Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Merton Muaremi: The Master of Make-Up

Earlier this month, I had the enormous pleasure of sitting down with one of Australia's most respected and inspiring talents in the make-up industry. Merton Muaremi is a Melbourne born and based make-up extraordinaire, who is currently working his away across Australia teaching Master-classes, including Canberra, for those who wish to learn from him. With a background in the Visual Arts, Merton has an original take on make-up - using his skills and knowledge of colours and facial structures to really bring out the absolute best in each of his clients.

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With a long list of celebrity faces he has worked with, and a repertoire spanning more than 11 years in the industry, this humble and passionate man was a delight to speak to. I was so thrilled that he was able to make time for me and the myriad of questions I had prepared for him - and was in fact so fun to chat with that at times it was easy to get sidetracked. I did however, do my best to stick to the questions - and Merton if you are reading this, thank you for all your patience! Merton's passion and love for what he does is so genuine. In every word spoken it is clear to see how this hard-working individual has found such great success - with dedication, commitment, staying true to himself as an artist, and generally being an all-round lovely human. Scroll down to learn more about Merton, his tips for making it in the industry as a make-up artist, and his top 10 must have's for every beauty-loving girl's make-up bag. 

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Q. Reading the bio you have on your website, it mentions a background in the Visual Arts - could you tell us a little more about that, and how that helped you to shift into the world of make-up artistry and hair styling?
Well, it started in Art in Primary School, and never thought that I would get into make-up - the thought had not even crossed my mind. I did as many art subjects as I could throughout my schooling, including ceramics, graphics, visual arts... I then got into Uni. I did love drawing, I loved painting, but it still didn't grasp. Something was still missing for me. I ended up packing up and moving to Sydney and came across make-up completely by accident! Initially I thought I would get into special effects make-up but as time went on I really began to love the fashion aspect of it. I think in terms of make-up my art background has really helped me to understand colours and face shapes and I think that comes from my graphics background as well. Being able to analyse a face and know the right pressures to use - understanding the mediums to use when applying make-up. Art also helped me to understand products and the use of products and applying the right colours to different faces.
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Q. Would you say in a way there is a science to looking at a face and being able to see those mediums and know where to apply pressure?  
Yeah there is, and a lot of people do ask. I try to teach as much as I can about that and how to be able to look at a face and understand the structure. For some it comes easier than for others - like with everything. Some people find it easy while others have to train a little harder. I definitely do not hold back in my master classes and try to give as much of myself and my knowledge as possible.

