The Makeup Mistress
A leading make-up artist with over 20 years of international beauty and fashion editorials, celebrity portraiture and ad campaigns, Nadira V Persaud’s unique style has gained her recognition as a teacher in make-up application and a regular beauty editorial contributor. Based in London, her Nadira Make-up Mistress brand offers step-by-step style and make-up sessions to achieve enhanced individual beauty. We caught up with her to chat beauty.
WP: What’s your background and where did you train?
NVP: With my As in Art I was offered a place at the prestigious London College of Fashion in the early 90s. The Theatre Studies course covered so much from Wig Making to Cosmetic Science, even more Art and History of Make-up, as well as tutoring in Hair Styling and Make up application. Although my interests leaned towards fashion at the time, the skills I came away with gave me a choice of avenues such as Theatre, Film and TV.
WP: Who were your makeup heroes when growing up?
NVP: Since my teens my interests in History and Art soon led me to being consumed by make-up and fashion, which meant spending pocket money on books, exhibitions and glossy magazines. Marie Claire Hair and Beauty magazine (sadly now folded) was ahead of its time and for me a handbook for practical beauty advice plus up to the minute key trends and tops directly from inspirational artists such as Sharon Dowsett. The Beauty Editor, Catherine Turner, was a name I followed for some time throughout my training and I was ecstatic when I finally met and worked for Catherine at Easy Living Magazine – again, sadly another one folded.
WP: Was editorial work always your goal?
NVP: Although I left LCF (the London College of Fashion) thinking I were headed for high fashion and catwalks, I soon realised my personality suited a different pace and team dynamic which led me to traipse from one publishing house to another hounding editorial teams of monthlies, weeklies and Bridal magazines until someone booked me and I’ve not stopped since.
WP: You’re known for your work with high profile clients – what makes a good personal?
NVP: Research is a top priority in this job and beneficial when working with in the public eye. Whether it’s regarding a brief, image, styling or lighting conditions, the more information prior to a job the better. I treat everyone the same by asking questions that help me help them or source online for further detail of celebrities in order to be mentally prepared with a resourceful, functional kit and ideas. It takes being friendly and approachable without encroaching on client’s private lives. And discretion goes a long way too.
WP: You’ve worked as an ambassador for many brands – what draws you to a company?
NVP: It’s a natural synergy working closely with brands, which simply begins with ‘getting it’ alongside a genuine love for a brands ethics, product or range. When consulting I take on a more in-depth approach with brands by researching heavily into their mission statement, future goals and place in the current and future markets, which helps me to build on marketing strategies to then pitch to them.
WP: You’ve added teaching and presenting to your roster in recent years – what advice do you have for makeup artists looking to move into that sector?
NVP: For make-up artists keen to broaden their skill set into writing, teaching and presenting, a focus on individual style is want these clients gravitate to: no one wants a carbon copy make-up artist.
WP: Tell us about your charity role.
NVP: Since the Katie Piper Foundation launched, I worked closely with Katie and her team as their Make-up Advisor to build up relations with brands focusing on accessibility, functionality in addition to testing specific skincare for burns survivors. The KPF colour matching service and workshops were overwhelming; something I’m most proud as it led me to becoming certified by the Scar Academy at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in Advance Scar Management.
WP: Your Nadira Makeup Mistress service offers practical support for real women of all ages. What’s been your most memorable moment?
NVP: Make up Mistress is far from a frivolous service, it’s much more than that. I ask many questions prior to booking in a session making sure it’s every inch bespoke. The most memorable moments are when I teach women who have NEVER worn make up, who have never unravelled make up packaging or twisted up a lipstick, as their mothers either never wore cosmetics or dismissed beauty as pure vanity. It’s satisfying to watch the feelings of guilt trickle away and replaced with excitement, sheer willingness to experiment AND feel good about getting noticed.
WP: What are your hero products? What’s your most recent discovery?
NVP: Beauty is 24/7 for me, especially discovering the new and unique turnaround products. British cosmetics have been impressing me for well over a decade and the awards won prove the standards are high which is why I’m all for championing homestock such as the ladies, Gillian and Katy from Tan Cream SPF 50, an instant tanner with 5 star rating Broad Spectrum UVA. Another hero of mine is Vanderohe No.1 Nourishing Serum, created by Olivia Thorpe, incredibly high on ethical standards and integrity. It takes just a few drops of this exquisite blend of oils to add a life time of clarity to skin.
At times products work best for myself more than my kit or vice versa; True North Timeless Eye 5.3 is an eye gel I use twice daily offering hydration to the orbital area; an unexpected find. And Frances Prescott Tri-Balm has won my heart and many of my clients too as the most committed 3 in 1 Cleansing, Exfoliating and Moisturising balm in a stick. It’s cruelty free, paraben free and travel friendly. I’ve no doubt these heroes of mine will win many, many more awards.
WP: What’s your next challenge?
NVP: My long-term challenge is to hang on to as much publishing work as possible while it still exists… there is still something about seeing your work on the cover of a magazine and credits too. This goes for my Make-up Mistress sessions too as everyone has access to more hacks, though I believe you can never beat a personalised service of an economical nature where you’re essentially getting to thoroughly try before you buy.
My brand consultancy work is gathering momentum with lots of interest from more British cosmetics companies who like to utilise my link between brand and the consumer. As ever, I love that my career is always varied. Diversifying as the market changes means I’m always working on something either upfront or in the background, therefore I tend not to share too soon though I will say I have lots of challenges up my sleeve including adding a new service by the end of the year.
And with the motto, “It’s beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart,” we know that Nadira’s philosophy is here to stay.