From Marcelo Gutierrez to Ammy Drammeh, these six make-up artists make you want more.
We introduce the six most promising young make-up artists in the beauty world.
If you get into the rousing beauty vortex on Instagram, you can feel overwhelmed. Almost kaleidoscopic, the colorfully decorated faces somehow all seem to merge with one another, but every now and then we see something that inspires our imagination and gives us exactly the energy that many long for after a long period of lockdown lethargy.
For example, there is a post by the French make-up artist Cécile Paravina, in which she demonstrated her artistic skills with a graduated, lacquer-like eye look in blue and green. Or the British make-up artist Mona Leanne, whose out-of-this-world aesthetic inspires us to be creative ourselves. Six of the most auspicious names from the make-up world are presented here.
Marcelo Gutierrez was born in Colombia and fled to the United States with his parents when he was five. The ambitious painter, performance artist, and filmmaker only began to take make-up seriously after he began creating wild, imaginative beauty looks for party nights in New York.
However, instead of going the usual way and initially assisting, he began working directly with creative people he met along the way, including photographers Petra Collins and Renell Medrano. One of his most important works to date was also created in collaboration with Medrano: Heron Preston's campaign for Calvin Klein with rapper Nas and model Ashley Graham, described by Gutierrez as the “moment of validation”.
Gutierrez uses make-up as a creative means of expression and makes use of queer culture, pop highlights, and the club scene, in order to ultimately relate these references to the identity of the person sitting in front of him (such as Paloma Elsesser and Troye Sivan, among others ) adapt. "I like the idea of a particular makeup look that represents how you feel about an emotional time in someone else's life, how they are perceived, and what attention they want to get."
Even when she was a child in the English town of Reading, Mona Leanne spent whole weekends doing her own make-up. "I love faces," she says. "Every face is different, so for us make-up artists the canvas is always different."
Driven by the desire to tell stories with her work, she assisted legendary make-up artist Pat McGrath for four years before deciding to set up on her own. In her work with musicians like Shygirl and Little Mix, but also brands like Vivienne Westwood, Leanne repeatedly pushes the limits of what is possible with make-up. With the result that many of her looks seem downright unreal, like this surreal rhinestone-trimmed creation or this look with floral decorations. "For me, make-up stands for freedom of expression, self-identity, and escapism. But it can also represent a form of therapy."
The Swede Daniel Sallstrom has been experimenting with make-up all his life. While he turned to one subculture after the other, he went through some expressive metamorphoses until he finally found a home in the queer London nightlife scene. "I've worn drag all my life. For me, make-up stands for the possibility of changing the alchemy of your own body, deforming it, and transforming it into something completely different," he explains.
But we're not only talking about his own body because Sallstrom has also had the privilege of transforming important personalities such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and working with brands such as Saint Laurent and Vetements. “Beauty is the key element for me,” says Sallstrom, describing what he wants to communicate with his work. “And by that, I don't mean commercial beauty. People can be beautiful even with red contact lenses, tears, or blood."
Ammy Drammeh grew up as the daughter of Gambian immigrants in Barcelona, Spain. From an early age, she loved searching through her mother's make-up bag to imitate looks from a book about make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin, who was celebrated in the 1990s. But it wasn't until she moved to London in her twenties that she began taking part in photoshoots and assisting make-up artist Andrew Gallimore.
Drammeh finds inspiration for her work in music, pop culture, Spanish folk art as well as in her West African roots, which is evident in her regular collaborations with brands like Mulberry and Gucci - there is no doubt that she is someone to watch out for to keep. She was also recently able to secure her first cover for VOGUE, with actress Thandiwe Newton for the British edition and singer Harry Styles for the American edition. "I find beauty in the unexpected," says Drammeh, "but also in a person's charm and self-confidence."
The French make-up artist Cécile Paravina would never have thought that she would end up in the beauty world because she actually intended to become a fashion designer. Bored and shirking from work, however, she preferred to spend her time watching one beauty video by Lisa Eldridge after another and creating spectacular looks to show up in her classes.
“What started out as a hobby turned into a passion,” she says. "I just have a lot of fun expressing my individuality through make-up, transforming my face, and creating my very own self."
Since moving to Paris three and a half years ago, Paravina has worked with some of the most exciting labels and names in the fashion industry, including Amina Muaddi and Fenty, but also photographer Hugo Comte and stylist Patti Wilson. Her most recent assignment was for Jean Paul Gaultier's Les Marins campaign, for which she transformed Bella Hadid into a shimmering mother-of-pearl mermaid.
The Vietnamese-American make-up artist and KVD beauty ambassador Anthony H. Nguyen dreamed of making horror films as a child. It was only when a friend of his mother gave him a make-up box with special effects that his interest in make-up began to take shape. “My family is extremely traditional and old-fashioned,” said Nguyen. "It really wasn't easy being gay, but makeup was a way to escape it because it allowed me to slip into other characters and other roles."
He perfected his skills in fashion and beauty editorials for MAC Cosmetics and finally gained recognition from his family. It didn't take long before he made it into the beauty world of stars and today he can count among his customers' big names like Katy Perry, Adele, and Dua Lipa.
Nguyen's passion for horror and character creation is still evident in his work today, for example, he recently worked with hairstylist Evanie Frausto to turn Lil Nas X into a creature out to transform another world.