We’ve got two sides of the company – hair and makeup along with event planning,” said Lafferty. “We pretty much have everything covered. It’s special to be there for a couple as they’re getting married in whatever capacity they choose.”
Lafferty previously lived in Toronto but calls London home because of the close-knit community.
“When I lived in Toronto, the competition was cutthroat,” said Lafferty. “Here, we know the other people in the industry and if we are busy, we will make referrals!”
Her team of 15 other women help with every aspect of wedding coordination. If you work with Selah Vie, you’re sure to find an almost perfect group.
“I try to only hire people that are a good fit for my company and can mesh well,” said Lafferty. “In the beginning, my girls spend 14 weeks training and going over techniques.”
One thing that really interested me about bridal makeup is how it sustains long, stressful, sweaty days so I had to ask Hanna for some tips.
“It’s all about working with products and skin type,” said Lafferty. “For normal to dry skin, makeup can last fairly long but for oily skin, the Skindinavia Primer Prep spray is one I swear by.”
Special Effects (SFX) – Cassidy Shkimba
Cassidy Shkimba specializes in SFX Makeup and is known to post a lot of scary looks come October. She was born in Kingston but has lived in London for the past 12 years after realizing London is opportunity city and has a huge makeup community.
I had to acknowledge that Cassidy has over 9,000 followers on Instagram. How could I not? What I really wanted to know is how she separates herself from other Instagram artists.
“I have found my niche in the creative makeup,” said Shkimba. “Pushing out of the natural and into creativity and precision. I was one of the first ones to push myself in [the SFX] direction a few years ago and that’s what separates me.”
Cassidy has also been featured in BuzzFeed and Allure and is humbled by her opportunity to be represented in global publications.
“I didn’t think that my skills would develop so much in such a short period of time,” she said. “The makeup industry has brought me so much positivity and a community.”
As for London, she loves it here and works at local beauty salon, esteem. However, she does see opportunity in other places. By 2020, she hopes to start teaching lessons, learn body painting, and perhaps move to Los Angeles!
Creative-Vibrant – Payton Sedley
The last woman I spoke with is Payton Sedley, a makeup artist popular for her bold colours and creative looks who has wanted to be in the industry as early as 12 years old (before she was even allowed to wear much makeup)!
She’s from St. Mary’s but moved to London three years ago to escape the small town bubble and immediately developed her business.
“I did want to move to Toronto but I feel that London is a nice middle ground,” said Sedley. “Between the community of a small town and the opportunity of a larger one.”
As far as inspiration goes, she’s always enjoyed listening to music to fuel creativity and will often match makeup looks with the emotions of a song she’s been jamming out to.
For some of us who don’t want to splurge on makeup but want to achieve bold pops of colour, she suggests NYX Cosmetics.
“I love that they’re cruelty free because I think we can still look beautiful and have fun without hurting anyone,” she said. “It helps that they have tons of great products. But every company has hits and misses – every drugstore brand will have at least one perfect product.”