Q&A with Elbie
Tell me a bit about yourself, your background and where you are from.
I grew up on a farm in rural South Africa, and am now based in London. My parents have always encouraged me to be creative, and with my mum being an artist, and my dad being a blacksmith, I would probably say that it’s in my genes! I studied hairdressing in Johannesburg, and after I moved to the UK 9 years ago, I started doing make-up as well.
What steered you towards makeup artistry and hair styling?
My mum used to do fashion design, and I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion, but not in clothes. Hair and make-up was the most natural move for me. I have always been amazed how a flick of an eyeliner or a few well-placed highlights could change someone’s features, and make them feel at their best.
How did you get to where you are today?
After working as a freelance hair and-make-up artist for a few years, I’ve become really busy with hairdressing clients, and now I work 3/4 days a week at The Blue Mango Salon, and use the other days of the week for shoots/weddings.
What was your favourite project thus far?
The Wonderland Project with fine art photographer Kirsty Mitchell is the most incredible and ambitious project I’ve ever embarked on. We started 6 years ago, and what was supposed to be a summer project, spanned over 5 years. The series was created as an homage to her late mother, and is inspired by some of the fantastical dark fairy tales she was told as a child. I have done all the hair and make-up for the series, and helped with the prop-making as well.
What do you love the most about your job?
The variety of it. Every day is different, every client/shoot brief/bride, and that keeps it interesting. I love researching old techniques, and try to make them current.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Museums, technology, nature. I am drawn to contrasting colours and textures.
What would be your dream project?
I’ve got so many ideas for projects! I have just enrolled in a hair course taught by the incredible session stylist, Sam McKnight, so I’ll be focusing a bit more on hair shoots in the near future, and I’m really excited about it!
Any advice for those looking to follow a similiar path?
Be open, be nice, be prepared to work hard. It’s not at all glamorous, and you’ll probably be questioning your career choice a few times, but if you’re passionate, you’ll be able to make it through!
See Elbie’s work at http://www.elbievaneeden.com/