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Q&A with Gabrielle Jones & Dianne Ensor: Directors of The Makeup School

Q&A with Gabrielle Jones & Dianne Ensor: Directors of The Makeup School

V: Can you tell our Verve readers a little about yourselves?
G&D: Both of us have been makeup artists for over 20 years and our careers have covered all genres of makeup specialising in film and television. Our work has given us some amazing travel experiences along with the opportunity to work with renowned actors and film technicians.

It was time to share our combined wealth of knowledge. In  2007 we launched The Makeup School in Ponsonby.

We felt that New Zealand was in need of an up to date training facility run by makeup artists from all different backgrounds who actually work in the industry and know their craft. Our vision, which we are proud to say we have kept true to, is to employ only tutors who have at least ten years in the industry and are still working.  We are also committed to using only actual industry defined products, whether it be a fashion/beauty brand or special effects makeup.

We keep student numbers low in order to really focus on each and every student.

We are passionately about this industry and understand how highly competitive it can be for graduates starting out. Our aim is to impart as much of our knowledge, technical skill and industry experience as we can to each student walking through our doors.

The makeup industry, whether beauty, fashion or film/ television is all about having a competitive edge over the next person. We believe we provide our students with the edge they need to succeed.

We still absolutely love working in the industry whether it be on a movie starring Tommy Lee Jones (Emperor has just been released in the US), an offshore television commercial or promising students or graduates work with us on the bigger jobs. Witnessing those students working as professionally qualified artists is very rewarding for us and really completes the circle.  We feel lucky to have a wonderful balance of tutoring and running TMS along with only taking freelance jobs that appeal to us.

V: Perhaps let our readers know about a typical day in the life of The Makeup School.
G&D: No two days are the same here at TMS.  We are lucky to have very cool premises, which we have slowly developed and expanded since opening, so coming to work is a pleasure.

Depending on the syllabus you could walk into the studio one day and see some incredible fashion makeup/hair being created and then on another day students could be simulating a nasty burn or a shotgun wound. The body painting module is full of inspiring creations and gives the school a real buzz!

Along with full-time students in our main studio we have our lovely smaller studio and that is booked regularly for private, individual or small group lessons.

We interview potential students throughout the week with whom we prefer to meet individually (or in groups of two) so we can really focus on individual expectations of what the school offers along with discussing career opportunities after graduating.

We collaborate with lots of amazing people on many creative projects from short films to fashion shows and of course have a great relationship with MAC cosmetics and Dermalogica in particular, so there are people in and out all day from opening to closing time.

We also spend a lot of energy organising work experience or lining up jobs for both our current students and graduates.  As you can imagine there is quite a lot happening!

V: You have developed fabulous teen classes – tell us about these?
G&D: We just felt that it was an area of training that had been overlooked and that young girls would really enjoy and benefit from this sort of workshop. We have created a comprehensive three day holiday workshop that runs all year.

It teaches girls a simple approach to skincare using Dermalogica’s brilliant teen skin range ‘Clean Start’ along with learning a clean fresh polished day makeup, a soft smokey eye and loads of makeup tips and tricks using MAC cosmetics.

Feedback from these workshops has been amazing and we are really happy the girls are feeling positive about them.

V: Would you consider classes for women in their 50-70’s whose makeup regime made need a change?
G&D: Absolutely! We already offer one-on-one lessons that are open to anyone. A lot of our clients are mature woman who feel a little stuck in a rut with their makeup routine.  Our philosophy is less is more and we all know that our skin changes as we get older.

We need to rethink how we approach our makeup application to create a fresher more youthful look.

V: What do you think are some of the most common mistakes young girls and older women make when applying makeup?

G&D: Young girls wearing too much foundation is a common mistake. We want to see your beautiful skin girls! We try and teach an approach of breaking the skin into zones and concealing only where necessary.

Mature woman can run the risk of not updating their makeup and skincare regime – using incorrect products that don’t nourish the skin, wearing too much foundation and overdoing the shimmering eye shadow, all of which can be aging.

V: Do you have a favourite brand of makeup? Or do you both use a variety?
G&D: We have a strong affiliation with MAC and feel very lucky to be able to use their products daily in our classes and on freelance jobs but there are other great brands out there. When you open an experienced makeup artist’s kit you are bound to find many many different brands of makeup.

V: Can you see The Makeup School developing its own brand of makeup?
G&D: We currently have the TMS shop in our studio that supplies products to makeup artists but we are very excited to be working on our own brand ‘Makeup Collective’ which we hope to have up and running by Christmas with an online shop.

Although we will have products that every woman can purchase, we will be focusing on makeup artists in the industry.This will include makeup brushes, kits, t-shirts and other amazing ‘must haves’ for working as a freelancer. This is a huge expansion for us along with everything else we are doing but we really want makeup artists to be able to buy locally instead of everything having to be imported.

New Zealand has come a long way in the fashion/beauty/film industry and it’s only going to get better!