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Interview · Amanda Reardon (+ Mecca Cosmetica Giveaway!)

Creative People

7th September, 2012
Lucy Feagins
Friday 7th September 2012
Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Vogue.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Vogue.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Marie Claire.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Vogue Beauty.

 Amanda at work featuring Abbey Lee for Portmans!

Don't freak out on me, but today we're getting just a little bit fashiony.  In our own little nod to Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, (and Vogue Fashion's Night Out which went down a storm last night in Sydney), today we have an interview with one of Australia's most in-demand makeup artists!

I actually can't believe we've never interviewed a makeup person before.  It seems most negligent. I'm always intrigued by the secret armies behind the scenes of any fashion campaign - the art directors, stylists, photographers and assistants whose names we rarely register when flicking through our favourite fashion titles.  These are the people who make glossy magazine magic happen!

Amanda Reardon's adept brushwork has been published in some of Australia's most popular fashion and beauty magazines, including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Madison, Marie Claire, Oyster, and Russh.  She has also worked on advertising campaigns for Witchery, Portmans, Cue, Myer and Chanel, not to mention heading up Becca Cosmetics worldwide campaigns for a few years now. Though she's based in Sydney, Amanda travels incessantly, working with clients across the globe, and beautifying some of the world's most famous faces.

Aside from her meticulous makeup skills, Amanda also gets TOP MARKS from us for her use of social media!  Some people just GET IT.  We love snooping at all the little behind the scenes snippets Amanda posts on her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – and she has a fabulous little blog too.

Amanda is one of Mecca Cosmetica's favourite makeup artists – and thanks to Mecca we have a fab little giveaway for one lucky reader!  As you must ALWAYS do whenever you meet a makeup artist, we asked Amanda to list her top 5 favourite beauty products of the moment – and Mecca have generously offered each of Amanda's top picks for one very special giveaway!


Ren Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish
Stila Illuminating Foundation
Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes
Nars Outlaw Blush
Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick

Total Value $238.00

Simply leave a comment on today’s post before 10.00pm Melbourne time to be in the running!  One winner will be selected at random and contacted by email tomorrow.

Massive thanks to Amanda for her time, and such generous answers and links below!  Thanks also to Amanda's agency, Viviens Creative, for kindly assisting with photo usage for this post, and to all the photographers who have generously allowed usage of their images.

Tell us a little about your career background – what were you doing before you were a makeup artist and what led you to become one, had you always planned to be in this industry or did you accidentally fall into it?!

I definitely fell into it as I never set out to be a makeup artist. I actually got into the industry by helping friends who were starting their careers in the fashion industry back in the late 90's. I seemed to have a natural knack for hair and makeup and I loved the creative process involved. I started to test with photographers on my weekends for free, doing small shoots and slowly melding into the industry.

I inherited from my mother a love of fashion, and I had been heavily into art and photography at high school, painting with acrylics and taking and printing my own photos in a darkroom etc. I think these passions combined with studying ballet for 10 years while growing up are what led me to becoming a makeup artist (as a natural progression). My hair and makeup brushes had been put to work quite early!

The decision to turn it into my day job was, of course an easy one, I was actually working for an airline at the time as I had left school with no grand idea of what I wanted to do. It was a big change but it felt really natural which meant it was perfect for me.

I moved to New York for a short while and came home determined and inspired to work hard here in Sydney and with people I admired. I learnt very early in my career that to be respected for my work rather than who I partied with was going to take me a lot further in this industry.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Vogue.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Vogue.
Can you give us a little insight into the inner workings of Amanda Reardon Inc.? From creative brief to first brush stroke, what processes are employed to achieve editorial gold?

My job as the makeup artist is to bring a vision, an idea to life and to give it my visual signature. I am all about the skin looking beautiful and I spend most of my makeup time on skin alone. Creating a natural flawless finish to the skin is the blank canvas for the rest of my work.

Most clients, designers or fashion editors who book me know what I do either from working with me, seeing my work in magazines, via the agency website or the various social media I upload to, so this is usually how I get booked. If this is the case they will usually brief me via email or on the day and then trust me to do my thing.

Generally if I haven’t worked with someone before I will have a meeting with them face-to-face to go over ideas and get in each others' head space so things will flow naturally on the day. Sometimes I will go into a job knowing the client, model, clothes, hair, location and have a very clear idea of what I am going to do but ‘on the day’ it just doesn’t work. Editorial GOLD usually happens in these very moments!

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Corrie Bond for Marie Claire.
You've had your work published in some of Australia's most popular and acclaimed fashion and beauty magazines including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Madison, Marie Claire, Oyster, and Russh, have also worked on advertising campaigns for Witchery, Portmans, Cue and Myer, recreated international looks for Chanel. Not to mention doing the worldwide campaign for Becca Cosmetics for a few years now. That makes for an impressive CV! With this in mind do you have any advice for emerging makeup artists or creative-based contractors looking to get into the fashion industry?

It does take a lot of hard work and it takes time. It’s a very demanding job with a lot of pressure and long days and I think someone wanting to get into the industry may be surprised at how hard everyone works to make the magic happen.

I would say the best thing to do is try and get work experience assisting a makeup artist you admire, to see if it is what you really want to do. On-the-job experience is definitely the best way to gain knowledge of the industry.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nick Leary featuring Abbey Lee for Sunday Magazine.

What are your top 5 beauty products that you are loving right now?

