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Interview with MAC’s Senior Make-up Artist: Vimi Joshi

If she’s not working backstage at Milan fashion week, she’s doing the make-up for a celebrity and if she’s not somewhere on a plane she’s at the MAC counter serving customers. Last month I got the chance to interview this super woman called; Vimi Joshi who’s the senior make-up artist for M.A.C cosmetics Middle East & India. I asked her many questions from make-up trends, to how she started as a make-up artist!



What can you tell us about the new collection that’s coming out?
This Spring/Summer 2014 there seems to be this Global obsession with skin. It’s skin that is fresh, pure, luminous and radiating. I think skin seems to be the new modern beauty movement but it’s also skin that’s been inspired by the element so skin that has been in humidity that it’s dewy and moist. Skin that’s been out in the sun that’s been sun kissed. Skin that’s been gone to the desert during the day and it’s slightly sunburned. So all of these natural elements are really a key factor for the way that skin is for 2014.



Why MAC? Why is MAC so different than the other brands? Why should my readers purchase MAC and purchase this collection?
Well it’s a range of collections actually, not just 1 collection. What you see here is the beauty trends that are starting in January until the end of July. The reason that we’re quite exciting about these trends is because the actual birth of these trends take place backstage. Each season we work a season ahead so last September/October I was in Milan and Paris. And each season I spent 3 weeks in Milan and 3 weeks in Paris and what happens there is that we basically get products from MAC that we think would be the influences for the next season. Then what happens is we go and work with the key make-up artists the iconic ones like; Tom Pecheux, Val Garland, Charlotte Tilbury, Stephan Marais these huge Global make-up artists and then we go on a make-up test with them. We lay the new products out for them, so before they get there everything is already set up, the key make-up artists will come in, speak with to the designer about their inspiration of the look. The key make-up artist then uses the new products by MAC for the make-up look. So what happens is these products go back on the runway and that’s how the trends for the next season are born back at where we’re actually creating it and being a part of it.



So MAC make-up artists are trendsetters?

Yes literally trendsetting them and creating trends each and everyday.



What is your favorite trend?

I think this season’s trends because it’s so minimalist and it’s all about skin. Sporty skin, as if you just came out of the gym and got that beautiful flush of blush. Also there’s no bronzing for Spring/Summer 2014! Bronzing has now been replaced by highlighting. What’s so amazing about that is, you highlight the face and it naturally creates the shadows, the contour naturally appears. The reason why we’re using these bright light colors is that it illuminates, lifts and brightens the face so that’s a pretty cool trend.


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What make-up look would you advice for the young Arab local women?

There is this idea of global beauty especially since the young Arab women are such a huge inspiration! A few season’s ago you could say; it’s Arabic/Middle Eastern make-up, it’s Asian or it’s European make-up. But now make-up is aligning so much that it’s now this idea of Global beauty. These young Arabic women are obsessed with trends and fashion. They know what’s happening! Let’s say an award ceremony is happening in Hollywood, they know the looks in the morning and they want those looks in the morning. So these young women are the ones that are the trendsetters of the region, they’re the ones that are bringing these trends to life because they’re embracing them.



You have been a make-up artist since 1995, so how did you go from starter to being at the top and working with so many celebrities?  
When I first started I assisted two very famous make-up artists in London; Daniel Sandler and Liz Pugh. One was a TV make-up artist and the other one was a fashion make-up artist so I became part of the assistance. And I learned so many techniques from fashion from Daniel and TV from Liz. Then I had the opportunity to move to Kuwait to work with the Kuwaiti royal family and that’s where the real training began. I worked with Sheikh Majed Al Sabah, he had a shop called ‘Make-up, Makeup’. Then Christian Dior approached me saying; we really want you to be our make-up artist and then I found out that MAC cosmetics was opening in Kuwait in 1999. I went to the Alshaya office and I was like; You need to hire me! And that’s how my journey started.


What challenges have you faced through your career?
One of my biggest challenges has been coming from London and doing make-up for European women and then moving to Kuwait in 1997 and I remember on of the Kuwaiti customers was like; ”can you do a natural make-up for me?” And I did this very natural make-up look and she looked at it and said; ”what is this? I wouldn’t go to my bathroom in this make-up!” And then I found out that Arabic natural make-up then was big eyes, big lips, lots of make-up. So it was like, being a make-up artist for so many years and having to learn a whole new way of doing make-up and my biggest teachers have been the Arabic women. They have made me the make-up artist that I am.

They’re very straight to the point haha!
I love it! And now what’s interesting is seeing the three sixty. Seeing the European trends coming learning the Arabian way and seeing the Arabian women going back to a more softer, European, Hollywood approach to make-up.

What advice do you have for aspiring make-up artists?
My advice is; follow your dream, go and do a make-up course, just get the basics. Then I would really advice that you assist a strong make-up artist. Then make your own contacts, build your portfolio, find out who the new upcoming photographers and hairdressers are. But the most important advice that I have is; don’t give up!

Back to the collection, what is your favorite product(s) from this collection?
There are so many new products coming up but one of the new products that I’m very inspired and excited about is the new CC-Thru colors. Because right now as you can see there’s a movement about CC creams which is all about color correcting. What we’ve literally did in Milan and Paris was neutralize the undertone of the skin using the CC-Thru products to create this beautiful skin with minimal foundation. Because once you understand the color correctors and how they work, you don’t need that much foundation.


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How would you describe the best make-up base?
Definatly hydrate the skin! Use lots of hydration, we have a great product called MAC Fix+. Then use a water base moisturizer there are a lot of women in the region that have combination skin so just by adding all that hydration into the skin. Use a primer that really softens and texturizes the skin. That would be a really good base.



What are your plans and goals for 2014?
To make the world a beautiful place one make-up at a time!

What does beauty mean to you? Define beauty….
Wow that’s a great question! To me beauty represents internal beauty. I think one of the things that I really do as a make-up artist is, If I spent 5 minutes doing make-up for someone I get to know that person and once I feel their essence and inner beauty then you do the make-up to bring out the beauty that’s inside that person. So beauty to me is the soul and essence of who you are as a person. One of the questions that I get asked a lot is how many celebrities have you worked with? Every single person that I’ve worked with is a celebrity. Because in their own life they have the leading role. Whether she’s a housewife or works in a store or is an actress, she’s a beautiful woman.

That’s a nice quote! So what do you enjoy the most in you work?
I’ve been with MAC now in my 15th year and no day has been the same! Everyday has been an adventure, everyday is exciting. I met de most amazing people, I’ve done make-up for rockstars to Royalty, from Hollywood to Bollywood, from fashion show’s to working at the MAC counter working with the artists spending the day in the store, serving the customer. I love that diversity of my job and I’m enjoying every moment of it.



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