5 Minutes With... Napoleon Perdis, Author and CEO of Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics

So as you might know, I am a professional makeup artist and I LOVE everything related to beauty. It started in 2006 when I decided to go forth and pursue a career in beauty therapy so I enrolled in to a course. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to because of all of the things we studied, I feel head over heels in love with makeup. Here I was - the girl who never wore foundation until she was 18 suddenly delving in to the unknown...and it was awesome! My dream career was to work for Napoleon Perdis - the King of Australian makeup. The prestigious brand that Australian women lust for, the face that we all want to become. I did work on counter for Napoleon Perdis cosmetics and I loved the whole experience but never in my life did I expect to meet face to face with my idol - the role model whom I have looked up to since Mr. Perdis launched his brand. But thanks to Sam from SassiSam, who I occasionally write for and assist, she set up what I thought would never be and suddenly I was standing before Mr. Perdis and his friendly entourage in a meeting room at Westfield Bondi Junction to celebrate the launch of his debut beauty book, Forever Flawless.

Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
Shaking like a leaf with excitement, Sam and I tried to keep our cool and focus on the job ahead: to interview Mr. Perdis. I had no idea what to expect from the man himself - would he be kind? Would he be a diva? Would he be stressed out from his busy work schedule? I was pleasantly surprised: Napoleon Perdis is a true gentleman.
When I walked over to shake his hand, Napoleon offered me a kiss on each cheek and remembered me from our infrequent conversations on Twitter!! A month before we met I had sent him a few images of my makeup work and he kindly provided feedback and he remembered our conversations which made me feel more relaxed as though we knew each other already. Mr. Perdis asked me questions and genuinely listened to my responses. Sam and I were warmly welcomed and felt prepared to conduct our interview. So here it is - my most exciting interview to date!
Napoleon Perdis, did you always dream of becoming a makeup artist?
Always from very young it was my dream. I used to watch my mum do her makeup and I always just wanted to do her makeup and finally one day she let me and I kind of always wanted to do it from that day onwards.

Have you exceeded your career expectations?
Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
LOVE that nude lip!
No not yet. I think when you put your name on something you kind of want everything so I don’t think I’ll ever come to a level where I think I’m finally where I want to be.

You have just released your debut makeup book, ‘Forever Flawless’. What made you decide to write a beauty book?
You know I just felt like there were lots of books on models, celebrities and transformations but there wasn’t just a basic good book that was modern today on simple step by step instructional, if you look at the faces they’re not photo-shopped – only what you would do on your camera, they’re a lot more natural but it’s for real people – women of all ages from teens to their seventies, to be able to just take it and even if they learn just two or three things that’s actually amazing, I just want it to be easy to use like a quick reference.

I LOVE the fact you use a mix of models and ‘real’ women. What was your reason to do so?
It was actually quite difficult casting because in Los Angeles you have all sorts of people all about beauty that want to turn up to every casting so we really tried to be quite specific and tried to be true to age and some of the issues that different skin colours are facing.

So, you had quite a lot of people apply?
Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
Oh my God it was huge, there was a queue right around the block!

How did you decide on which looks and tips would make the final cut in “Forever Flawless”?
You know I think that makeup is about telling a story. For me it’s not just about transformation – when a woman does her hair, she puts on her shoes, she puts on her outfit, she does her accessories but it’s not until she does her makeup that the look is complete and I like to be part of that story telling.

Napoleon, many women avoid wearing false lashes, and false lashes really bring out the eyes. Why do you think women are so scared?
I think we’ve had about 20 or 30 years of women’s liberation movement going in to the workforce and in the process I think that it was about them wanting that kind of equality that kind of didn’t give them a lot of time for other things. I think that women now think that women are now realizing that equality is about being the other half of humanity and so I think we’re finding a generation that is getting used to wearing lashes and taking time out for themselves because women are now realizing ‘Ok, I can have that but now I want something for me’ which is a very natural thing. We got the late 80’s / early 90’s that was such a minimalist, almost nothing look and I think there has been a series of women and girls who just didn’t know but they’re learning.

Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
Where do you find inspiration, and how do you stay innovative in a cut-throat industry?
My inspiration comes from people, number one, as I travel quite a lot. Secondly destination is really important I think when you land and you feel the energy of the location, you kind of take it and give it your own interpretation. NP Set is that definitely – NP Set is all about arriving at a destination, easy-breezy on the go glamour.