Ren 'Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish' – I use this myself and it’s a really gentle grain with organic ingredients. Perfect to buff that dull winter skin to a summer glow.

Stila Illuminating Foundation – This product is nice and light for the warmer months.

Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes – This makes a smoky eye achievable for everyone.

Nars Outlaw Blush – Perfect for achieving the ultimate rosy cheek.

Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick – A great, long lasting lipstick available in so many amazing colours.

Which Australian designers, artists or creative people are you liking at the moment?

Bassike – These girls know what a girl like me wants to wear. Dress it down, dress it up, it's comfortable, and season to season they always come up with some exciting new  pieces that slide right in with everything else you've already got.

Benah – Brenda makes things all the classics you want. Great bags, sandals and scarves. I need to make some summer purchases!

PinkLouLou – For keep sake fine jewellery. I'm a big fan of her rings. I collect them!

Those Askill brothers are always up to some fabulous magic – Lorin Askill and his stunningly beautiful jewellery, and brothers Dan and Jordy Askill and their short films.

Derek Henderson and Toby Burrows – I have large pieces of their photography work in my home.

Christopher Esber – Amazing, conceptual and fresh. His pieces are breathtaking.

Tim Moore – His humourous stitchworks that will always bring a smile to your face.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Portmans featuring Abbey Lee.
Can you list for us 5 resources across any media that you tune into regularly?

The Beauty Brains – For me where and what products are made from is really important. I try to be as organic as possible in my kit. This website run by a group of scientists, writes about how products are tested, what the chemicals do and what the advertising lingo means. They break it down, simplifying it and have many categories that the products fall under. You can find products that are good for you and at a price point you can afford.

Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia iTunes Apps – The fact you can download it to your iPhone / iPad makes it so accessible anywhere anytime. And a very easy referencing tool. Also fantastic for taking screenshots to build a reference archive that you will use many many times.

Instagram – You can follow most of the people who inspire you and get an insight into their lives and what inspires them! I love Pat McGrath’s (makeup artist) Instagram showing looks from backstage at the international shows.

Garance Dore – I am a big fan of fashion blogs such as Garance Dore, which chronicles life and fashion, places and faces from all over the world, and she dishes it all out with a lovely dose of humour. I would love to have her as a friend, her blog makes you feel like you want to be a part of her life.

Old international films screened on SBS – The hair and makeup is always inspiring from so many eras. I love the old French and Italian films of the 50s and 60s.

ABC's Rage – I LOVE it when Rage plays old video clips from the 60s and 70s.

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Nicole Bentley for Becca Cosmetics.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Generally an early start, as I am the first person required on set to get the day rolling! If a brief hasn’t been previously discussed with the client and photographer, I will do so and then get to it asap. Time is of the essence in my job. The more time I have to do my job the better, this can be anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours depending on the hair and makeup brief.

Jobs can vary from being in a studio or on location and I can be starting from as early as 3am if I'm on location (so the photographer can start shooting at sunrise) and not get to bed until quite late, so it can be very tiring.

I do of course get to travel to some beautiful locations that I may never get to go to otherwise. Some of my assignments have taken me to such places as South Africa on safari, the snowfields of Colorado and Aspen, sunny Hawaii and Mauritius to name just a few.

I can be working on Australian or international magazine editorials, advertising campaigns, fashion shows, TV commercials, as well as working with celebrities all in the one week. You have to be very adaptable as every day is completely different to the one before, which is to me the joy of what I do. Never a dull moment!

 Amanda at work.
What would be your dream creative project?

Oh so many dream creative projects! I would love to work with Tilda Swinton and I would love to one day shoot at Versailles in Paris... with all of my creative friends and a favourite photographer.

What are you looking forward to?

Summer and just getting outside to enjoy it and its sweet smells, lovely weekends away with friends, planning some overseas trips… and getting married sometime soon (thus far totally unplanned and we’re thinking of eloping!).


Your favourite Sydney neighbourhood and why?

The Northern Beaches of Sydney. My partner Josh is from there and we go most weekends to hangout, eat at our fave café, browse the shops in Avalon and in summer we go stand-up paddleboarding on Pittwater (if Josh isn’t already surfing his favourite spots). I love the casual holiday-like vibe and would love to buy a house there in the not too distant future.

Where do you shop locally for tools of your trade?

There are some high end makeup brands that supply me with makeup for my kit, which is such a blessing as my time for makeup shopping can be very limited to random duty free moments at airports. Mecca Cosmetica and MAC are great one stop shops for last minute purchases and cover such a huge range of products.

For everything else anywhere and everywhere. From container stores to art shops, through to Spotlight, when it comes to where to shop for tools of my trade it is a never ending quest. As is finding the PERFECT suitcase to carry it all around.

What and where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?

Nourishing Quarter in Redfern – it was so deliciously good. A good friend of mine took me, she couldn’t believe I hadn’t been already and after eating there neither can I! I’ll be heading back very soon.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

If I’m not working (any day is a work day in this industry) I would hope to be getting up with the sun for a yoga class or early coastal walk, but otherwise you will generally find me at the Bondi Beach Organic Fruit and Vege Market (held at the Public school) quite early stocking up on goodness for the week.

Sydney's best kept secret?

Well it just wouldn’t be a secret anymore would it?!

Makeup by Amanda Reardon, photos by Troyt Coburn for Marie Claire.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email