Here at Salons Direct we are constantly engaging with leading industry professionals from the hair and beauty sectors.
We recently caught up with British internationally acclaimed make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE to find out what it takes to become an industry legend, as well as discussing a few highlights from her career.
What is your first memory of appreciating / noticing outstanding make-up?
It came from seeing my mum getting ready, she was fantastic at changing and adapting her looks with make up, hair pieces and wigs, etc. I was fascinated by the way you could appear to be so different with different ways of doing your make up. Then when I first started looking at fashion magazines I would copy the looks on myself… The work of the late make up artist, Way Bandy, comes to mind a lot.
Also, realising it wasn’t just slapping it on, there seemed to be a process – there is a difference from what works in real life and what seems to work on films and print and with different lighting.
When did you decide that becoming a make-up artist was going to be a full time profession?
When I first started to assist after finishing my economics degree and took a few months to work out what I wanted to do… carry on with further education when a chance opportunity to assist a make up artist came up. I took it up and it quickly became clear that I wanted to pursue it.
How did you make the leap to making up celebrities and other influentials as well as working in tv?
Again this came about organically, no plan was in place. I was working as a full time make up artist and when various opportunities arose I followed through and I was fortunate and not scared of trying different things. I had the notion that you never know till you try.
What is one thing you wish that you had been told before embarking on a professional career in make-up artistry?
The really long hours and the toll it would take on my back… I have made peace with it now.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to individuals just starting out in the business of make-up / beauty?
Really have a love and passion for the process, the craft of doing it, not what rewards you think you will get such as travel, working with celebrities, lots of money and fame. This will come but it takes hard work, getting on with everyone, listening to the brief, pushing your creativity and a bit of good fortune.
Be open to at least try though, this is what keeps you going in a highly competitive industry – now more than ever. Also practice as much as possible – this is a craft and an industry, don’t just copy – carve out your niche, remember you also work with other people not just by yourself.
How do you remain rooted to your profession as a makeup artist as your brand and status rises?
I try to focus on the job I am doing – if I am on a shoot that’s what I put my attention to, working with my team. It’s not about my status. If I am in brand capacity, I think and act from this perspective. I have always worked well with people and even in difficult circumstances try to remain tactful, strong with my integrity intact if possible.
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How did you feel gaining an MBE?
Amazing, one of the highlights of my career and life, I am an immigrant – this in not my country of birth and to be awarded an MBE by the Queen is a source of honour and pride to me and my late parents.
What is your career highlight to date?
There have been many but getting the MBE, the first time I worked on a Vogue cover, coming out with a brand that bears my name, still working out there after 25 years – hopefully there will be more to come, it’s not over yet
Where do you find inspiration to keep your artistry fresh and innovative?
Inspiration comes from all fields: other artists’ work, keeping your eyes and ears open, our industry, films, books, exhibitions and on the street. Everything can be an inspiration, just doing the doing with your team and colleagues you work with, photographers, hairdressers, models, art directors, stylists. Every one pushes you to rise to the challenge of being the best you can, and I certainly don’t want to let myself or my team down.
What can we expect to see from Ruby Hammer throughout 2017 and beyond?
Hopefully continue my career as a jobbing artist. I am keen to do something brand wise now, just feeling it again – keep watching this space. I have always done something if it makes sense to me, not just for the sake of appearing busy.
Other ‘Ask The Experts: Jamie Stevens | Mark Leeson | British Hairdresser Of The Year 2016: Angelo Seminara | Ted Gibson