Those who know me know that I am a red nails and red lips girl all the way. I also have severely sensitive skin (get the wrong product on there and I look like an eczema ridden circus clown), and I used to have acne so I am conscious of scarring which needs covering. And my hair is a short box-bob so an up-do is out of the question. Unaware of my seemingly endless list of requirements, the “lucky” Natalie Willingham rocks up at my parents’ house one Saturday to do mine and my Mum’s make-up for a ball. I stick the kettle on as she unpacks bag after bag of kit.
“I had 75% of the necessary kit before I even started my training!” She laughs as the kitchen table starts to resemble a make-up counter. That ‘kit’, by the way, costs £4000. £4000!! She has 52 lip glosses alone.
Natalie spent 18 years as a HR Director, took redundancy and re-trained as a hair and make-up artist. But it wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds,
“I have always loved make-up but I had only ever done my make-up – not friends, not family, just mine - so it wasn’t always obvious I would take this route. Then I went on a 1 day training course at Cheshire Makeup Academy with Richard Harvey . After learning how to apply the perfect base I just knew – this is where I want to be.”
She progressed to a 3 month course and Natalie Willingham MUA was born. After coercing me to err away from red lips just for one night to embrace the smokey eye, she primes my face whilst chatting away,
“I love the transformational power of make-up, its flexibility. I am a make-up addict. I don’t discriminate on any brand level. If a product does the job, it does the job. I do a lot of bridal make-up, event make-up and editorial work and been lucky to work with Urban Coco.”
Urban Coco launched in Summer 2010. An online magazine with a fashion and music focus, it provides a platform for emerging talent. Two lucky ladies featured on the front cover have had their faces painted by Natalie: Hatty Keane and Etta Smith. The Etta Smith feature in issue 4 looks like Alice in Wonderland on crack. So where does Natalie get inspiration?
“Street style, magazines, TV, blogs. I work better under pressure though, so even when we have signed off shoot moodboards I will see the stylist’s pick on the day and ramp up my ideas or get creative and change my mind on the spot.”
She is finished with me –a smokey eye and a nude lip - and my Mum takes her seat. Natalie explains each product she uses with care, even taking the time to make a note of the ones she thinks my Mum should buy. I have one more question –when I do go back to the red lipstick, what’s your top tip for keeping it on?
“Make sure your lips are dry when you put it on – no balm, no vaseline. Blot. And use Lipcoat. Lipcoat has been around for years so they must be doing something right.”
Kudos to her for getting her first published image featured in Hello magazine. I have a feeling you will seeing Natalie’s handiwork a lot more in the future…