Q. Your work has taken you across many parts of Australia, as well as overseas – most recently to Europe. Where in Europe have you been working, and what part of that experience has been your favourite so far?
I had planned to move to London so travelled there and was fortunate enough to score a job working with ZARA and was there for about 5 or 6 months. I then decided to continue my travels and found myself in Milan for a month before moving back to Australia. My favourite part of that experience was really just how passionate I was and how determined I was to get to where I wanted to be. I worked so hard while I was there. London for me was really more about self-growth. So that's the lesson I took away from that experience in London which was just amazing for me.
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Q. The list of publications you have in magazines is quite amazing – you’ve done work for the likes of Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar, Shop Till You Drop, In Style as well as Marie Claire – just to name a few. These are certainly more of the "fashion and beauty" enthusiasts’ choice of reading material, which really speaks to our readers as a fashion and style blog. Could you tell me a little bit about what it’s like to work behind the scenes on a magazine shoot?Yeah it is definitely a collaborative effort. Everyone works together - the photographer, stylist, hair and make-up stylists etc. We are usually given a mood-board beforehand of what we are trying to achieve for the shoot. It's our job to create a story with what we've been given in the brief. Generally I do tend to work with other people in the industry that I know but I think that is just a result of being in the industry for so long and having worked with so many different people over the years. It's great to work with people that you trust and it's important to trust each other's vision.
Q. You’ve also worked with some pretty well known celebrities – who are some of your favourite clients that you’ve worked with in the past or present? And who would you most like to work with in the future?
I have really loved working with every client I have ever had. Every single one of them have been amazing to work with and have all brought something different and have been really lovely to me. In the future I would say that I would definitely love to work with Cara Delevigne, Taylor Swift, and I also love Kim Kardashian.
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Q. I did notice that you have also worked with Sarah Donaldson of Harper and Harley. I remember coming across her about 3 years ago on Instagram – she has come a really long way and has made a substantive name for herself in the beauty and fashion industry, and has quite a strong sense of personal styling. One of the things I love about her blog is that her looks are always accompanied by really natural and flawless make-up. Do you have any tips for our readers on how we could replicate this at home?
For me, make-up is a personal choice - so how much or how little you want to wear is totally up to you! If you want to rock false lashes at dinner and it's going to make you feel good - then go for it. Sarah's got the features, and for me make-up is about enhancing your features, so I would say play to that - if you've got full lips flaunt them. If your eyes are your thing then play to that. In terms of the skin, finding a really good base is important. Try to cover up the blemishes and get rid of any redness and that will give you a good base for that flawless looking skin.
Q. Merton you seem so passionate about what you do, which is so lovely to hear and totally inspiring. Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring make-up artists who are trying to break into the industry?
I have been doing make-up for about 11 years now and it honestly doesn't even feel that way - I absolutely love what I do. I have learned in the last few years that work won't always come to you, you really have to create your own network and create your own buzz. I would say to other make-up artists - don't focus on other people. When you focus on other people you waste time that you could essentially be spending on yourself. It's something I say even to myself sometimes, it's a constant motivation. Especially when you are a freelance make-up artist. You need to constantly be putting yourself out there - just do your own thing and work hard. I remember back when I was studying, I clocked more work experience hours than anyone else in my course because I arrived early every day and was the last one to leave. It never felt like work to me because I loved and enjoyed it so much. But if you want to be successful you have to work, and I think that's an important thing for other aspiring make-up artists to know. I also think being a make-up artist is about the full package - your presentation, personal hygiene, and being friendly and approachable.

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Q. And of course what all of our readers would love to know - what are the 10 beauty products every woman should have in her make-up kit, and what are some of your favourite brands or picks?

1. For skin: MAC or Chanel are my favourite for foundations. It's really important to find the right colour for your skin, as well as the right consistency for your skin type.  

2. For eyebrows: Kevyn Aucoin Precision Eyebrow Pencil in Brunette. 

3. For eyes: Stila Palettes are amazing - at the moment I am loving the Stila Mind Palette and the Soul Palette. The Mind Palette is all matte with neutral tones. So you can really go for something natural during the day and work it up to something heavier for the night time. The Soul Palette is also full of beautiful neutral tones - but has a mixture of matte and shimmers. I also love Tom Ford in Cocoa Mirage. These colours are really velvety on the skin and glide on beautifully.  

4. For lips: I love Japanese Maple by MAC. It's a really beautiful neutral colour. Chanel 297 lip-gloss is also another favourite. I also love Greek Holiday by NARS.  
5. For contouring/bronzing: MAC Bronze Powder in Bronze.

6. For highlighting: Too Faced 'candlelight' highlighting powder duo for serious highlighting.
7. A really good primer is important too - find one that works for your skin type.  

8. Eyeliner - Blackest Black Eyeliner Gel from Inglot - will literally not budge once it dries.  

9. Mascara - Maybelline! Great Lash Mascara.  

10. Lashes - I only use Model Rock Lashes. They have such an amazing range - everything from natural looking to something more dramatic! For more natural looking lashes I would recommend the 411, and for something a little bigger I would go for the 464.  

By Melissa Daniels @beauty.and.thebasics

Check out more of Merton's incredible work at

Merton will be holding a booked out Wing it! Sculpt & Highlight make-up Masterclass in Canberra on Sunday 2 August

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