Painting Faces

When Emilia Gilbert, 19, secured a place at university, she quickly realised it wasn’t what she wanted to pursue. Ditching books for brushes, she tells Olivia Otigbah about how she risked a secure career to make it in the highly competitive makeup industry.

When did you first realise your passion for makeup?
Emilia: Just from seeing people become successful from makeup art on Instagram and YouTube. I literally sit at home on a Friday night – people will be going out and I’ll be at home practising a cut crease [makeup look].

What made you take the plunge and finally pursue it?
Emilia: I didn’t enjoy going to university and it wasn’t something that I loved doing. I thought the course I was doing was something I’d be interested in, but once I started playing around with makeup I found I enjoyed that so much more.

What steps did you take to improve your skills?
Emilia: I realised to do makeup on other people you need to know about eye shapes and skin textures and hygiene. I did my course at the academy of makeup in Glasgow. The tutors there have done makeup on Kanye West and have been on tour with Paolo Nutini, The Saturdays, NYFW and worked on Charlotte Tilbury campaigns.

Photo credit: Emilia Gilbert

You have 3,000 followers and counting, how do you rely on social media to promote yourself?
Emilia: I promote myself on my Instagram, mainly to put my own pictures on. But I use Facebook for pictures of other people and you’ll get more business to do other people’s makeup there rather than Instagram.

You were sent a package from Anastasia Beverly Hills worth hundreds of pounds how did that feel?
Emilia: I didn’t think the email was real. I thought it was never going to come because it took a good month or so. It’s so weird because there’s so many people who’d pay money for it, – I’d pay for it.

What advice do you have for other young people who want to follow their dreams?
Emilia: You’ve just got to practise. Even though I do care what people think, you’re always going to be bad when you first start something. Unless you’re a god, you’re not going to be that great. I think it’s great to take pictures and videos so you can look back at yourself.

Check out Emilia’s Instagram here.

Photo credit: Emilia Gilbert