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Vincenza Celentano shares what it takes to be a makeup artist

Do you live for all things cosmetic? If you’re a winged eyeliner expert or love creating fun holiday looks, you might have considered working as a makeup artist. Social media has made it easier than ever to get famous in the field thanks to the likes of Instagram and YouTube.

But you’ll still need a good dose of skill and persistence to make it big. Vincenza Celentano has been working as a makeup artist in the TV and film industry for more than 15 years, and has worked on blockbusters like Percy Jackson and Godzilla.

Vincenza Celentano
Vincenza Celentano

We got the chance to speak to her about what sparks her creativity and how she made it in the industry.

How did your journey into makeup artistry start?

Believe it or not, it started with me doing my kids’ makeup for Halloween! I loved getting them dressed up and they loved it, too. It was a great bonding activity for us. One year, my neighbours told me how impressed they were with my efforts – they couldn’t recognise my youngsters! They suggested I work in movies, which made me laugh. But the idea grew on me, and eventually I pursued it as a career. I’m so glad I did; I’ve had so much fun.

Before working in makeup artistry I also loved painting. My dad encouraged me a lot when I was younger; he’d call me Michelangelo, though I would always scoff at the name. But him believing in me was an important factor in me continuing to paint – I wanted to keep getting better.

What does it take to thrive in the field?

As with most things, I would say, it comes down to passion. You have to have a love for all things creative and visually interesting. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are; makeup artistry is about expressing your unique self – that’s what makes you stand out.

That being said, most of your work will be freelancing unless you sign up with an agency. This requires you to be self-motivated and disciplined. You’ll need to start gathering up experience before working on film and TV sets. You can do this at home, by volunteering or by studying; it’s up to you. The main thing is to keep practicing. Oh, and having good communication and social skills is important, because you’re constantly working with people.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Besides getting sore feet from standing up all day, makeup artistry can be really stressful. Inconsistent work and hectic schedules can leave me feeling pretty worn out sometimes. And while most clients are great, some can be quite demanding of perfection, so you don’t want to make any mistakes. This means you’ve always got to be on your A-game and stay up to date with the latest trends.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

So many things! I enjoy hands-on, practical work – it makes me feel productive. But it’s also very rewarding seeing the finished outcome. Transforming a regular person into a superstar is a lot of fun. I also enjoy helping people feel like the best version of themselves. Doing your hair and makeup nicely can really boost people’s confidence and help them feel good. And finally, I love meeting new people; everyone is so interesting!

What does an average day look like for you?

Working in film and TV means that every day is different. You’re often working in a new environment, with different clients and creating different looks. But at the same time I’ll always start the day with a cup of coffee and a quick email check. I’ll then travel to the set location, prepare my makeup, do my work and then pack it all up. My day will then finish with updating accounts and invoices, and restocking any products I need more of.

What is your most in-demand makeup service at the moment?

Definitely eyelash extensions; they’re currently really trendy. They’re great because they look amazing – they make your eyelashes long and lush – and they last for up to two months. This can save the average person a lot of time each day which would otherwise be spent applying mascara and curling their lashes. They’re also great in film and TV because we don’t have to reapply them every day, and they can be used in underwater scenes without worrying about mascara running.


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