Makeup Artist Spotlight: Emma-lee Court
This month my Makeup Artist Spotlight is shining brightly on the incredible Emma-lee Court. You may know her as the boss lady of The Makeup Wardrobe (located on King Street, Newtown in Sydney's Inner West) or recognise her from recent BuzzFeed 'Glitter Beard Tutorial' fame (If you didn't see it you can check it out here).
I met Emma a few years ago when I booked in to get my makeup done for a masquerade party. If there was an award that night for the best mask, I know hands down I would have won! The detail and creativity she put into it was amazing and I received compliments all night! I have also attended her Halloween Workshops where she shared her SFX tips and tricks so I could turn my boyfriend Jason into a zombie!
Artist, entrepreneur, teacher, glitter queen - Emma is a constant source of inspiration and there is literally nothing she can't do!
When did you first realise you wanted to be a makeup artist?
When I was a kid, I got a Tin of Derwent water colour pencils from Santa, and I would dip the ends in water and draw cuts and bruises on the kids in my street and charge them 10 cents- so I think the makeup gene always ran strong, lol.
How long have you been working in the industry?
14 years- woah, saying it out loud makes me feel ancient!
Which makeup style is your forte?
I like to think I'm a Jill of all trades, but I suppose my character, body painting and theatrical looks are what people love- anything with sparkles and guts.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt on the job?
Learn how to find the beauty inside your clients, then, scrubbing up the outside is easy- figure out the mask they need to wear that day, then paint it on.
Most memorable / favourite makeup job you've worked on?
I don't know if I have a favourite job specifically, but 2015 Halloween was the biggest undertaking my makeup studio had ever been involved in. I had 21 staff working over 7 different venues and 55 back to back bookings in the shop. I was super proud of my team and my business, that we were able to accommodate such a mammoth clientele and create some amazing makeups over the one weekend.
Top 5 products in your kit you'd be lost without?
Monda A5 steel palette
Ben Nye Fx Creme Palette
Mehron Celeb Pro Foundation
Buxom Cream Highlighter 'Divine Goddess'
Unrefined Coconut Oil
MUA you admire
Loaded question! Here we go: If we are talking old school, I love Pierre La Roche (Rocky Horror Picture Show, David Bowie) he was a pioneer in theatrical and beauty makeup that showed no constraints by gender and was uninhibited by social standards. I love Whitey Shnieder, Marilyn Monroe's Artist, as he was her friend and confidant and was responsible not just for her makeup but for creating and maintaining one of the most recognisable icons of the 20th Century.
In film you can't go past Ve Neil and Rick Baker, both such amazing artists, who were responsible for bringing so many of my favourite movie characters to life!
Bodypainters, I love Nelly Recchia and on the instagrams I'm always so excited to see what @phiphiohara and @powdah transform into next!
In fashion, Pat McGrath and Alex Box win it for me and in the art world creatives like Cindy Sherman and Yasamasa Morimura tap into something deeper than just aesthetic value. That's the great thing about makeup, there are so many talented artists to be inspired by in different ways!
If you weren't doing makeup you'd be...
Geez, I'm not sure! I've been doing this my whole adult life, I went through a stage when I was a teenager when I wanted to be an archaeologist, then a commercial broadcaster, then a country music singer... I'll say 'Professional Wig Whisperer'.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a MUA?
I'm gonna sound like an old lady here, but I think a lot of people get into makeup now days because they love to 'beat' their own faces and love the transformations they can achieve on themselves, they love to explore the medium and then capture it on social media-which is fab, and a totally valid form of the craft. However, in my opinion, our job as makeup artists is to make OTHER people look and feel great about themselves, to be able to look at ANYONE's face and see a blank canvas of possibilities and paint on it, a masterpiece. If you are after glamour, this is not for you, I spend most of my days with glitter and grit under my nails, glue in my hair and sneakers on my feet working really long hours always in the shadows. Although if you genuinely love bringing people's alter ego's to life, helping them with their war paint and making them feel confident and look fab then you've picked the right profession, and you'll be amazing at it.
Photo 1: Hair & Makeup: Emma-lee Court // Photographer: Ashlee Savins // Model: Emma-lee Court
Photo 2: Hair & Makeup: Emma-lee Court // Photographer: Ashlee Savins // Model: Gloria Kolya
Photo 3: Hair & Makeup: Emma-lee Court // Photographer: Nancy Trieu // Model: Pebblez Ink
Photo 4: My team for Mardi Gras 2016 inside The Makeup Wardrobe