It's all about the skin and just being natural for this makeup artist
I like to always encapsulate natural beauty and never ever overdo it, instead harness someone’s natural features and polish them.
In an industry worth billions and expected to only grow, we’re talking almost $8 billion by the end of 2020, it’s not new news that the beauty industry is massive. So for someone who has a passion for this beautiful world and all things skin, how do they carve out their niche and create a career that is not only unique but one they’re still passionate about.
It can be a tricky path to navigate but Newcastle based makeup artist Stevi Hopkins has been able to do just that, shaping a career that has not only stayed true to her style but her love of the industry.
Thanks for catching up with us Stevi
No worries at all it’s a pleasure
You’ve built an incredible business for yourself, was the makeup industry one you always thought you would work in?
I don't think I did, I always knew I wanted to do something creative but I never knew it would be in makeup.
When I finished school I worked in a camping store [laughs] best years of my life, had the best team ever. Then I was like Stevi you need to get your shit together and you need to do something with your life, so I started studying and that’s when I went into makeup.
Was it even a career option when you were at school?
I’m 32 and even when I first started studying at a college in Sydney, I remember telling people what I was studying and they would be like ‘beauty therapy?’, it was never really two distinctly different things, until recently. I think with the rise of Instagram that’s provided the definition between beauty and makeup, but it was really hard prior to that. Back in the 2000s when I was at school it was more a career path that was based around film and tv, that theatrical style of makeup.
So what initiated that interest?
Not long after I finished school I went to see Cirque du Soleil with my family, I had been to other Cirque du Soleil’s but there was something about this particular one, and I remember ringing my dad afterward and saying ‘I think I want to do makeup?’ and he was like ‘what?... ok?’
Where did you study at?
I studied at The Academy of Makeup in Paddington and graduated in 2008. There were loads of different beauty colleges around but they all ran over a school year and because I am impatient I enrolled at The Academy as they didn’t break which fast-tracked the diploma from 12 months down to 8 months.
It meant driving to Sydney in my shitty Lancer every day, which was hard at times but it was cheaper than getting the train back then.
What’s the difference between watching loads of tutorials on YouTube to studying at a beauty college?
For starters, the most important aspect of studying is that it teaches you hygiene and those sorts of standards that are so crucial in our industry. You also learn a lot from the teachers who have had years of experience, and that hands-on experience, watching a demonstration, then doing it, getting critiqued and doing it again.
You also learn about face and eye shapes and all those amazing things which makes you cherish the face that you have in front of you.
In saying that, online is such an amazing source of inspiration these days, so if you are feeling creatively in a funk you can revive yourself on this [smartphone] which is awesome.
The beauty industry seems to change at such a rapid rate, how do you keep up to date with all the new products and trends?
I think to stay true to your own style can really dictate what trends you pick up on, it’s not necessarily important to follow trends, especially in makeup, that’s what sets you apart from the rest. That way you can find your own niche and stay true to that, but picking styles that suit you and that feel authentic to you allows you to create your own style, which is really important.
How would you describe your style?
I am always saying there are no rules but if I was to describe my style I would say that I like to always encapsulate natural beauty and never ever overdo it, instead harness someone’s natural features and polish them.
I find that developing a style that is true to you and what you want to achieve is the priority as an artist. It’s important because it means everything you do you love, and there is a passion behind it.
Do you have one area that you love working on the most, are you an eye, lip and lash kind of person?
I am a skin kind of person. I love creating healthy, luscious beautiful skin, which isn’t done all that often. It’s easy to pile a heap of makeup on, but it’s not easy to polish skin and to teach that. The one thing I always say in my tutorials is to make sure you spend the time on your base, whether its skin prep or foundation. I think there is something so beautiful about no makeup just a beautifully well-prepped face, it kind of goes against everything I do, but there can be a happy medium.
When clients come to you to for makeup, how do you manage that initial styling process?
I never tell somebody what I think they need or what I think would benefit them, for me, it’s not about that, it’s not about me looking at someone and thinking I can change your eye shape, it’s about how I want my client to leave feeling amazing.
I always allow a 15 minute buffer which gives me time to work out what the clients comfortable with and their day to day routine. Maybe there’s something they can’t leave the house without, so we’ll incorporate that in, in saying that I do always try to offer advice for them to consider.
How do you choose what products to work with?
I try a lot and I love trying new products, it’s ridiculous and it’s so expensive, I also get the opportunity to try a lot for free, but I am really particular with who sends me products as I want to stay authentic. I would never want to tell someone to buy a product just because it was given to me, but I do have such a strong idea of what I love and what I like to use which helps with what products I play with. It is hard though, there are new brands and lines coming onto the market every day, and you don’t even see most of them because they’re launched online.
Commercial style makeup seems to be a big part of your work now, was that a deliberate move?
I made the choice a few years ago to change my direction a little bit, bridal makeup is still a big part of what I do but it’s not my focus. I wanted to be a bit different so I have concentrated on pushing the commercial aspect of my work. This means working for brands who are shooting new campaigns, some in Newcastle but mostly in Sydney.
I find that the commercial work offers a little bit more creative flexibility, I do love doing bridal, but I love the whole set vibe and that you’re surrounded by a whole bunch of creative people, and that’s cool.
If you had to give up all products except one, what would it be?
Literally moisturiser, there is no better way to keep your skin and everything intact than moisturiser.
Product wise I use a brand called Medik8, it’s amazing. I love products so much and the ingredients used in them, and with Medik8 they use vitamin infused oils so they feel really luscious and hydrating.
The other product I can’t live without is called Skinfood by Weleda, I use it every day and night in winter, it costs about $15. That’s the product I can’t live without ever. It’s an intensive balm, so you can use it as a lip balm, and it’s natural and it makes you glow. I love it so much.