Napoleon, what trends do you suggest this season?
There’s three major trends that will be coming out and are out in the initiating crowd:
  1. Matte foundation is really in – flawless back to basic foundation and we believe that we were right at the forefront of this trend. Not only did we have China Doll foundation but now we have Boudoir Mist Spray Foundation that gives you a finish of completion to the face that’s quite sheer and it’s buildable. You can put Camera Finish over it or you can leave it to dry to a nice matt finish that still has a satin reflection to it.
  2. Lashes are going to continue to be a very large statement – fake lashes, coloured lashes, coloured mascara, different mascara textures, different mascara technologies – all of that’s going to be really big.
  3. Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
  4. And I think we’re going to be in a period where we play with colour. The smokey eye has a colour twist with the blues and the purple, a bit of green. The smokey eye has a metallic finish to it so that’s really interesting. Then the normal colour is just going to be about experimenting and playing with colour, and I’m really glad to see that because it’s actually fun.
Whose face do you most love working your magic on and why?
At the moment I really love Annalynne McCord and Shenae Grimes, they’re just two of the young Hollywood set in Los Angeles for Beverly Hills 90210 series. Annalynne is the hottest young blonde bombshell from the south in LA and Shenae is a Canadian who came to LA. She has a really tough chic edge to her and a high fashion understanding and I just love that young Hollywood set. They’re just beautiful, they’re simple, they’re down to earth and they live the way girls today want to live, and how women today really aspire to live and they don’t get caught up in the whole scene, I just love them. And they’re beautiful! They both love wearing makeup, they love making a fashion statement that pushes, and I kind of love that.

What are your tips for those suffering from acne or acne scarring?
Image: Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
  • The first thing: don’t get too concerned about the whole thing – you have to be relaxed.
  • The second thing: learn to do your base correctly. You could use Foundation Stick or China Doll and then if you need, use a little more concealer to cover and work it in but don’t feel like you need to over-cover either. Stipple, stipple (blend) your foundation and airbrush on,.
  • Then make eyes and lips a statement because the other things will fade away. It’s an old technique but it’s interesting how people don’t use it as much.
  • Always have perfectly manicured brows - great brows, great lashes, great eyes, great lips. It is important that skin is flawless but it fades away when you focus on other areas – there are so many other things to be noticed. Plus there’s enough you can do with the base that will minimize it further.
What five products that you would recommend from the Napoleon Perdis and NP Set ranges to readers?
  1. Auto-Pilot Primer because ‘not to prime is a crime’. It’s my favourite product – I never leave home without it (laughs).
  2. Mesmerise Mascara because the double wand has German technology that separates, thickens and volumises while the other end gives you length. It’s quite amazing.
  3. I absolutely love the NP Set Duo Blushes – my favourite at the moment is the Seattle palette...
  4. The Lip Veils are just gorgeous.
  5. My NP Set San Francisco Lip Colour.
You have created a successful international cosmetic brand, produced reality tv show “Face On”, founded Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy, and now the release of your book. Where-to from here?
I’m keen to move further in to South America – in to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Canada is also really important but I think I am going to wait for Europe and Asia, I mean if it happens, it happens. There’s a lot more things to do in Australia, it is my heritage. I want to bring my family back more regularly. It has taken a lot of work to kind of get America to a certain level and it still by no means is scratching any major surfaces but it’s a decent entrĂ©e, and then we’ll just see from there.

Thank you very much for your time, Napoleon. It was lovely to meet you.
Thank you, great to meet you, absolutely.

The image Napoleon Perdis took on his iPhone and tweeted to his followers.
After our interview Napoleon Perdis and I exchanged kisses on each cheek, and then took a few happy snaps together. He asked his assistant to take a photo of the two of us together on his iPhone which he then tweeted to his followers - how cool is that!! Purchase your copy of Forever Flawless here.

Thank you so much SassiSam for the opportunity and thank you Napoleon Perdis for your time.

What would you ask Napoleon if you had the chance to meet him?


melmeko said...

Hey you lucky ducky, how cool was that, I adore NP himself and am very inspired by him, even more so after reading his book. I think I am more fascinated in NP the man, rather than NP the makeup though. However on saying that I have quite a bit of NP makeup and there are some excellent pieces in his collection.
Well done Tam, you are really stepping up in the makeup world, where to from here....the options are endless with the world at your feet. Best of luck for 2011 darl :)

Pink Diva: Makeup Artist and Beauty Guru xx said...

Thank you Mel! 2010 was a whirlwind for Pink Diva Beauty and I am super excited to see what 2011 has to offer. Meeting Napoleon Perdis was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. I have always been a HUGE fan of his products as well. Would love to train at his academy one day or even be on of the student's body painting models.

DanniiBeauty said...

Great interview! I have heard so much about Napoleon, he sounds like a great guy, and knows what he wants. I am yet to start exploring NP products!

Anonymous said...

Woweee!! Great interview. Really great questions. And I guess it helped that NP was a gentleman. I have met his brother (his business partner for NP cosmetics) and they are genuinely so passionate about makeup and the brand. How cool that he tweeted a pic of you both :)

Pink Diva: Makeup Artist and Beauty Guru xx said...

Thanks so much for reading the article - I appreciate it and glad you enjoyed the read. It was so nerve-wracking and exhilarating to meet Mr Perdis but he is truly fantastic.

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