Rachael aka “Ru” Blackwell qualified from The Makeup School in Ponsonby, Auckland NZ in 2013 and has been working as a Freelance Hair & Makeup Artist since moving back to her home town of York UK and now has settled in Brisbane. Ru has gained a vast amount of experience from film, TV, fashion editorial and beauty. She also worked for MAC Cosmetics and she love’s every aspect of the industry and is proud to be trained in many different areas.
This talented HMUA loves to create & capture, and in between her incredibly busy schedule we were lucky enough to ask Ru a few questions to give us an inside scoop into her career and share her wisdom and expert tips with us, so let’s dig in!
Thank you so much for being our feature HMUA, it’s a pleasure to showcase your amazing work on our front cover! I know you’ve got an amazing and very extensive background in makeup, can you please share with us how you got into makeup and what you studied?
Hi! Thank you for featuring me! Well, I had always been interested in makeup since a young age, I worked in bars, café’s and retail and always felt something was missing. I had dreamt of being a makeup artist and originally was wanting to pursue a career in Special Effects Makeup. Finally, at the age of 27, I decided on following my dream of being a makeup artist. My partner and I are keen travellers and decided on moving to New Zealand on a working holiday visa. Here is where I studied all things makeup at ‘The Makeup School’ in Ponsonby, Auckland. This is such a fantastic school. I was taught everything from Special Effects to Editorial makeup. As the years have gone by, my love for editorial and beauty has grown, but I do love the occasional horror makeup!
What brought you to Australia from the UK, and what differences do you see in the makeup industry and trends here compared to Europe?
I originally lived in Australia on a working holiday visa in 2010, but there was too much of the world to see to settle! After moving around, I decided on moving back to Australia. I love the lifestyle here! And of course, the lovely sunshine.
The difference I find with the makeup is the amount people like to wear. I’ve certainly noticed Australians love a golden, natural glow! I love certain makeup trends from both places! And feel it’s important to be able to create lots of different styles!
What is your all-time favourite makeup look and why?
Glossy lids! I just love them, I literally just ran out of my Clear Glaze as I love to add gloss to looks so often. I think for photoshoots they just look stunning and catch the light so beautifully.
What comes first for you: Hair or Makeup?
Always makeup, I feel like finishing the hair at the end brings the whole look together. Unless of course your setting curls, then I like to do this prior to makeup to allow time for them to cool down before styling.
If you were asked to do a high fashion photoshoot on a deserted island with only 5 products, what products would you choose to take with you?
Well, Id definitely go for products that can be used for multiple things:
1: Eye Gloss You could use this as lip gloss as well as on the eyes, also as a wet highlighter.
2: Cream Eyeshadow There is so many different colours to choose, but I would probably choose a bright orange. You can use it as a lipstick, a smoked-out eyeshadow or even a winged liner. Giving you the option of a few different looks. I also use this on the cheeks, so there is your blush sorted also!
3: Concealer Concealer is great to touch up any imperfections, also to highlight and contour! You could also mix with a hydrating product or facial oil to create a lightweight dewy foundation.
4: Mascara Mascara can so easily complete any look and define the eyes!
5: Brow Pencil One with a brush on one end for creating fluffy full brows. You could also use this product for freckles or even to add some depth to the lash line!
How do you keep updated on the latest fashion and makeup trends in the industry? Share some of your favourite resources that other HMUAs can follow.
Instagram is amazing for this! You’re forever seeing trends fly by, also what other amazing artists are creating! Pinterest is also a great platform for trends and looks. I always feel inspired by what I see. Classic magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar I occasionally pick up, I love to flick through and feel inspired. They always have the latest hair, makeup and fashion trends.
How important are social media platforms for you?
Important for my business definitely! Here is where you can showcase your work and express your creative side! When I have enquired with my clients on how they found me, it’s always Instagram. They had maybe searched #brisbanemua or seen a friend tag me in a makeup look they loved. Instagram is a wonderful platform to grow your business. It’s also a way for makeup artists to connect, feel inspired and encourage each other.
Which element of your job do you most enjoy?
I love making people feel amazing! The biggest reward of being a HMUA is helping someone feel confident and embracing their beauty. I’m also currently really enjoying Photography! It’s most definitely a hobby, but I love creating a look and shooting it.
How did the passion for Photography & capturing your own work come about?
I always enjoyed taking pictures of my finished makeup looks and figured why not try this with a camera rather than my phone! My mind is always buzzing with new ideas and creative fun! Danessa Myricks and James Molloy are 2 of my biggest idols, not only are they fantastic makeup artists but also do photography. Their images and work are so flawless and a huge inspiration to me.
I also had a wonderful photography teacher who I took a number of in depth workshops with: Ayla Starace @aylaelainephotography her work is outstanding. She has been such a huge inspiration to me and is always on hand to help me with my camera queries!
What is your plan/goal for the next few years – is there something you want to learn or achieve?
I would really love to keep going with my photography and learn as much as I can. I just love creating and feel this has been the best creative outlet for me! I would also love to work with more brands, I love working with different fashion lines and other creatives.