Make Up Artist Interview Feature
Editorial / Alex Kato
(Photography by Roberto Vazquez)
Where are you based?
Tell us about you! What are your hobbies outside of MUA?
Hello! My name is Rainier Croft. I am a 22-year old makeup artist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Outside of makeup, I love to travel, cook and hangout with my friends and family. I have been travelling from a young age and love exploring different countries and experiencing other cultures. This past summer, I went to Paris and had the time of my life! I love music; all kinds. I also love comedy movies, musicals and theatrical productions. I’d also just like to give a big thank you to Carnival Magazine, for taking the time to interview me and featuring my work!
When did you first discover your love and passion for make up?
The craziest thing is, I was never ‘supposed’ to be a makeup artist. Maybe that’s a little harsh. I never, ever would have guessed that I would be a makeup artist. I thought that for sure, I would be a basketball player! All my life I had received athletic scholarships, finishing high school in North Carolina and attending Miami Dade College for a year, before returning home to Canada to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It was actually my mom (who has always encouraged me to be creative) that suggested I look into special effects makeup. Halloween is my favourite season of the year and I grew up watching Star Trek and Sci-Fi movies with my Dad. I was really into the idea of being able to bring some of my craziest and creepiest ideas to life. The college I attended, Sheridan College has an Advanced Special Effects Makeup program, but one of the only ways to get into it is to do the two-year Cosmetic program; which is more beauty/fashion oriented. I absolutely hated it. It wasn’t until I got a job at MAC halfway through my two years that I actually began to enjoy it. Not just enjoy it, truly love it. I love editorial style makeup. To me, it is such a mix of so many art forms coming together to create these amazing images. The makeup artist, the hair stylist, the photographer, the model, the photo retoucher; these are all artists in their own sense and the energy in the studio is always so positive. All it took was a couple fashion shows and fashion weeks and I was hooked.
How long have you been working as a MUA? Where did you start your career in make up?
I would say, I officially started working as a makeup artist when I started at MAC two years ago. Before then, I had done some gigs here and there. I even interned and did some of the makeup for season one of Hannibal on CityTV, but my official start was definitely at MAC. Was I nervous being a student while working for one of most recognized makeup brands in the world? Of course! But one of the most important lessons that I have learned in this industry so far is that you cannot be afraid to take risks and you cannot be afraid to try. From MAC , I went on to work as a key MUA for Artdeco Cosmetics in the Greater Toronto Area before getting an additional job as a beauty expert at a Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique. Now, I juggle that with as many photoshoots that I can fit into my schedule. I just did Latin American Fashion week, which was such a blast!
Tell us about your work? What is it that you love most about make up within this industry?
I love very unconventional makeup looks. To be very honest, I try to stay away from wedding and prom makeup. Not that I have anything against it, the artists that truly enjoy that division of the industry are just as talented as anyone else, but it is just too ‘simple’ for me. Quite boring, actually. I probably shouldn’t say that, but its just not really for me. I love crazy hairstyles, bold eye-shadows, heavy contours; true high-fashion styling. That is definitely more my passion. I am a big fan of art. I feel that editorial and runway makeup is my art and my contribution not only to the makeup industry but to the fashion industry as well. Though I am very new to this industry (I only graduated this June!) I have learned a tremendous amount about it and made some great connections, working with veteran artists and photographers who have definitely helped me in many ways.
What is/are your favourite product(s) to use?
Right now, I am loving Smashbox Cosmetics. Their lip liners are amazing! They are so pigmented and they glide on incredibly smoothly. The wide range of primers make prepping the skin simple for any and all skin types. I have always like pressed powders. MAC introduced me to pressed powder foundation and I love how easy and convenient it can be for the everyday woman on her way to work or running late. Whatever the situation is, a pressed powder can be an absolute bail out when you don’t have time to go through your regular makeup routine! I recently started playing with concealer sticks and I am loving their simplicity. Smashbox also has great concealer sticks!
Which MUAs most inspire your work?
I am a really big fan of Roshar. He is by far my, I would say 'idol' in this industry. His work is really phenomenal and the creativity behind his shoots, the concepts, the makeup, it is just stunning! Sam Fine, who also shares a similar background, starting off at MAC and then branched off into a more freelance career. He is also a fantastic makeup artist. Though he deals with more of a celebrity clientele, he is also behind some of my favourite photo shoots. I should mention that I’m also huge a fan of Kim Kardashian’s glam team members Mario Dedivanovic and Joyce Bonelli. To be able to contour and highlight the face the way that they do is simply unbelievable.
What sources of inspiration do you use when planning shoots and looks?
I like to think outside of the box. Whenever I get absolute creative freedom, that is the first thing that comes to mind. " In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different "- Coco Chanel, is one of my favourite quotes. It’s even on my website that I'm currently working on launching. I just love what it stands for and I try to incorporate that quote, even if only in subtle ways, into every one of my shoots.
What do you find most challenging about the industry and MU artistry?
The thing is, the industry is very competitive and I love that. It is very easy to fall out of the loop of things and become stagnant, which are both terrible. I always like to try and keep up with new trends and looks. What’s in? What’s out? The makeup industry is constantly changing, constantly evolving. I think that a lot of the time, especially seeing how broad the makeup industry is, artists don’t quite know the direction that they want to pursue a career in and just end up not trying. Once you find exactly what it is you love about makeup, whether that be retail, runway, bridal, it is much easier to then establish a plan of attack and establish some goals.
Tell us about some of the creatives you've had the pleasure of working with.
