5 Minutes With... Rachel Montgomery, Aust Makeup Artist of the Year 2011

Image: Rachel Montgomery 2011
Image: Rachel Montgomery 2011
Image: Rachel Montgomery 2011
Rachel with her 'work of art' at 2011 Sydney International Beauty Expo

If there is a person who loves their day job, Rachel is this person, and it is evident in her work. With 10 years industry experience Rachel has worked with some of the best faces, magazines and photographers. This year Rachel was crowned Australian Makeup Artist of the Year 2011 and I had the privilege of chatting with the very modest Rachel at Sydney International Spa and Beauty Expo to discuss how it all came about...

Ten years ago you became a Makeup Artist – how did it all come about?
I did a couple of courses and went to assist people for a couple of years, and basically worked extremely hard for free. It has been a really great journey, and I am doing what I love so it has been worth the hard work. When I made the decision to go back and study I had no money, I put down $100 down on a course and thought if I lose the deposit that’s fine and there it started.
It eventually evolved to where I am today, but I still have a long way to go. It has been quite amazing.
When did you decide that you really wanted to do this for a living?
When I was doing my two part time courses, I met a few of the girls who were doing full time courses and they were getting so good so quickly and so I organised to do a full time course and just really threw myself into it...and eventually people started paying me which was good! (laughs)

Rachel have you always been creative?
Yes. A lot of people say you don’t have to be creative to do makeup and I disagree. It is an art.

As a Hair and Makeup Artist, are you required to do both?
I do most hair on shoots, it is important these day with the GFC. People don’t want to have to pay two separate people to come along. On bigger shoots there is a certain degree of difficulty and need someone specialising in hair. I am pretty good at hair, I am not a hairdresser but I do most.

We noticed you did the makeup for a Lydia Jewels campaign. Do you get most of your work through your agency?
Most of my advertising work is from the agency but a lot is from word-of-mouth.

Are you contracted to any beauty brands?
Not currently, I get to use a range of brands which is good.

What are your Holy Grail beauty products?
One of the things I love is MAC Face & Body Foundation – I don’t know any makeup artist who doesn’t use it. I rarely rely on just one full coverage foundation. Face & Body Foundation is just a great light foundation that you can work through the body and you can add to it so you are not getting a heavy foundation so that’s probably my number one.
I have a fantastic eye shadow palette that I use from Crown Brushes – it is so inexpensive and has actually got some of the best eye shadow pigments that I have ever used.
The last favourite I would have to say is a heated eyelash curler – put it on after mascara for a really lovely curl.

As an established Makeup Artist where do you turn to for training?
You can learn from everyone. I look to local and international magazines. You can always pick up tips from everyone – I learn tips from my assistants. You can learn from people when they are doing something without even thinking about it and I am really inspired by that. We’re all individual and I think we all have something to offer. We make the trends – we’re the creatives.

What is the best way to get in to publication and editorial work?
There are a lot of magazines you can submit your work to. You have to be aware of what each magazine is looking for. You might have an amazing shoot that is just not their style so they won’t take it. A lot of this game is not taking ‘no’ for an answer. You’re dealing with hundreds of people all the time so do your test shoots and ring beauty editors, they will eventually get to start to know you. It is all about networking.

Have you worked with any big names in the industry?
I have worked with The Pussy Cat Dolls, Cindy Lauper and local celebrities in the industry. I don’t think you can have a favourite but I have worked with Tom Williams a couple of times and he is hilarious.

Do you have tips for aspiring Makeup Artists?
Don’t give up, love what you do and don’t stop practising!

For more information on Rachel Montgomery, or to see more of her work click here.