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How This Young Makeup Artist is Finding Inspiration from Mother Nature
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Words by Giulia Hettwer

Grace-ann Faulkner is a 17-year-old aspiring make-up artist from Melbourne, Australia, who is currently working on a “Mother Nature” inspired project, with her peers as models for various looks. Let us know more about her and her project through our interview with her.

Q. How has this quarantine been for you? Is there anything interesting that you’ve been doing lately?

A. Quarantine has been very interesting. It definitely has its pros and cons. I got to practice make-up more and do some more baking, even though I’m not the best baker. I also started scrapbooking and signed up for a special effects make-up course which I’m very excited about.

Q. How did your interest in make-up artistry come to be?

A. This is kind of a funny story actually. When I was around 10, I started doing make-up in musical theatre but I actually hated it back then. That changed around 2 years later. Growing up, I was quite close to one of my cousins. We’re only 3 or 4 months apart in age and I was slightly jealous of her because she was really cool and beautiful. Once, she came over to my house when we were 12 and she had gotten this basic make-up kit for her birthday. After that, I was inspired to start using make-up and, for my next birthday, I got my own make-up kit. It was really just the basics like mascara, concealer and an eyeshadow palette. So, that’s when I started and I continued to do make-up as I grew up; I was that kid in 9th grade that had really bright purple eyeshadow on.

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Q. How did you come up with the idea for your “Mother Nature” inspired project?

A. It was definitely a mixture of multiple things. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of Mother Nature and what it represents. I think that looking at Mother Nature through different cultures is a beautiful thing. Personally, it also has this underlying message of women’s empowerment and women being strong but also kind and nurturing. Those messages have always resonated with me quite strongly. I also really love nature-inspired make-up so this was the perfect project for that.

Q. What does your creative process look like?

A. In the beginning, I didn’t really have a plan and just experimented with different things. I had a Pinterest board for ideas but that was it. Then, I started planning the looks in an art book with face templates. That was more organised and worked really well. Some of the looks I just go for and others are really planned out. I definitely got a lot of inspiration from nature photography, how other people viewed Mother Nature, and other make-up looks on Pinterest.

Q. What is the message behind this project?

A. The underlying message is all about women empowerment because Mother Nature represents the world and every culture, every being and every person. She doesn’t discriminate against country, race, size, weight, or height. That’s why this project was done with models from all different cultures and backgrounds to highlight the diversity of Mother Nature. It is also all about confidence because all the girls felt really beautiful during the photoshoots. Through this project, I wanted to represent the confidence and diversity that women should be proud of.

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Q. I’ve noticed that you do make-up on yourself as well as other people, do you prefer one over the other?

I don’t really have a preference; however, there’s a lot more ease when doing make-up on myself because I’m familiar with my face and what works for it. When doing make-up on other people, there’s quite a lot of pressure. You have to be careful because you never know how they will react when you touch certain parts of their face. Nonetheless, I love doing make-up on other people. I enjoy being able to enhance beauty rather than cover up flaws, and I try to listen to what the other person wants. It just makes me happy when I see how confident and beautiful my make-up looks make the other person feel.

Q. So unlike other artists, you work on a live canvas, so what are the challenges that arise when you are working so closely with people?

A. It’s been really difficult with COVID-19. I’ve been doing make-up on myself due to quarantine and also hygiene issues. With make-up in general, you have to be as hygienic as possible anyway. However, some people can get very squeamish and you never know how they will react. You also need to live up to people’s expectations. Of course, I want them to really like their look but it can be tricky because I don’t know everyone’s taste. It can also be challenging because the face is not a flat canvas; some things can look different when the face moves. For example, if someone’s eyes are closed, the make-up look can look different from when they are open. You need to take that into account as well.

Q. Are you working on any other projects at the moment or do you have any ones coming up soon?

Right now, I’ve been making a lot of make-up videos on TikTok. You can go watch them @grace.muaa. I’m also starting this special effects course soon so you can expect more looks from that. Other than that, I want to do more projects at my school, especially ones that represent different aspects of myself through make-up. 

JULY 25, 2020

This interview was conducted and condensed by Giulia Hettwer

All images courtesy of Grace Faulkner