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Wendy Rowe, make-up artist


Wendy Rowe, 38, is a professional make-up artist. She splits her time between her apartment in Chelsea, New York, and her Covent Garden flat in London

"I’m used to early mornings. As a make-up artist, I’m one of the first people on set. I tend to get up about 6.30am and head straight to the gym. After a quick work-out, I’ll nip home to get ready for the busy day ahead. Surprisingly, my make-up routine is quick – I’ll apply Dr Sebagh eye cream and Face Stockholm tinted moisturiser, curl my lashes and put on Shu Uemura mascara. This is the easiest way to look good if you’re short on time – I’d also use Burberry Fresh Glow tinted highlighter for a tired complexion, and bite my lips and pinch my cheeks for healthy colour.

If I’m heading to a shoot, I’ll wear jeans or trousers. A lot of the time I have to do full body make-up or I’ll be on location and can end up clambering around in dust and dirt, so things can get messy! I’ve got a Céline jumpsuit that I love. It’s so easy to wear as it’s just like a big baby-gro, but it still feels chic. I’ll put that on with some trainers or boots before having a breakfast of gluten-free porridge with fruit, or kippers and eggs.

My job takes me all over the world – I’ve shot in the jungle in Tanzania and on boats in the Caribbean, but I mainly split my time between London and New York. So, before I leave the flat, I’ll spend half an hour talking to my assistant in America. I write a blog where I give insider tips and make-up tutorials (one of my best tips is to colour match foundation with your jawline so it blends well with your body and looks natural). I’ll chat to her about any updates or issues with the site, before heading to whatever job I’ve got on that day.

I do a lot of editorial work. This can be anything from making-up top models like Doutzen Kroes, Lindsey Wixson and Gisele Bündchen, to preparing celebrities like Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman for cover shoots. So a lot of my time is spent in studios. I also work with Burberry as an artistic consultant – I’ve been collaborating with them for over a decade. I do make-up for campaigns and shoots, as well as developing products with Christopher Bailey.

If I’m on a photo shoot, there will usually be a concept we’re trying to follow, or a theme that the make-up has to fit with. Sometimes we can spend all morning trying out different looks and making sure everyone’s happy with the hair, make-up, lighting and clothes. I’m lucky as I get to work with a lot of high-profile celebrities, but I think everyone finds getting their make-up done by someone odd. They must feel quite vulnerable. I’d be a nightmare; I can’t even sit still during a facial. But once they realise you’re going to do a good job, they relax.

One of the most memorable photo shoots I’ve done was with the singer Ke$ha, when I painted her whole face with an American flag for the front cover of V magazine. She was totally up for it, which was refreshing. My favourite celebrity I’ve ever made-up is probably Debra Messing. I love Will & Grace and I thought, ‘Don’t burst my bubble, because I think you’re really funny.’ Luckily, she was really nice.

In the afternoon, lunch is delivered to the studio and I’ll drive everyone mad with how fussy I am. I’m always on some sort of diet. It’s so boring. Sometimes they bring in stuff like pizza and I think, ‘Well of course I’d love to eat that, but I can’t.’ I’d be sluggish and fat and my skin would be awful, so I try and stick to things like chicken, fish and vegetables.

We’ll spend the afternoon – and most of the evening – working to get the pictures right. I can be in the studio until midnight some nights. If I’m shooting, I can’t make firm plans for dinner, but I will ring friends when I get to the last shot – although the last shot can take three hours as I have to be on hand to re-touch the make-up. It’s hard, but it’s worth putting the time in as you’re working on your own advertising and you have to make a good impression. If I get out at a decent hour, I’ll head to Hakkasan or Soho House for dinner with friends.

I feel a bit silly telling people I’m a make-up artist sometimes, as it can sound trivial, but people always say, ‘Ooh, what can you do for me?’ Especially men! But I don’t talk make-up with friends, we’ll chat about what we’ve been watching on TV.

I’ll get home at around 11pm and I’ll spend a bit of time working on my blog before getting some much needed sleep at midnight."



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