We spoke with Florencia Taylor from London, Ont., who took home the Makeup Artist of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congratulations again on your win! How did it feel to win your second Contessa award?
It was crazy! Maybe it’s because this year the collections were amazing. They’re all amazing artists—I follow them all on social media. I really feel like any of us could have taken it this year. They deserve it as much as I do. I feel honoured.
Why did you decide to enter this collection? What is the importance of celebrating natural beauty?
In the beauty industry, on social media and in society as a whole, everyone is trying to measure up to these unrealistic expectations that you have to fit this mold; that you have to transform your whole face to look pretty and to be somebody. Beauty and makeup have walked away from it but there’s still that insecurity of showing who you truly are and being confident in yourself without having to transform your [features].
How can proper makeup techniques and tools elevate a look?
For me, makeup is as good as your tool. You don’t have to have the best of the best, but just having the right things. Learning about your skin is very important. I always say break the rules. If they tell you this brush or this foundation is what you should to use but it’s not working for you, then don’t use it—go use something else. Trends may say cowboy boots or skinny jeans are in style but if you’re body doesn’t like it, you don’t have to do it, you can do a version of it or something completely different.
Makeup can make you look 100 years older or 100 years younger—it’s about choosing the right products and not being afraid to play with them. It’s great to measure up and look for new trends but try to customize them to who you are and to your own skin. Just because something works for somebody, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Try things, do research, ask questions, look at reviews. Product reviews are super important because you can find other people with the same issues as you. Take advantage too because a lot of cosmetic brands have good return policies. Less is more because there’s always time to add more.
Don’t try to copy somebody else’s look but see what you like from it and see what you can use from it on your skin and your own personality.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this collection and how did you create these looks?
The inspiration was a mix of the 80s and 90s—when everyone wanted to be tan and dark and dewy. I started there and then it kind of evolved to a mix of eras. I love a very dewy glossy natural skin. To me, natural beauty is sexy and it has beauty on its own.
The lilac/purple mix with yellow gave off a sense of warmth and tan. For the red-headed model with freckles, I wanted to do a brown check. I wanted a nice look that was sexy and glossy and unexpected.
So, I mixed two eras and made it into one collection which literally came together at the end. I had one vision which evolved into this completely different thing but I was still staying true to who I was.
I get inspiration from the imperfect—I don’t look for balance. Natural beauty has no balance. Imperfection is beautiful and natural skin is beautiful.
What do you typically get inspired by?
I get inspired by fashion, it’s one of my main inspirations. I’m drawn to it and I love textures and I love colour but in a different way. I don’t like very bright colours but rather, ones that are a bit moody.
I’m from Argentina and the style there is very boho—it has a European kind of style. There, less is more. You don’t see people with a lot of makeup on in the streets. People are well dressed but their hair is in a bun—sometimes their hair won’t even be brushed and most people either have not a lot of makeup on or no makeup on at all. They show their skin with or without pigmentation, with or without wrinkles or botox. They have a lot of confidence. They don’t care as much and they’re all beautiful—that inspires me a lot.
What is it like to work alongside and collaborate with your fellow artists and industry experts?
I’m always brainstorming with hairstylist Julie Vriesinga; we talk at night after our kids go to bed. I’m a big believer in joining forces—building everybody up rather than just stopping people beside you or in front of you from growing. I work with a lot of hairstylists. There are about 15 or 20 hairstylists that I do work for and all of them bring something to my creativity.
What does it mean to you to end off the year with a win like this? What has this year been like for you? Why was it particularly important to you to enter into Contessas this year?
For me to finish up this year with this, means a lot. We all got scared at the beginning. Especially makeup artists—our industry, our job is more of a luxury for clients to have. It was/is the first thing that gets cut off. With this virus that is transmitted from/to eyes, nose and mouth—that’s literally what we work on. There wasn’t much we could do but try to protect ourselves so the Contessas was something we could look forward to during the hard time.
Name/Nom: Florencia Taylor
Category/Catégorie: Makeup Artist | Artiste Maquillage
Salon: Florencia Taylor Makeup (Freelance), London, Ont.
Hair/Coiffure: Julie Vrisinga
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Julie Vrisinga
Photos: Paula Tizzard