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These past few weeks we have all been listening, reflecting and learning about the Black Lives Matter movement. We as a company are very strong believers in diversity in beauty, and have done our best to reflect this on our socials, in the people and brands we are working with and through our partnership with #iamtheCODE who help girls in all disadvantaged communities. No doubt we can and must do better in the future, as everyone else.
Today, we have the huge honour of speaking to Pauline Briscoe, makeup artist to Serena Williams and Jennifer Hudson, to discuss her career, her take on the black beauty industry and her thoughts on how we can all do better.
Starting at the beginning, what made you want to become a makeup artist in the first place?
I used to work as a model over 20 years ago now and I found that a lot of caucasian makeup artists weren't able to work comfortably with black skin tones. A model friend of mine said I did my own makeup beautifully and suggested I become a makeup artist. I thought long and hard about it and approached a few photographers to take me on shoots with them as a makeup artist so I could see if I liked it or not and I found that I loved it so much, I left modelling and never looked back!
You’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years. Do you feel that black beauty has made significant progress from when you started to now, or do you feel there is still a long way to go?
I think the industry has changed quite significantly in terms of there being a lot more brands that have introduced tones for women of colour but I still find that there needs to be more education in makeup schools and for working makeup artists who are not confident in doing makeup for all skin tones.
You have worked with the biggest titles and some of the biggest names in the industry. Did you ever feel that being a black artist held you back or pushed you forward, how do you feel it shaped your career?
I don't think that my colour has held me back at all. I do feel that my colour has however given me more opportunities than white makeup artists when working with celebrities of colour.
What are some of the biggest beauty pain points the black woman is facing and what are your top tips to alleviate those?
I think the main obstacles are there not being enough choice of colours where the mainstream makeup brands are concerned. These brands need to step up and cater for all!
We HAVE to talk about the iconic Serena Williams look for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! Can you give us some behind the scenes titbits? How did you and Serena decide on the look you were going for and how was that whole day for you?
It was an amazing day! We picked the makeup look based on what she was wearing. She wore a pink dress and head attire for the main ceremony so I did a pink makeup look for her and for the evening reception she wore a floral print gown so I chose a smokey green eye look.
What are your tips for up and coming makeup artists who aspire to have a successful career as yourself?
I would suggest that they assist makeup artists and test, test, test!
We all want to do our best to be allies. What do you think all of us could and should do to support black creatives and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole?
There are many charities out there so that is a starting point. I also suggest to read up on black history and makeup artists should educate themselves on black skin tones.
Finally, which Loella brushes do you love?
I've got the Femme Fatale collection and my own personalised Loella brush (Precision powder Pauline brush from the Femme Fatale collection) so I love mine! Lol!
Click here to check out the Femme Fatale collection.