Interview: Rae Morris, Beautiful Eyes

| 28 January , 2010 | 8 Replies

Tammerly Holmes, Pink Diva Makeup

This has got to be the most beautiful book I have read and admired in a long time. As a makeup artist, I am obsessed with makeup and beauty books but there hasn\’t been a book that caught my eye like this one. It seems Rae Morris, Australia\’s very own award-winning Makeup Artist, also has a knack for teaching. She explains techniques to achieve catwalk and campaign looks, bringing Beautiful Eyes from runway to reality. The guide even provides easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to create each look, making even a beginner feel like a pro!

After four years in the industry, I am still learning new things. The brow section, lash guide, and eye colour charts really intrigues me. It is amazing how false lashes can accentuate makeup and the shape of an eye. While many of us enjoy experimenting with colours, many are unaware of shades to compliment their eyes, or how a brow shape can add years to your face.

Like Rae Morris\’ first book, the photography is extremely beautiful and the images are absolutely stunning and I find myself opening the book and studying the makeup on many occasions. If you love eye makeup, or have wanted to learn how to apply eye makeup then this is the perfect handbook for you (and it fits perfectly in your handbag!)

And we were lucky enough to score an interview with Rae, so excited:

Rae Morris, international hair and makeup artist has won numerous awards in her career. Having recently launched her second makeup book, Beautiful Eyes The Ultimate Eye Makeup Guide, we had a chat with Rae about her love for makeup and teaching.

Rae, you have been in the industry for almost 20 years, but you didn’t start out as a makeup artist, did you?
That\’s right, I was a hairdresser in Brisbane. I bought in to a salon with my family and back in the 80\’s I was a model for a minute which is where it all took off. I was asked to go to Istanbul to model when Naomi Campbell asked me to touch up her lips and I was snapped by  paparazzi over there. Suddenly people were trying to hire me as a makeup artist.

After your ‘discovery\’, did you learn the art of makeup, or did you teach yourself?
I trained with Richard Sharah, David Bowie\’s makeup artist, and my career evolved from there.  I was a successful makeup artist before training with Richard, but he streamlined me and corrected my techniques.  He gave me something to compare to and I noticed such a difference. I would say my career has really taken off over the past 10 years but I am still learning. I learn something new every week – especially on international fashion shows, it\’s when you start to realize you are good! I\’m a workaholic& I love it!

You specialize in many areas: hair, makeup, body art and teaching. Do you have a favourite?
I love teaching but couldn\’t do it full time. I just did a 10-day course and couldn\’t do another day because I was just exhausted. When it comes to hair and makeup, I have to sacrifice myself because I tend to focus more on one or the other. It is hard to put your full concentration and effort into doing both, but I prefer makeup. I also body airbrush which I would say is probably my least favourite.

‘Australia\’s Fashion Make-up Artist Winner of Excellence\’ for 2002 and ‘Make-up Artist of the Year\’ winner 2003, 2004, 2006 & 2007! You live the life many can only dream of. Can you believe how far you have come?
I always tell people that I was nominated for these awards – I didn\’t enter myself. Images are chosen by a panel without names on the designs and then I would find out I was a finalist. My book has been a best seller many times too – but it doesn\’t happen overnight.
I wouldn\’t have believed I could have gone this far when I was 20, but at the same time I still feel I have somewhere to go. I shouldn\’t say this, my trophies are doorstoppers – sometimes I think I\’m a hoax, I don\’t think good of myself.  Richard Sharah taught me to give away everything you have, and to share everything you know because then you will want to learn more – and it\’s true.

You have worked on international campaigns and magazines as well as working with the likes of Kelly Rowland, Pink and Jessica Biel. Do you still pinch yourself?
I think oh my god, how did I get booked for this?! There are definitely nerves for those types of jobs. I have to make sure I am so on top of my game.  I think, Woah this is intense and I do a lot of research beforehand. I study their face to see what does and doesn\’t work – these jobs have the most pressure.  It\’s all about winning them over – do you chat, do you not chat? You find out how each celebrity works, are they going to book you again, are they not? Each celebrity is different too – one celebrity won\’t let me touch her face, while Pink says to me ‘Do anything you like\’.  I\’ve worked with every Australian celebrity you can think of.

Who was your first celebrity? Darryl Hannah was the first celebrity I worked on.

And your favourite celebrity? Pink – she\’s the ultimate.

