Kiekie Stanners, Senior Artist, MAC Cosmetics New Zealand

"How I ended up as a professional makeup artist I’ll never know and it still amuses me daily, however I’ve always been obsessed with the fashion industry…

ALMOST went to dance school but after receiving a scholarship I went with my first love to complete a Bachelor of Art and Design in Fashion at AUT. All I wanted was to be a fashion designer - I was sewing every day, selling my own early creations at weekend markets and in Kristine Crabb’s original store Rip, Shit and Bust.  My first graduating job was with Zambesi as a hand finisher and workroom assistant cutter, starting a lifelong obsession with the Zambesi brand, incredible fabrics and New Zealand fashion in general.

Funnily enough I had never had any interest in makeup in the slightest, apart from doing my own crude rock’n’roll groupie eye makeup, but one day I decided if I wanted to live out my dreams of living in L.A watching my favourite bands I was going to have to learn a craft I could travel with… Don’t ask me why, but I naively walked into my favourite MAC Cosmetics Store, thinking ‘how hard could this be?' I asked for a job, and have never looked back…

Alas moving to L.A never happened after I fell in love with being a makeup artist and working within the fashion industry in another creative way, for an amazing cosmetics brand. The fact that I get to be backstage where ALL of the action is happening at big shows in London, Milan or Paris Fashion Week is definitely a 360° career highlight – I will never tire of celebrity-spotting or dream-shoe-shopping backstage, or working alongside the best makeup artists in the world!  But I love bringing what I learn back to NZ, and it’s always a highlight to design makeup for my favourite designers for NZ Fashion Week shows or new season campaigns. I’m biased but I love NZ fashion – I will always wear our local designers overseas – and it’s so special to be a big part in how their label’s aesthetic and story is told with makeup.

The changes with being a makeup artist now to when I started out are huge – it seems every second person is a makeup artist on social media and of course trends can now change in an instant thanks to celebrities and Instagram! Whilst it can feel like everyone is becoming a 'professional' in the makeup world, I see it as a very exciting time to be a makeup artist – it's absolutely a viable career option with so many more opportunities now, and the ability to get your work out there on a global level. And as with anything - hard work, pure talent and your own signature style will always help you shine above anyone else!

I feel so privileged to be immersed in the fashion industry here, and not just because I can view new season collections before anyone else does, but because everyday involves a very mixed, extremely talented community of creatives, who above anything else put passion and heart into the work that they produce. There's a very special je ne sais quoi to our vision and industry here, something that is completely unique to NZ and I'm continually proud of that."