How One Make-Up Artist Went From Working Three Jobs To MUA To The A-Listers

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Maggie Hunt is a world renowned makeup artist, a leading name in the fashion and beauty industry and a beauty expert whose extensive experience has seen her work with some of the industry’s top photographers such as David Bailey, Terry O’Neill, Lord Snowdon and Mario Testino. Her work has featured on countless magazine covers including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler, Elle and The Sunday Times (to name a few).

Her creative flair combined with her passion and exceptional talent within her profession have drawn numerous famous names to her makeup chair including the opportunity to work on ‘The Official Engagement Photographs’ for HRH, The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

In this interview with The Style Edit, Maggie tells all as we discuss the importance of respecting all individuals on set, taking a creative approach to stress and the one beauty trick everyone should master.

What does a day in the life of celebrity MUA, Maggie Hunt look like?

Everyday is different so I must be very organised and make sure I get to where I’m going in good time as the studio, the client, the photographer, the celebrity/model, hairdresser and fashion stylist will have changed and perhaps even the country!

What’s your favourite part of your job? 

I love being creative but more important than that is achieving beautiful make-up that fits the brief and at the same time pleasing yourself and everyone else too.

Is there anything you would change about your work life? 

No, I wouldn’t change anything about my life at work but sometimes when people are rude to anyone in the crew I do feel like saying, “respect everyone!”

Name one item you couldn’t live without

 Maggie Hunt Make-up Brushes.

How did you first get involved in the beauty industry?

At 16 I became a fashion model so I learnt a great deal about the photographic industry and how a face could change if you were photographed and made-up by great people.  I had always been creative so in my early 20’s I studied art in the evening. At 24 I passed exams to become a beauty therapist and then studied further to become a make-up artist.  At the beginning I held down three self-employed jobs but in a way they were all interlinked…model, beauty therapist and make-up but once make-up took off I gave everything else up.

Photographer: Eamonn J McCabe

What was your first ever job and how did it prepare you for your current role?

I remember Serge Krouglikoff asked me to do make-up on a model for Miss London Magazine but initially I didn’t feel confident but Serge said, ‘You can do it!’ So I did and after that there was no turning back.

What are your travel essentials?

Wherever I go in the world I take my portable kettle and teabags as a cup of PG Tips in the morning and a cup of Verveine (Verbena) at night keeps me grounded.  I hate mosquitoes because they love me so I always have Jungle Formula spray with me.  I have lots of mini products and what I cannot buy in mini I decant into my own pots.  I think I have travel essentials down to a fine art as I have a travel essentials bag always ready.

How do you deal with stress?

I don’t really get stressed or fazed as I deal with life in a creative and methodical way.  People around me get stressed but I don’t let them stress me out and if they are being aggressive or ridiculously stressed I just either keep my mouth shut or tell them what they want to hear and that keeps them quiet.

Whats your favourite item in your kit right now?

Maggie Hunt Make-up Brushes.

What advice would you give to aspiring MUAs?

There is a broad spectrum of jobs that encapsulates this profession and some are easier to get into than other. Make-up artists can be employed or self-employed everywhere, however in my opinion if you want to get into editorial or film then you should enter it via another profession such as a model, hairdresser, photographer, fashion stylist, journalist or artist. 

Photographer: Eamonn J McCabe

What’s one beauty hack you think everyone should master?

Being able to paint in eyebrows so they look natural and beautiful.

What’s your worst habit when it comes to beauty?

I don’t think I have a bad habit but perhaps I do not spend enough time on myself.

You have an impressive portfolio of celebrity clients. Can you tell us how this first came about and how it felt landing your first celebrity client?

You don’t really notice the evolution of your work or the building of your celebrity clients as it happens gradually.  I had been working with British Vogue and the photographer Lord Snowdon with a number of titled ladies; then one day Vogue and Snowdon said: “Maggie would you be free to work with us and Lady, Diana Spencer.”  So I said, “OK.” Then they gave me the details of photo shoot with HRH, The Prince of Wales at Highgrove for ‘The Official Engagement Photographs’ with his future bride but even then I didn’t think about the importance of this event; for me it was a great day with people that I enjoyed to be working with.

Photographer: Lord Snowden

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way within your career? 

Be yourself, be kind, be creative within the realm of the brief, be reliable, enjoy to be with your team and to inspire each other. 

How do you think the beauty industry has evolved with the emergence and popularity of social media over the last few years?

I feel that the beauty industry has changed almost beyond recognition and there are some brilliant people out there but there is also some dreadful social media beauty coverage.

What motivates you?

My imagination and my life.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

I’m mostly inspired by photographers and their images.

What are the biggest misconceptions about a career in the beauty industry?

That girls are sold a dream of becoming a make-up artist to the stars.

How did you first approach building your make up kit?

I have always believed that it is more what you have in your head and do with brushes the counts. So I started with the essentials then acquired make-up as I went along.

What does your everyday beauty and make-up routine look like?

My own routine is very simple with liner, mascara, cream blush and lip gloss.  Then I stay healthy with optimism, swimming, eating well and having a simple life outside of my work.

What’s your biggest focus/goal right now?

Looking forward to the unexpected.

Maggie Hunt offers 2 hour 1-1 makeup lessons in her London studio at a cost £300. For more information follow Maggie on Instagram @maggie_hunt_makeup_artist or visit her website maggiehunt.com

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a freelance writer covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman. Niamh is also a blogger at niamhserena.co.uk and podcast host of Werkin’ On It.

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