If you’re a lover of Instagram and all things beauty, you’re probably already following at least one or two makeup artists or beauty pages. But what goes on behind closed doors? What is it like to grow up in an academic-driven environment when your dreams are silver-lined with exciting cities, endless photoshoots and a never-ending supply of luxurious makeup? We caught up with Rebecca Owen, formally known as Becca (MUA), who you may have spotted on Fragrance Direct’s IGTV in between her time working as a freelance hair and makeup artist blessing the faces of many beautiful brides and Nasty Gal models.
Did you always want to build your own business?
I did. I think as a makeup artist it’s a natural progression. I was a hairdresser first and I never worked for myself – it was always for a company. Then I worked on the counters at MAC [cosmetics] and I think you just naturally build into going freelance.
Growing up, what careers were you advised to go in to?
Definitely not hair and makeup. When I was at school obviously it’s very academic-driven and I was like, “No, I want to go and do hair” and I wanted to do makeup at the time, but they never came hand in hand. It was either hair or beauty and even then, it was just a tiny bit of makeup because you know I’m 31, I was 16 at the time and if you were a makeup artist everyone said, “Well what job will you have?”. I was very much guided into doing A-levels and going to uni and all my brothers and sisters did. But I wanted to go and do hair and I knew I was more of a creative type then and I’m just glad that at the time I followed what I knew and went into hair from there.
What would you say is the best thing about makeup?
How it makes a person feel; empowered and confident. When I’ve done someone’s makeup it’s not the final look, as in I’m not looking at how beautiful they look it’s just the feeling of seeing someone walk away – it’s just the empowerment of makeup.
What one product would you say is the most empowering to you?
Definitely a lipstick. The days I feel tired or feel a bit down or I’m in a rush or anything like that, I feel like with a lipstick you just put it on, and you look more pulled together. Even if you don’t want to be seen on one of the days, just knowing that you’ve got that makes you feel more confident.
Would you say that you’re often creative and experimental with makeup or are you a lover of natural glam?
On other people, I’m creative and a lover of bold makeup. On myself personally, I’ve had many years where I used to experiment with makeup and when I go out, I like a smoky eye but I’m not as experimental on myself. But on other people, definitely. I just love how you can tell a story with it and to be able to create that is just amazing.
Would you say social media has changed the game for you at all since you started?
Definitely, yeah! I was having this conversation with friends the other day who are makeup artists. When I first started out, social media didn’t really exist – Facebook did but you would never put your makeup on there, it wasn’t really a thing. I feel like I grew and qualified in makeup and became a makeup artist outside of Instagram, so I’ve had to teach myself how to be better on Instagram. That’s why even now, I’m not the best but it’s such a powerful tool and it’s taken me a while to get my head around it and put myself out there. It’s amazing really.
Who would you say throughout your career you’ve looked up to?
Makeup artist-wise, I would say that when I first started out, I used to watch Lisa Eldridge who’s a professional makeup artist when I did makeup in my early twenties and she was just amazing. She did tutorials and was always a bit different from everyone else and I used to think, “I want to live in London and be doing shoots all the time” and I just really looked up to her and felt that was what I wanted to do. Then other makeup artists along the way I look up to and admire are a lot of MUA’s I follow on Instagram like Nikki DeRoest and HarryMakesItUp [Harriet Hadfield]. From the beginning I just really admired them, thought they were really like me almost and they were just really down to earth.
What advice would you give to other aspiring hair and makeup artists that want to work for themselves?
Follow your dreams. Follow your passion. Don’t compare yourself to others – it’s the worst thing you can do especially where Instagram and social media are so big, you just can’t compare yourself to other people. Everybody goes at their own pace. I’m 31 and feel like I’m only now at a point where I’ve still got so much to grow and so many things that I still want to do. I’d say don’t try and be someone else. Makeup is creative, hair as well, and there is enough room in this industry for everyone!