Liz Beckett: make-up artist
Liz Beckett is a make-up artist whose work has featured on The One Show, The Mercury Music Awards, the BAFTAs, the London 2012 Olympics, Glastonbury, Isle of Wight Festival and Channel 4’s Wedding House.
What was your first job in the media and how did you get it?
I did work experience on a dance show called Bump and Grind made by Princess Productions. I called the make-up artist, Justine Wade, and she gave me a chance. The first person I ever spoke to on this job was rude and I thought, "Oh God, get me out of here." Luckily that was a one off.
How long did it take you from there to being a full time make-up artist?
I did another three months of work experience, with very early mornings and lots of travelling, working on The Wright Stuff. After that I started getting a few jobs here and there and then a year later Justine had a baby and I took over on the show. The brilliant thing about working on a show where the guests change daily is you meet tons of people, make loads of contacts and get more and more work.
Did you do any formal media training?
I did a VTCT diploma in media and theatrical make-up at Aylesbury College for a year, but it's after college that you really learn though.
Was there a formative person or programme which made you want to work in the media?
No, I've just loved make-up all my life. I remember when I was five and getting a Marks & Spencer's make-up box, it was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen.
"It’s not about you, it's about the person you’re making up." – Liz Beckett
What programmes are on your must-view list now?
I massively admire the make-up and hair artists who create entire characters on programmes like The Impressions Show and Little Britain. That is absolutely amazing and a true art. I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Has there been a moment where you’ve thought, "I can’t believe I get paid to do this"?
All the time. I’m basically playing 'Girl's World' every day with wonderful people. The variety of people I meet and get to spend time with is unbelievable. I always think how lucky I am.
What’s been the proudest or most memorable moment of your career so far?
It's so hard to choose because every time someone is thrilled with the way I’ve done their hair and make-up, I feel proud. Recently I've been appearing on TV to talk about make-up and to me, being asked to do that is such a wonderful compliment. I'm not sure how well I do it, but it still makes me feel proud.
I also really love it when I can help someone who doesn't know the little things that can make them look good.
What things do you always take on a shoot?
My kit and a good mood.
Most useful skill you’ve developed?
I'd say my people skills and I would hope that my hair and make-up skills are developing all the time.
Hardest lesson learnt?
The hardest thing I've learnt is getting used to the fly-by nature of the industry. People and friendships come and go but it's just the way it is, it's part of the fun.
Which tools do you use to keep up to date on the industry?
Vogue, various magazines and of course I watch a lot of TV.
Who has taught you the most?
Two people I have learned a lot from are Lauren Laverne and Louise Redknapp. I do their make-up and their attitudes towards it are completely different, so I have learnt so much whilst doing them. Lauren will let me try out anything and Louise prefers the, less is more, look. My mother was always beautifully turned out so obviously her as well.
Did you always want to be a make-up artist?
I guess in a way I did, but I just never thought about it. But I was always doing make-up on my friends as a child. I recently found a little make-up design book in my loft that I must have written when I was about eight.
The biggest surprise is a very shallow one: I didn't realise how much money could be earned doing something so fun.
What three tips would you give someone wanting to do your job?
- At the beginning, never say no.
- Really look at people's faces and think about why and what you’re applying.
- Have a good attitude, because it’s not about you, it's about the person you’re making up.