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  • Writer's pictureSarah McGill

Virna Midgley- Professional Makeup Artist Extraordinaire and Champion for Children's Cancer Charity

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Virna is a professional makeup artist who includes Sir Paul McCartney and Jo Elvin in an extensive list of celebrities that she has worked with.

She is a make-up artist in tv and film as well as publications such as the Daily Mail's weekly column "This is what 50 looks like". She is an advisor at Harley Street Skin and she helps individuals with a 'what's in your make-up bag' session.

I'm delighted that she has agreed to be interviewed for 'Alder Woman'.

Virna, can you describe a typical day in the life of a makeup artist?

A day in the life of a makeup artist is never the same. I never know where I am going to be one day from the next.

Start and finish times are always different and you're on your feet all day.

You can be with a celebrity one day, a model the next and then the next with a real-life makeover case study.

How did you get into this career? What other jobs have you had?

I started off in my carer as a dancer, I attended the London Studio Centre.

However, I always had a passion in me either to be a makeup artist or a window dresser.

I loved fashion and makeup and putting things together.

My Mum was a great influence on me growing up, taking me to Carnaby Street, Kensington Bazaar, Mary Quant and Biba.

Professional make up artist
Some of the tools of the trade

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in makeup artistry?

Going to costly makeup schools doesn’t get you jobs.

I would advise anyone starting out as a makeup artist to get as much experience as possible.

I would work in hairdressers, on a makeup counter, study anatomy and physiology.

Keep learning about fashion from different era's and notice different face structures and eye shapes etc.

Don't get caught up in awful YouTube makeovers!

'I believe women are naturally beautiful and need very little makeup. Instead, they simply require guidance about how to use makeup so it works well for them' Virna Midgley

Professional makeup natural
Makeup by Virna Midgley

What are your thoughts about going 'under the knife'?

I think a lot of women today are led to believe that surgical aesthetics are the only way to turn back the clock, but so much has changed with regard to makeup and skincare.

There are a lot more gentle non-needle procedures now, at Harley Street Skin they do a great menu of treatments to care for your skin.

There are also great supplements that really boost skin, such as Lyma, which works dynamically at the cellular level. It's great for us women, as it reduces inflammation, boosts immunity, balances hormones and helps enhance mental clarity.

What would be your advice regarding skin care?

Treat your skin well.

Look after it.

Always take your makeup off at night and invest in one or two good products.

If you are wearing makeup or you are makeup-free, you should always wear good sun protection.

Also invest in some good oil for your skin such as Vintners Daughter, which has plant-based ingredients full of beautiful Botanicals giving you a gorgeous glow.

It's a good idea to make some nice homemade masks and really look after your skin, especially when we have more time on our hands.

I always hear that drinking plenty of water is good for the skin, would you agree?

There are different schools of thought on drinking water.

I'm not a big drinker of water myself however, it is important to keep hydrated.

At a cellular level drinking water is great it flushes our system and hydrates our body overall.

In terms of hydration, topical moisturisers can be far more efficient than drinking water alone.

Can we be assured that expensive products are the best or are there lower cost items that you would recommend?

There are many great makeup brands today. Even the cheaper versions have some great variety.

Max factor to Bare Minerals and Chantiecaille for their beautiful lipsticks.

I guess that you are unable to work during this coronavirus lockdown?

How have you been filling your time?

I recently got married, so it has been lovely to spend time with my husband.

I've also been spending time in the garden and drawing.

I have been taking timeout just be still. To find some peace during these unprecedented times.

I have recently lost my gorgeous teenage son, Jordan to cancer (Sarcoma) and just recently my Mum too, so I think I have been running from myself.

There is no getting over losing a child.

I have become a trustee for Children with Cancer*, which makes me feel very proud. I can maybe make help some good decisions, in helping children and finding some kinder treatments and family care.

I also help by arranging photoshoots, with a stylist and props and prosecco, for teenagers either still with cancer or for those in remission.

*My Uncle set up charity Children with Cancer 30 years ago. He inaugurated it with Princess Diana after he lost two children to cancer within nine months of each other.

He has, to date raised £220 million. He won the lifetime achievement award in 2018 at the Pride Of Britain awards.

If you would like to make a donation to Children with Cancer UK, please click here

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