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Ice, ice, baby.

Life as a makeup artist is a unique experience. The places you can go with this career are limitless.

Sep 16, 2017

Words: Elle James
Images: Light + Type

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The life of a makeup artist is such a unique experience. The places you can go with this career are limitless; from having a seat on Pat McGrath’s – the world’s most influential makeup artist – private jet, to being able to apply makeup in my own studio with clients from my hometown. This issue, I’m going to share with you more on my journey as a makeup artist and provide with a couple of handy makeup tips too, of course!

My adventure began at the Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy, in South Yarra, nearly a decade ago. The incredible experiences this course offered me would help set my goals well into the future. My first time at the then Motorola Fashion Week was a highlight and provided me with insights into the fashion and editorial industry that I’ll never forget. Now, for those of born post-1999, Motorola was the must-have phone of the era – it even flipped! The event is now known as the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) and is one event you want to be involved in as a makeup artist in Australia.

Fast-forward nine years, and after a lot of hard working in building my name and reputation throughout Gippsland and beyond, I decided to take the plunge and fulfil one of the goals of my fashion loving lifestyle, and begin my own company. I think the universe must have been listening because not a single day had passed since my career epiphany and whose name should appear on my Facebook newsfeed? None other than makeup legend, Rae Morris who was set to host her first seminar on editorial makeup in over five years! I immediately signed up for the event and was lucky enough to be accepted. What I learnt in those five days changed my career forever! When Rae called to tell me that she loved my final shot of the week and that I’d be on her team at Fashion Week…I could’ve died from happiness.

The world of editorial makeup is much different to that of the catwalk shows. The amount of incredibly hard work it takes to crack into this niche market is indescribable. The number of times that I’ve thought my work isn’t good enough or thought that I’m never going to succeed is crazy. Only to then refresh my email inbox and find a booking for a branding campaign, with a note saying that they love my work and that I’d be perfect for the job. It’s stressful, but landing that line of work makes all the creative pressure you’re put under worth it.

If your eyes are set on a career as a freelance makeup artist, then I hope that you’re up for frequent travels, as it really is a career on the road. I never really know where my week may take me. One day I might be on set in a suburban studio, the next I might be on top of Mount Hotham! My big white suitcase is always in tow and always packed to the brim with my makeup essentials.

Gippslandia #3 - Fashion - Ice, ice, baby.

For example, take the products that I used for the accompanying shoot at the beautiful Dinner Plain. Now, we all know that extreme climates, like the snow, will turn our nose and cheeks the rosiest shade of Rudolph red and our hands suddenly become an icy shade of blue. It’s not exactly a look you want to see in a glossy fashion magazine. For these situations on set, I’ve got the solution, I put foundation on every part of the body that’s visible to the camera, typically using MAC Cosmetics Face and Body for a natural, all-over glow. Other essentials I always have in my suitcase include the Beauty Glow Filter Makeup Kit from Charlotte, the MAC Cosmetics Kohl Eye Pencil in Teddy and of course, my all-time favourite, Egyptian Magic.

Gippslandia #3 - Fashion - Ice, ice, baby.

All the travel for work would amount to nothing if I didn’t have gorgeous faces to work on and I’ve been lucky to work with some beauties! Working with modelling agencies is a crucial factor in building any aspiring makeup artist’s portfolio. Developing and fostering these relationships will have you networking with the right people to grow your brand. I’m so thrilled to share some of my favourite location shots with you in this spread.

Gippslandia #3 - Fashion - Ice, ice, baby.

Please keep an eye out on my blog at in the coming month for all the details of my location shoots in sunny Port Douglas and Byron Bay. I will be also live streaming those sessions from my Instagram, from July 6-12th for those of you that’d love to learn a whole lot more on makeup artistry.
Elle x.

Location: Dinner Plain, Victoria
Photographer: Light & Type - @lightandtype -
Makeup & Hair: Elle James - @ellejames_makeup
Model: Poppi

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