Halloween 2015 has been absolutely mind blowing for me this year. With my work popping up in newspapers like the Daily Mail, The Star and the Express and even making it’s way over to the USA and New Zealand, my phone has been absolutely off the hook with calls, texts and emails for Halloween makeovers. With over 40 people on my waiting list for an appointment this year, Halloween has never been so busy for me and I am so humble and thankful for all of the amazing press coverage and kind comments I’ve received.
I wanted to share this post to show you a little behind the scenes ‘making of’ shots of my lovely clients this year along with their completed Halloween makeup looks, and also to say a huge thank you to absolutely everybody who has made a booking, sent me a message and liked and shared my work online. It means so much to me and I’m still in disbelief over how much attention my work has gotten this year. People don’t tend to see the hard work and hours and hours of gruelling training and practising that happens behind the scenes and there are many, many looks I’ve tried out that I haven’t felt have been great enough to share with you all. So thank you once again to everybody who has supported me this year and lifted my spirits.
I also wanted to share with you all my full interview for the newspapers which answers many of he questions I get asked on a daily basis from my clients. I hope you enjoy having a read!
1. How did you get into doing make up / Halloween make up?
From being very young I’ve always loved playing with makeup – right up to making my poor uncle sit and have his full face made over when I was around four. I’m glad to say that since that day, my makeup skills have somewhat improved and I no longer use a Tinkerbell makeup kit!
I first started really getting into makeup and considering it as a career option when I was in college studying fashion design. The flamboyance inside me loved making full theatrical briefs for the clothing I designed and I absolutely loved when it came to the time to photograph my final looks so I could style the shoots. Alongside this, my friends knew that my family owned and ran a professional photography business, so we’d sometimes get together and shoot in the studio – they modelled, I did the makeup and hair and my Dad would photograph everything. I remember standing in the background and watching my dad photograph my friend who I’d made over and suddenly I burst into tears – I could see this amazing scene unfolding in front of me with a beautiful model, my makeup and hair work which I was so proud of, and my Dad getting to photograph the whole thing. I stood back with that excited squiggle in my stomach and knew right then in my heart that I’d found my calling.
From there, my passion for makeup really grew and I was hungry for more knowledge so I went into training with the Beauty Academy to further my skills before landing a job at cult makeup brand, Illamasqua. I’ve always loved the gorier, SFX side of makeup – some of this I credit to watching so much of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel when I was younger. I just loved the costumes and the makeup and it really struck a creative streak inside me and got me feeling excited for the different looks I could try out. Working for such a theatrical company like Illamasqua allowed me to dream up more outrageous makeup looks and experiment with colour and texture which gently led me towards theatrical Halloween/SFX work.
Halloween has always been a holiday that I’ve absolutely adored – anything slightly creepy or gothic draws me in like a magnet and as a kid, I’d be excited months before the day to dress up. With the American influence on Halloween, I started to notice a shift in how people in the UK welcomed the holiday and how the shops seemed to get more and more halloween stock in year by year. Halloween was becoming big news. It seemed like a natural progression for me and I couldn’t wait to start experimenting. I first started offering Halloween makeup around two or so years ago after teaching myself in the background for months and months with the aid of YouTube and reading what products SFX artists recommended to try. I didn’t have any formal training so I spent hours at a time sitting in front of my MAC following tutorials step by step until I was satisfied. From my first Halloween as a self employed makeup artist last year, my diary booked solid and I got to create plenty of gory ghouls. Seeing the success of these kind of makeovers just made me even more passionate and made me want to push my boundaries as an artist to create more intense looks. Each year I aim to try and step my Halloween offerings up a gear so that I can offer my clients something fresh, exciting and new.
2. How long did it take to master?
With both special occasion makeup and Halloween/SFX makeup, I wouldn’t say it’s anything that you can really truly master. Of course, we can learn the foundations to allow us to be able to create basic or even avant garde looks, but I think that it’s something that is ever evolving and there’s always something new to learn or to try.
With regards to building my skills, I felt like my confidence soared when I worked with Illamasqua. Careful mentoring and encouragement from the Art Team alongside some of the most amazing artists I’ve ever met helped me to perfect my skills. I think the longest thing it took me to learn was how to apply winged liner! That can be so tricky but after several months I felt confident in applying it and finally grasped the art of breathing and lining at the same time…
As I’m self taught in SFX work, I know there’s so much more out there for me to learn and I’m so excited to discover it all and give it a go.
3. What is it about it you enjoy?
As soon as I start carrying out a makeover, be it Halloween or special occasion, I just feel so at peace and happy. It’s like finding a happy place within yourself where you feel creative, inspired and absolutely relaxed. There’s something amazing about seeing a look come together that you’ve dreamed up. I especially love seeing my clients faces when they take a look at their makeovers for the first time – giving somebody such self confidence and making somebody feel absolutely beautiful is a wonderful feeling.
I also love seeing my Halloween clients transform not only in their faces, but in their demeanour – there’s something about transforming somebody into a zombie that makes them start with the creepy walking dead noises and walking around dragging their legs. I just love how they get into character in looks and personality – it’s exciting to watch!
4. How long does each look take?
For the more basic Halloween looks which don’t include much prosthetic work, it can be anything from 40 minutes to an hour. For the more layered and gory looks and looks with prosthetic pieces, it can be up to three hours.
5. Where do you get inspiration from?
I get inspiration from absolutely everywhere right from having a conversation with my parents that sparks something off to hearing a song. I really relate to music and find that sometimes something will just pop into my head while I’m listening to a certain song and I’ll go try it out. I also take a lot of inspiration from other artists, whether that be on YouTube or in art books. One of my favourite things to do is to watch movies or TV shows – especially horrors – that are more on the creative side such as American Horror Story where my Lady Gaga inspired look came from. My mind races with ideas when I watch programmes like these and I quite literally get too excited to even sleep!
6. What’s your favourite look?
I’m torn between two so my favourite looks are probably my half and half burning zombie and my most recent Coco the Zombie Clown makeover. My burning zombie was one of the first looks I created so it has a special place in my heart! It’s always got a great reaction and it’s such an effective look. And my Coco the Zombie look was just so much fun to do and looked absolutely terrifying when it was finished. It certainly freaked me out while I was adding the finishing touches in the studio!
7. What reaction do you get from people?
The reaction I usually get from people is a little shock followed by an ‘oh my god, did you do this?! I want to book in!’ There’s nothing nicer than pushing a boundary and seeing a reaction blow up over social media – I love to shock people and create looks that they might not have seen before. Some of my family members get seriously freaked out when they see the looks I’ve created, my mum is the worst, she won’t even look at me sometimes because she says the makeup looks so terrifying. When my mum is scared, I know I’ve done a good job!
So, the last thing I have to share are my gorgeously Halloween 2015 makeovers and behind the scenes images. I hope that you enjoy taking a look through. I can’t wait to start working towards an even bigger and better Halloween 2016!
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.