Tell us a little bit about yourself – where are you from, do you have a family?
I live in sunny St Albans, I’ve been here for 6 years, moved up from London, I have a little girl, Amber, who’s five. Hertfordshire is a flourishing area and where most of my clientele come from
Are you in the middle of a project now?
I’m always in the middle of lots of projects! I do make-up trials on a daily basis, I just met up with a bride who is getting married this August, and I am in the process of getting my studio established. The studio is in St Albans on London Road, and I am a trained teacher. I have written my own hair and make-up course, and the first group of students came in April for a week and they have just qualified with their diploma. It’s for those who want to train as make-up artists. (The Make-up Girl Training.) We also do make-up and trials for anyone, not just for those wanting to do a diploma, anyone who wants a new fresh look. I find a lot of mums move up to St Albans, having changed jobs or had children, and sometimes they experience a loss if identity, and I thought it would be great to have a studio where you can come in and have a complete make-over, hair, clothing, and walk out as a new woman!
How long have you been in the business?
I started when I was 18 doing make-up for my friends and family, then I went on to do a degree in Visual Communications. I moved down from Yorkshire to London, worked in sales and marketing, did fitness management and trained as a personal trainer. But after a few years I went back to my true passion of hair and make-up. Once we’d moved to St Albans it became a full time career, and I love it, absolutely love it! As soon as I get my make-up brushes out all my worries disappear!
What do you love about your job?
I love meeting people and making brides happy. I have brides come to me wanting a particular look, and it’s so lovely to help them realise their dreams. I quite often have brides cry – tears of joy!
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about doing make-up for weddings?
The challenge is perhaps trying to fit in too much on the day of the wedding with a large bridal party, so I have assistants that help me manage everybody
What do you think are the trends this year?
A lot of brides are going quite retro, the vintage look, although very few are bold enough to carry off a complete retro look. I had an email from someone who’d seen Mad Men on TV and loved one of the hairstyles which was very bold. I’m getting a lot of requests for a high bouffant hair style, and some for a wavy look to the side. Make-up tends to be soft, if retro then a bit stronger, with red lips and eye liner
What has been your most memorable booking and why?
Last New Year’s day I did 8 people in the bridal party plus the bride in three half hours which was good going, especially as the bride wanted a complicated hair style involving two inch hair pieces and twirling them into loops and pinning them into the hair! I often have people wanting to shadow me to see how I work and they can’t keep up!
What do you think of the wedding industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
Each year I have more bookings than the last, so I see the business growing – people are always getting married! As we come out of the recession I can only see it getting better
My own wedding, getting married on a beach in Barbados
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Getting my high heels stuck in the sand on my wedding day with everyone watching!
A website and/or blog you like?
I do use Facebook. Other than that www.sofeminine.co.uk have forums and chat room and loads of information about health, fitness, beauty, lifestyle, children, work – absolutely everything. I go on there quite a bit. Also www.guidesforbrides.com
What talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to sing! I’d love to be Beyonce for a day, or Rihanna!
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband of course, and my daughter
Something that is overrated?
Your favourite film of all time?
Groundhog Day – there that’s an embarrassing moment! (Laughs) I’ve seen it about 50 times!
A book you’ve enjoyed recently?
I’m reading David Nicholls – One Day – I can’t put it down
What ambition have you yet to achieve?
With the studios up and running I’d like to have my own make-up school in my own building
What would you say has been the main key to your success in your business?
Hard work – ridiculous amounts of hard work. Not giving up
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become professional and do what you do?
Be prepared to work long hard hours. I sometimes don’t see my husband and daughter at the weekends. I quite often have six weddings in a weekend. I have 14 weddings in August and I’m still getting enquiries which I have to turn down or pass on to other make-up artists. You have to take the job seriously as your reputation is everything
Three tips for brides?
1 Don’t have a spray tan – you want to look radiant and beautiful, not like a bright orange Umpa Lumpa
2 Don’t drink too much champagne on the morning of the wedding
3 Be yourself, don’t try to be someone else. If you like Cheryl Cole’s hair and Dannii Minogue’s eye make-up you can have something similar, but you can’t be them. Just be a better version of yourself!
What is your most treasured possession?
My new car. It’s a red Audi
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Not having to worry – I’m a great worrier. I’ll always find something to worry about!
What would your superpower be?
Flying – you’ve got to be able to fly! (laughs!) [said with no hesitation!]
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
One of my tutors, when I was training, said, Shahnaz, no matter how tired you are when you get back from a job, always wash your brushes before you go to bed. Because if you wake up in the morning with an 8 am appointment, there’s no way you can do it then. It’s all about preparation
Your favourite indulgence?
This is terrible – eating crisps while watching East Enders! And handbags and shoes
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Well there would be some opportunities if I could sing and fly! (laughs) I’d probably be in management, or sales and marketing
Tea or coffee?
Cat or dog?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Hopefully still in St Albans with a bigger studio and an up and running make-up school with perhaps a team of five or six make-up artists working with me
If you had one wish…
Fewer wrinkles [laughs - I'm not counting that!] Some proper time off – a month in Antigua over Christmas would be good
Thank you, Shahnaz, it’s been brilliant talking to you