Have you had any funny / nightmare experiences you can share with readers?
Once an airbrush gun clogged up and it started to back-spray everywhere at New York Fashion Week. When Heath Ledger was alive, I was doing Simon Baker\’s makeup thinking he was Heath and I was chatting on and on about Brokeback Mountain until someone had to correct me.  When I was 14 I glued someone\’s false lashes with nail glue &she\’s probably still wearing them!

You have taken your teaching skills to the next level and just recently released your second makeup book, Beautiful Eyes, The Ultimate Eye Makeup Guide (which we LOVE). Why did you choose the eyes?
The main question I am asked is about the eyes  – people don\’t know what colours they suit. Whether you\’re hopeless or an expert this book will be useful. Students, colleges and institutes use it across the country and all over the world.

In Beautiful Eyes you also note the importance of well-groomed brows to ‘frame the face\’. Why do you think many women disregard their importance?
Because they detach them from their eyes and they shouldn\’t do – brows are very important. Thinning  brows show signs of ageing, and brow shapes can change the shape of your eyes.

The step-by-step guide makes each eye application so achievable from the beginner right through to the advanced. Is that your point of difference – to make makeup application easy for all?
Yeah, and the step by steps  you see are un-retouched, some books are retouched, but I spoke with other makeup artists and we wanted to make it to look real with fall out under the eyes from eye shadow,  because it happens to all of us.  I don\’t cook but I love Jamie Oliver because he speaks in his own way and makes everyday people feel like chefs. His style inspired me to make it easy for real people.

What are your three ‘must-have\’ beauty products?
Can I say four? L\’Oreal Telescopic Mascara, eyelash curler, sunscreen and concealer.

We are constantly told that makeup has rules and that  can prevent us from trying new things – what DO\’s and DON\’Ts should Sassi Sam readers follow?

DO’S: I always say find someone on the red carpet that you inspire to look like, they have to be the same age with similar skin and hair colours – there are plenty to choose from. Follow their lead and go, “ok 40, pale, blonde like Cate Blanchett” & then think would Cate Blanchett wear orange blush with brown lipstick?  No? Then it probably won\’t work.

DO curl lashes and DO try shiny, dewy skin – it\’s more natural and beautiful than a powdery matte look. Always DO conceal after foundation. Remember, too much of anything is always worse

DON\’TS: I think white frosty eye shadow should be thrown out, hair and lip bleach creams are a bad idea too but my number one gripe is to never match foundation on your face or jaw line – it should match your chest.

Never buy pink or beige foundation – I never use it, ever. when I travel the world and I look inside other makeup artist\’s kits, I only see yellow based foundations.

If you\’ve got bad skin sort it out – DON\’T try to cover it. You can work on it, I\’ve seen miracles. There are treatments and nutritionists who can help.

What else is on the cards for you Rae?
Express Makeup” is due to release this year. It is fast makeup, for all ages and covers everything you can do quickly – there\’ some really incredible, quite glamorous stuff in there. Also, I am starting on a new book soon which will focus on makeup information for women over their forties.

If you could give advice to aspiring makeup artists out there, what would you say to them?
First eat, breathe and drink makeup. It\’s a seven day, 24 hour love. You have got to be able to assist a makeup artist for free – it is your only way into the industry. You have got to know the who\’s who of people in the industry. Finally if you have a day off and you\’re still doing makeup then you have the passion and determination.

Available now: Allen & Unwin RRP$19.99

Images courtesy of Allen & Unwin


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  1. great interview . She is so awesome and so honest . she is my favorite makeup artist 
    jess sullivan

  2. Sassi Sam says:

    Hi Merylin,
    Yes everyone says that about Rae …

  3. Merylin says:

    Sassi….what an awesome interview! Rae is by far one of my favourite makeup artists ever. I saw her on a master class here in Melbourne and even a minute with her blown me away. By the way, a small bird in this master class whispered to me that IL Makiage eye shadows are one of Rae’s favourites….we like to share!
    Thank you once again.

    The Mineral Miracle

  4. Sassi Sam says:

    Hi Ria,
    Thanks for your question, you can contact Rae via her website:
    Have a lovely wedding.

  5. sotiria haskas says:

    hi there,

    how can i book for rae morris to do my makeup for wedding? is that possible?


  6. sonya says:

    hey sassi sam
    i just did a video interview with rae. she was really lovely and told me a bit about her new books and her upcoming brush ranges. check it out here
    hope you like it 🙂

  7. Tammerly says:

    Thank you so much to Rae Morris for speaking with me and giving us an insight into your career.

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