Toronto Men’s Fashion Week just past in August. It was the first of its kind, and also was my first fashion week! It was huge! I had done fashion shows prior to this but the scale that this fashion week was on was just unreal. I had the pleasure of working with Esteban Ortiz and Claudine Baltazar, both amazing artists. In school we were always told the horrors of fashion weeks, such as MUAs being sent home, yelled at, threatened with unemployment and so obviously I was beyond nervous! But all in all, it was such an incredible experience and I cannot wait for the next one. Rob Pizzuti, who lead the hair team behind Toronto Mens fashion week was also incredible to work with. There would be times where a model would leave my chair with one hairstyle, and leave to go walk with another in a matter of minutes. The entire hair and makeup crew was just a pleasure to work with. Photographers Roberto Vasquez (featured) and Constantine Digovets are two photographers that I’ve been working with since TOM* and they both are just fantastic. They both know the result that I hope to achieve and have done nothing short of amazing work. I also had the pleasure of working with Tina Picard, who previously featured in Carnival Magazine Issue 01. She is the definition of the word 'photographer' and it shows. Everything that she shoots is gold. I would love to work with Patricia Recourt, Ishmil Waterman and Matthew Guido. All three are definitely very creative photographers that I would love to collaborate with. I recently had the pleasure of working with Oscar/Academy award winner Chris Landreth (photographed) who actually let me hold his Oscar award. That is something that I’ll never forget.
Where can we find more of your work, where has it been previously published?
I’m currently working on launching my website, link within this feature. It will not only feature my work but also behind the scenes photos and videos. I’m really excited about it! You can also see some of my work in Vogue Italia, who covered TOM*, Fave, Novella, Zen and Black Beauty Magazine as well. I’m so glad to Carnival Magazine to that list!
Tell us about one of your favourite shoots you’ve worked on. Who was working on the shoot? What was the concept and theme? What did you love about it?
(laughs) I don’t know if it would be very fair of me to single out one shoot as my ‘favourite’. I work with a lot of models and photographers and stylists and they’re each amazing in their own way. I do love indoor shoots. Outside shoots are fun, but I prefer having somewhere secluded to set up my makeup and create a work area. The shoot that I did with Tina Picard was great! After admiring her work for so long, I finally decided to email her, simply introducing myself as an MUA that would love to work with her. Her reply was a location and a time and she asked if I was available. Just like that. We did a crazy eye-shadow blend of rustic colours and a very strong contour. Fave Magazine then went on to publish that shoot, which at that point was my first publication, so that was incredibly special.
Tell us about the featured photography, editorial with model Alex Kato and photographer Roberto Vasquez.
We had originally planned this shoot as a test shoot for photographer Roberto Vasquez, a 22-year-old Fashion & Commercial Photographer based in Toronto, Canada. Roberto is also a fashion show director for several runway shows, perhaps the largest being Toronto Men’s Fashion Week. Roberto just wanted to experiment with colour gels and both Alex and I were not only available, but more than happy to be involved. We had all met at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week and had exchanged contact info in hopes of working with each other. As mentioned before, this was only supposed to be a test shoot. It would be the first time that he would be shooting in that kind of light as well as the first time that I would contour in black, which is considered to be a makeup artist no-no. As Roberto was shooting however, we all started to really love the way the images were turning out and felt that they had an editorial feel to them. The colours were turning out beautifully and combined with the work of the stylist, we agreed that we would not be happy settling with this work of art being labeled as a ‘test’. Roberto and I will both be heading to Montreal, Canada this weekend to work on our first fashion film together titled ‘A Night To Remember’ and are very excited for this opportunity.
What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting projects lined up?
I would absolutely love to get signed to an agency. I think that once my website is finished, I will start applying, because that is seriously one of my biggest goals right now. On top of the photo shoots that I have planned here in Toronto, I will be travelling to Montreal to work with Alan Ta, the winner of the White Cashmere Collection competition. He is a Montreal based fashion designer who is doing amazing, amazing things. One of the things that I love about this industry is how unpredictable is. I can get a call at 4am and have to be ready to do a shoot by 6. You never know what can happen! Right now, I’m just trying to stay as busy as possible.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a MUA? Do you have any tips or pointers?
If you have a real love and passion for makeup, then go for it. I hear a lot of aspiring artists concerned about unsteady income and lack of support from their family. I say go for it. If you love it, just go for it. The clients will come, the money will come, but you will never know if you don’t try. Submit to magazines! What’s the worst that they can say? No. Ok, keep it moving, do another shoot. This industry isn’t going to just welcome you with open arms. You have to work for it. Stay in the loop. If there are any workshops going on in your city, go! Attend seminars, ask questions, email some of your favourite artists! You would be surprised at how many are happy to answer questions that you may have. But most importantly, have fun. Enjoy it. You never want your passion to turn into obligation.
BEHIND THE SCENES
A / With Chris Landreth
Oscar Award winning animator Chris Landreth and I, photographed by Roberto Vasquez. Chris was very down to earth and very lovely to work with.
B / My MUA Kit
I have a very supportive family. They always encourage me in many ways. Sometimes, my uncle will buy me a whole new kit of new products for me to test. I’m always buying makeup and always trying to play with colours and shades. That’s how you learn!
C / With Fashion Blogger Kyle Hoto Reid
This was at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week. Fashion Blogger Kyle Hoto Reid came backstage to interview some of the models and designers. I was asked to demonstrate how to do ‘male makeup’. It was his first time getting his makeup done!
MUA / Rainier Croft
MODEL / Alex Kato @ Sherrida
FASHION STYLING / Camille James
HAIR STYLING / Rainier Croft
RETOUCHING / Mads Bjerre Henriksen & Ula Szczepaniak