I love the way that creating these blog pieces on the Kili website have allowed me to share gems of wisdom from the amazing women I have met over the decades in my role as a makeup artist and brand creator.
Ruby Hammer MBE is one of the very special ones. I can distinctly remember meeting her in Barbados on a trip for Next Directory, both of us working for our respective Next photo-shoot teams.
We bonded over our shared love of beauty in all its forms and particularly the need to nurture your skin inside and out in order to create the best possible base for makeup.
Our careers continued to overlap as we created brands in the 90s – she the eponymous Ruby & Millie range whilst I was working for the FCUK cosmetic range.
We remain firm friends to this day and it was a joy to have her answer some questions for Kili
1.HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY AS A MAKEUP ARTIST AND GIVE US A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THAT.
I’ve been in the beauty industry for over 40 years, inspired by the legendary artists Sandy Linter and Way Bandy.
Being a makeup artist isn’t just about applying cosmetics, you have to be a great all-rounder… As soon as a brief comes in for a job I look to see if I am a right for it. Do my skills match the job in question? I don’t do TV drama series and film… I love the fashion editorial side and work on Bridal, Red Carpet, Master-classes and Commercial Campaigns.
Once I’m confirmed (through my agent) and I get the call sheet I go online and do my research looking at everyone, in particular the model to make sure I have all the correct products for their skin colouring and what the look and feel for the photo-shoot is.
You have to be a team player as you are always going to be working with others whether that is hairdressers, stylists, models, photographers or a brand.
Being freelance you have to keep an open mind and be prepared to work long hours. You are only as good as your last job so you have to put your best foot forwards on each job.
Once on the job you can let your creativity flow (within the confines of the brief), if the shoot is on location you can be subject to external factors such as weather so you have to be completely prepared.
You have to have thick skin and learn not to take things personally.
- RUBY & MILLIE WAS ICONIC AND THE FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE UK, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO IT?
Ruby & Millie was indeed iconic… As a beauty brand it was the first British makeup artist brand since Mary Quant to launch in the UK, and the first to include all skin tones.
Whilst speaking to BOOTS about Aveda (my ex-husband and I were the exclusive distributors of the brand) Millie and I were brainstorming opportunities and the idea of a makeup artist brand came to the table and we ran with it. We wanted to create something that looked good and performed, whilst also being reasonably priced and widely distributed. It took two years to develop and a lot of back and forth to get the products we wanted in the shades we needed. As a makeup artist I wanted to be able to use the products in my kit so I needed a full range from the lightest to darkest foundations to the brightest eyeshadows suitable for editorial.
- WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH YOUR NEW PRODUCT RANGE?
In 2017 I got the urge to start exploring another brand, but looking at the world as it was then… with the rise of social media, e-commerce I decide to launch a more capsule, smaller range that as more fitting with my current life goals.
I wanted to enhance people’s beauty routines bringing out products that could be used alongside their favourites making their routines easier. As an artist my first product had to be a tool. My Magnetic Brush Sets are about providing precise multipurpose brushes which can be used across a range of formulations – whilst being sleek enough to fit in a handbag.
- DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A LINK BETWEEN LOOKING AND FEELING GOOD, AS FOR ME THAT’’S WHAT BEAUTY DOES FOR US ALL.
Absolutely 100%! It is not about superficially attaining perfection, or meeting other people’s standards, it is your own genuine desire and goals and to know when you make an effort, it pays off.
Whether it is a good hair day or a great skin day we all know the feeling of waking up and looking in the mirror with a smile knowing that the self-care routines are working.