Makeup Artist: Celia Burton ¦¦ Interview with an Industry Insider
Do not be fooled by her age, for our first interview with an industry insider we talk to make up artist supreme Celia Burton. Currently signed to CLM UK and still only in her early 20’s, Celia has achieved a beautiful & impressive portfolio of work which ranges from editorials in Stella to Dr Marten campaigns right back round to the cover of top magazines such as the The New Review & Wallpaper. She has a beautiful story & offers advice to any one wishing to become a make up artist.
Nickname: CC or Ceece
Star sign: Cancer
Favourite city: New York
Favourite food: Courgette… and biscuits. But not together
Favourite song: ‘You’re all I need to get by’ by Aretha Franklin
Favourite film: High Society
Favourite piece of clothing: Black oversized coat by Agyness Deyn for Dr Martens
Complete the sentence…
I wish tomorrow I could… get round to doing all the things I didn’t have time to do today!
I will never forget… shooting my first iD cover with Scott Trindle & Caroline Newell.
In the future I will… carry on just as I have been, working very hard and not taking anything for granted.
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Explain to us your journey so far- who have you worked with/ worked on?
In a nutshell- I have worked with photographers such as Rankin, Scott Trindle and Tyrone Lebon, for magazines like iD, Lula and Wonderland, touching the faces of many beautiful people including Juno Temple, Suki Waterhouse, and Agyness Deyn.
You are still young and yet you have achieved so much, how did you get into the beauty industry originally?
My auntie Pearl was a makeup artist so I think I was always interested in it, although it didn’t come to head until she died in 2006. I was at her funeral, surrounded by all these fabulously creative people, who were all asking me what I wanted to do, and I said it out loud for the first time. I decided I was going to pick up the pieces Pearl had left, (quite literally – I still use her brushes today) finish my a-levels and just go out and risk it. Luckily I wasn’t completely on my own, I had the help and support of my aunt’s friends and colleagues, particularly Louise Constad who ran a makeup school and gave me my first makeup experience.
Make up always sounds so glamorous but what do you love & hate the most about your job?
I honestly wouldn’t be able to give you one thing I hate about my job, not yet anyway- ask me again in 15 years’ time!
But really, I essentially play dress up all day every day, how could I hate that? I help create a beautiful image, and everything else is worth putting up with just to see the finished result. I love my job.
When you think about your goals for the future, what would be your dream job or client?
While I’m still young, I’d love to work and travel with an artist or a band, especially one that has a specific look. My aunt Pearl toured with artists like Blondie, Boy George, Siouxsie Sioux – she helped create looks that defined an era and no doubt had some incredible experiences on the road… I’d love to do that. In the future, I just want to continue being creative and happy, try new things, maybe live in a new place. Not sure yet.
Would you like to produce your own range of makeup? If so, what would be your trademark product?
I’m pretty passionate about natural and ethical makeup and products. It’d be amazing to see a line of makeup that is purely ethically sourced, with rich pigments and visible results. But I wouldn’t know where to start in creating it!
You have done a lot of work with Agyness Deyn, how did that come about?
I worked with Agyness back in New York in 2009. My friend Joachim Johnson was staying in her apartment while she was away. When she returned, Joachim and I shot a couple of portraits of her for a project he was working on and after that Agyness invited me to work on a shoot for her online magazine ‘Naag’. I didn’t see her again till Jan 2012. My dad came downstairs one afternoon and was like ‘I’ve just been skyping with your mate Aggy’. Mortified, I asked why he was skyping with a super model and more importantly – did he really know her well enough to be calling her ‘Aggy’?! It transpired that Agyness has decided to start acting and she was coming to London to be in a play my dad Matthew was directing. Reacquainted, Agyness asked me to help her with all the press stuff she had coming up in the UK for the play and her debut film ‘Pusher’, and the rest is history. She has been incredibly kind to me, opening all sorts of doors that had previously been closed to a young makeup artist, and is now a good friend of mine. She’ll tell me off for saying it, but I owe her a lot.
What advice would you offer to anyone that wants to become a makeup artist?
Try to say “Yes” to everything. As long as you leave a job having learnt something, positive or negative, it was worth your while. Before I settled into makeup I was always doing something else – I was a runner on a film set, FedEx-ing fashion magazines from London to an agency in New York, working backstage at London Fashion Week. All these little jobs and experiences gave me the opportunity to explore every aspect of the industry and appreciate how many things have to go wrong in order to get everything right in the end.
What’s the best way to start?
Avoid wasting years (and £££) sat in a classroom at university studying makeup. Unless you’re studying something very technical like prosthetics, you don’t need it.
Learning on the job meant that I was continuously being put out of my comfort zone; so I had to pick it up quick or end up disappointing myself and the client.
Go somewhere to learn the basics (Louise Constad’s BeautyQueen course is brilliant) and then get out there and do it. Testing with photographers is a great way for you to build your book and get experience. There are so many makeup artists now, if you’re not getting yourself out there then hundreds of others will overtake you.
Since you have worked on so many amazing projects, what has been the best job you have done to date?
It’s got to be the Dr Martens Campaigns I’ve been working on. Agyness has been designing clothes and footwear for the brand since last year and she’s on her 3rd collection now. For each collection we have been somewhere different to shoot the campaign, the first was in Joshua Tree in the Californian desert, the second in San Francisco and we’re just about to shoot the third (but I’m not telling where). Each trip we take is with the same team so we all know each other now and we have such fun. Plus, it’s just amazing to work with two such iconic British names; Agyness and DM’s.
Do you have any special beauty tips, tricks or products you can tell us about?
I’ve preached the same beauty tips throughout my career:
– Keep your skin healthy, hydrated and moisturised.
– Don’t over pluck your eyebrows, tweezer happy is not a good look.
Everything else just comes with taste. Wear makeup that makes you feel good and confident and if you find a product that works, stick to it!
Do you prefer full & dramatic makeup or do you prefer working to create a natural finish?
It depends on what mood I’m in or what kind of week I’ve had. 60% of the time, I get on set and the photographer turns to me and says ‘so we’re thinking very natural makeup, keeping it young and fresh…’ and my heart sinks a little. Although I love working with skin and it pleases me to see the models in minimal makeup, sometimes I just want the photographer to tell me to throw paint in her face and mix it up a bit.
So the summer is (meant to be) coming, what should we be doing with our makeup?
Don’t over powder, I know you don’t want to look sweaty so you can powder a bit, but makeup artists spend a lot of time recreating that summer glow – it’d be a shame to lose it completely.
This summer, keep your skin and eyes clean and wear a pink or peachy lip… that’s if the sun ever comes out!
What piece of the face do you love working with the most?
I guess it depends on the girl. Every model looks different; a great shaped eye or crazy brow excites me just as much as great skin does. Every day a different model turns up and I get excited to work with what they’ve got, and what I can do with it.
And finally…If you weren’t a makeup artist, what would you like to be doing?
That’s an easy one – I’d be working in music.
I worked as an A&R consultant (alongside the makeup) for Universal music up until the end of last year, it’s a shame I couldn’t continue doing both but I felt it was time to focus on one, and I chose makeup. It’s definitely something I will go back to at some point.
Follow Celia on her tumblr here: http://muckmeup.tumblr.com/
& twitter here: https://twitter.com/celiaburton
View her portfolio here: http://www.clmuk.com/hair-make-up/make-up/celia-burton
Thank you Celia!! It has been a pleasure… x