An excerpt from Victoria’s biography page: http://www.victoriastiles.com/bio.html
Inspiration to pursue a career in makeup came at a young age for Victoria Stiles as she would study seasonal makeup trends published in various fashion and beauty print media. She began experimenting with makeup and developing her own technique in applying cosmetics. A family friend noticed Victoria's talents early on and urged her to continue development of her craft and begin a career path as a makeup artist post graduation.
Foundation: FACE atlier Ultra Foundation, Cover FX, Graftobian Cream for HD
Blush: I love using the MAKE UP FOR EVER Flash color palette for blush. The pink and coral shades are beautiful!
Mascara: CARGO Cosmetics Texas Lash Mascara - everything is bigger in Texas, right? With this mascara, your lashes can be larger than life as well!
Eyeliner: LOVE Lord & Berry eyeliners, especially the Smudgeproof 700 series.
Primer: I use Embryolisse 24 Hour Cream to prime skin and MAKE UP FOR EVER's Eye Seal as an eyeshadow primer
Eyeshadow: I have so many favorite eyeshadows: MAKE UP FOR EVER, CARGO, FACE atelier, Yaby, Graftobian
Lipstick or Gloss: Depends on the look you want to achieve.
Favorite lip color product: Obsessive Cosmetics Lip Tar
Favorite Gloss: FACE Stockholm
Q: What made you decide to become a makeup artist, and how long have you been in business, so to speak?
A: I have been obsessed with cosmetics my entire life. In high school, my best friend's mother took notice of the way I applied makeup and encouraged me to pursue a career in the field.
Q: How long did it take you to really make it a career out of it?
A: I started in the business in 1999. I worked with M.A.C. Cosmetics for about 5 years and then I left to pursue a freelance career. When I started as a freelancer, I also worked a full-time admin job in order to have steady income. After about two years of working both, I was able to leave my full-time job and focus on makeup. I have been solely a freelance artist since 2007 and have never looked back.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about being a makeup artist?
A: The creative aspect, travel, and getting to meet with different people on a daily basis.
Q: What are some of the difficulties you face working in this field?
A: The number one thing is scheduling. Sometimes I wish I could clone myself, but I am only one person and can only take one job a day.
Q: Do you have any advice for readers who want to become a makeup artist?
A: Research where you want to go as an artist. Do you want to work in TV/Film, Commercial, or Fashion? Whichever route you decide, research other artists working in that field. Check out their website, education, etc. Offer to assist working artists. Assisting is so valuable in this industry. Nothing beats hands-on.
Network with photographers, set-up test/practice shoots to build your own portfolio. Number one thing to remember, do not concentrate on finding an agent at first, that will come with time and after you have built an extensive portfolio on your own.
Currently, I am an educator with The Powder Group and I have found their workshops and education to be some of the best because it's given by working artists in a variety of fields within makeup. Check out their site: http://www.thepowdergroup.com and also http://www.themakeupshow.com for upcoming education.
Q: I actually found you by a retweet of the makeup artist daily. Can you explain to us what it is, and how you’re involved with it?
A: If you follow me on Twitter @victoriastiles, you will know I live on that site! Makeup Artist Daily is an auto-generated daily "paper" of the people I follow on Twitter and their top stories they Tweet about.
Q: Is there any online reading, blog or otherwise, that helps you get information or inspiration?
A: I enjoy following:
And, of course, my agent's blog http://www.kessagency.typepad.com
Q: What motivated you to take a hiatus, volunteer in Haiti, & get involved with all the charities that you work with?
A: I had been working with M.A.C. for quite a while at that point and needed a change. I went to Haiti right before I decided to leave M.A.C. and go freelance. What I discovered, which I always knew but didn't really know until I experienced the Haiti trip, is that we have so many opportunities here in the U.S. that other countries do not have. It made me want bigger and better for my life.
As far as the cancer charities, remember I mentioned my best friend's mother who encouraged me to peruse a career as an artist? She lost her life to breast cancer and I've made it a personal initiative to bring awareness, raise funds to help the cause, and hopefully find a cure.
Indie VS Commercial brands
Q: I’ve spoke to other makeup artists and they’ve said the sparkle in most indie makeup doesn’t lend itself well to the lighting involved in professional photos. Do you feel the same, or do you use indie brands?
A: I'm huge on testing out products and you can mostly tell if a product will photograph well by testing the product on the back of your hand. Anything sheer in pigment, with glitter particles, overly sparkly, will most likely not photograph well.
Q: If you (personally or professionally) used indie cosmetics, what would you look for in a brand?
A: Right off the bat, key things I look for in a product are, high pigment pay-off, water-resistant, the product is not animal tested, and Paraben-free.
A big thank you to Victoria for taking the time to do an interview for us!