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Chatting with celebrity makeup artist Timothy MacKay (Includes interview)

On being a makeup artist in the digital age, he said, “Doing makeup for photoshoots you want the makeup to be as close to perfect as possible (“perfect” obviously varying from project to project), but you know that more than likely the image will be photoshopped to some degree and it can sometimes alter how the makeup looks and it’s really out of the makeup artist’s control. Not always, but for a lot of the commercial gigs I’ve gotten.”

“As much as I love photoshoots, my passion has always been in film and video production. You can retouch makeup in post, but it’s much more expensive and much more time-consuming, so you really need the makeup to be as perfect as possible so that vanity-related editing can be avoided,” he said.

On his daily motivations, he said, “Growing up I always admired any TV shows or movies that featured a fashion show, or a ‘behind the scenes’ of the movie industry type of storyline. I loved watching how my favorite movies were made on the ‘special features’ section of a DVD and trying to find any ‘goofs’ that were made because that would make it so much more real to me.”

“Now I have been blessed to say I’ve worked on a movie, I’ve worked in NYFW, I’ve experienced so many of those incredible things I loved as a kid. I might’ve also been secretly broke at the time, but that didn’t matter to me because I loved the thrill of everything I was doing. Looking back and naturally thinking about everything in such a joyful way motivates me not to be too hard on myself or over-stress about things that haven’t come yet because you can’t be prepared for the good or the bad,” he elaborated.

Regarding his future plans, he said, “In 2021, I plan to continue working in production, hoping to work on another feature film at some point in the year. I would love to obtain some new clients, and possibly start working in LA more frequently. I’d like to go there for about a month at a time, but still reside mainly in New York City.”

On his proudest professional moments, he responded, “I would have to say my proudest moment to date was my recent work on a movie premiering on Hulu spring 2021 called ‘Plan B,’ directed by Natalie Morales. She hired me as the makeup department head, and it was my first time having this role but after not working for months of quarantine I think it was the perfect project to excite me and truly challenge me.”

“I loved learning about continuity and remembering how important subtly is. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity and I can’t wait to see the film upon its debut,” he exclaimed.

For young and aspiring makeup artists, he said, “I definitely advise them to reach out to makeup artists they respect and try to assist/shadow them. Not everyone will respond, but it never hurts to ask. I always try to encourage new makeup artists I meet to speak at Makeup Schools or programs.”

“There is so much more to learn than just how to do makeup, there’s a whole business side to it, there are the set etiquette and professionalism that needs to be established. I think asking for help and being loyal/respectful will help new makeup artists a lot,” he said.

When asked which celebrities he would love to someday work with (and do their makeup), he responded, “This is always an interesting question I even ask myself because my biggest fear would be to meet my idol and have a terrible experience (if they were just nasty for no reason).”

“In my experience, most celebrities I have worked with have been absolutely lovely and super professional/respectful! I guess I would love to work with Ariana Grande because she is just the most beautiful woman and I love doing the glam style she likes,” he added.

Regarding his definition of success, he said, “Success to me means never stopping and truly enjoying the journey without waiting for a finish line to come. I don’t think there is a finish line to success until you truly feel you have nothing more inside you to offer your passion. So many celebrities will tell you they still don’t feel like they’ve made it and that shocks so many people.”

“10 years ago I never would’ve guessed that I would have experienced so many of the exciting jobs/events I have, but I don’t feel like I’ve “done it all” by any means. I want to keep working and growing and not focus on the struggles along the way. Success is continuing to grow until you physically can’t,” he said.

To learn more about makeup artist Timothy MacKay, check out his official website and follow him on Instagram.

Timothy MacKay

Timothy MacKay
Josh Walker

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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