Complections was really excited to catch up with graduate MinMinMa, who recently joined The Plutino Group in Toronto. Since graduating 9 years ago, MinMinMa has been published in an impressive number of fashion magazines and worked with many celebrity clients, including Penelope Cruz and Eva Longoria.
What made you want to become a make-up artist?
I was interested in art, design, photography, cinema and sculpture at a young age, so I knew that I would eventually find my way into the creative field. While growing up in Montreal, I used to watch Fashion Television and Fashion Files religiously. Seeing zen-like make-up artists work their magic in a chaotic backstage caught my attention. Somehow, I identified with them.
Why did you choose the 6-month Intensive (now called the 26-week Comprehensive) program at Complections?
The 6-month intensive program offered everything from theatre to fashion make-up to special effects and prosthetics. I wanted to try everything out before deciding what to specialize in.
How would you describe your experience at Complections?
It was awesome! One amazing teacher who I still think about to this day was my theatre instructor, Kelly McCallum. He is a master and an inspiring human being.
What sort of jobs did you get after graduating?
I wanted to pursue a career in the fashion and beauty industry, so having a print portfolio was as vital to me as a piano to a pianist. After I graduated from Complections, I spent a lot of time building my portfolio and testing with different photographers. I was eventually recruited by an agency, The Artist Group.
Which magazines have you been published in?
I have been published in many different magazines: Vanity Fair, British Grazia, Elle (Canada/USA), Entertainment Weekly, Fashion, Flare, Glamour, Maxim, Nylon, Shape, Women’s Health, 125, Amica, Biba, Blackbook, Chatelaine, Country Living, Dress to Kill, Heat, LouLou, More, Paper, Ponytail, Sir, Soma and Trace.
Tell me about your role as Beauty Director for Lush Magazine and Highrise Magazine.
I was part of Lush’s original editorial staff. I was responsible for conceptualizing, managing, creating and producing all editorials and photo shoots for the beauty department. I covered the hottest products and spas around the world, spoke with industry gurus and discussed the latest trends and news in the cosmetic industry. I also worked closely with beauty companies and learned their marketing, branding and PR structures. Since I come from the visual world, imagery was, in my opinion, a key component to the success of Lush Beauty.
Highrise Magazine was a Canadian biannual publication geared towards men. Unfortunately, I only worked on two issues before it closed down at the end of 2004, which consequently resulted in the birth of Lush, established by the same Creative Director.
How did you get involved with the Plutino Group?
After The Artist Group, an agency I’ve been with since the beginning of my career, closed its door, I met with Roseanna Plutino and Cathy Ledrew, who I’ve known over the years. We clicked right away: we spoke the same language and strived for similar goals. I knew right then that we would make good partners in crime.
Have you had any celebrity clients?
Celebrity clients that I’ve worked with include: Penelope Cruz, Angela Missoni, Eva Longoria, John Legend, Kelly Osborne, Lenny Kravitz, Lily Allen, Taye Diggs, Bare Naked Ladies, David Usher, Emily Hanes, Evanescence, Keisha Chante, Fabrizio Filipo, Feist, Finger 11, Jessica Pare, Kelly Rowan, Imogen Heap, Ladytron, Matthew MacFadyen, Mika, Mos Def, Natalia Kills, Natalie Imbruglia, Peaches Geldof, Sam Roberts, Sarah Polley, Soko, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Tracy Hudson and Vanessa Carlton.
What has been your favourite job to date?
This is a hard question to answer because I’ve met great friends and shared amazing experiences from one assignment to another. So in a way, all of my jobs are my favourites.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement as a make-up artist?
I believe that great achievements are cultivated with time and consistent effort. I don’t know if I have seen my greatest achievement just yet. I am more focused on doing the best I can in everything, everyday.
How can graduating students get involved with fashion photography?
The first step to working in fashion is building a strong portfolio. Graduating students need to test, test, and test some more. Not every shoot you do will or should end up in your book. Be selective – look for quality and not quantity. You also need to collaborate with photographers, wardrobe stylists, hairstylists and models, with whom you share similar tastes.
Do you have any other advice for current students?
Being a freelancer is great because you get to choose your own schedule and lifestyle. However, life is full of ups and downs and so is freelancing. Make sure you pack a full dose of passion and determination. Passion will justify bumpy roads, and determination will help you sail through them.
What are your future plans and goals for your career?
You will just have to wait and see. 😉