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The only time I ever used makeup was when I grabbed my mother’s foundation to cover a hideous pimple before a date. I wish I could say that happened when I was a teenager, but I was in my mid-twenties.

Why did I just tell everyone that? Not sure, but here is a true makeup professional who’s mastered the art of making people look their best and not just the odd blemish either!

Here’s my conversation with Brae Toia, Makeup Artist…



Did you always want to be a makeup artist? Or did it just happen?
I used to be fascinated by watching behind the scene snippets of fashion shows. I think I always wanted to be a part of that buzz and excitement of making someone look and feel beautiful or as part of a character. I’m grateful to do something that I enjoy and feel passionate about every day.

Where does a typical day take you and what are you usually doing?
Freelancing means that I start work at different times every day. I love the variety of working in so many different mediums and meeting new people. Some days I’ll work out of a studio and other days I’ll be set up on a beach.

“Some clients I work with are amazed that I don’t wear anything except for lipstick!”

Is there a character stereotype for the job you’re in?
A lot of people that don’t work in film think that makeup artists are glamorous with heaps of makeup. Some clients I work with are amazed that I don’t wear anything except for lipstick! Don’t get me wrong, I like dressing up for a special occasion, but my daily routine is a lot simpler.

What sort of projects do you work on? Anything we would have heard of?
I do anything from designing makeup for plays and runway shows to corporate events and weddings. I do South Island shoots for Bauer Media and other editorial and photographic work.

I also do TVCs and some of the feature films that I have worked on include ‘I Survived a Zombie Holocaust’, ‘Sunset Song’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

“I will come off a big TVC and realise that I’m unemployed.”

How has your part of the industry changed since you started?
When I first started TV work 14 years ago, everything was very matte. My main job was to make everything even.

With HDTV, makeup has become less cakey and more natural. It’s more common these days to see a news presenter with bright colours and glossed lips.

What are the current challenges for people working in your industry?
As with any freelancing work, it can sometimes be hard to have regularity. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of regular clients, but occasionally I will come off a big TVC and realise that I’m unemployed. It can be hard, but so rewarding.
What equipment are you currently using and why?
Because I do such varied work, I have different kits. One is full of my basic beauty makeup, another is full of special FX makeup and an additional kit with prosthetic bits & pieces.
My basic beauty kit gets the biggest workout and as you can imagine, I can go through some products fairly quickly, so I am constantly topping up.

“I get irritated by models that don’t respect the makeup or hair that my team or I have done.”

What makes your job more difficult?
Find a reputable school to study through and if there isn’t one in your hometown, move.

If you’re more interested in special effects than beauty makeup, make sure that you go to a school that specialises in that. It’s the easiest way to start a kit, get experience and hone your skills. Then once you have graduated, you never stop learning.

Why did you join Freelance Directory?
I was introduced to Freelance Directory by a producer-friend of mine. It’s a great site to see what’s going on around the country and to make connections.

VIEW BRAE’S PROFILE