One Sure Thing - Suresh Seneviratne Professional Makeup Artist and Entrepreneur
Suresh is a Sanskrit word which means "Ruler of Gods", definitely a fitting name for this Beauty Mogul on the rise. Get to know Suresh Seneviratne...
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?
Suresh: This is my 10th year!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?
Suresh: It was never something that I sought out to do. It just sort of happened. I convinced the manager over a couple of months to hire me. I showed her drawings, sketches, and paintings I'd done and expressed my love for color. Honestly, it started because a few of my friends dared me to do it. But I ended up falling in love with the beauty world once I was hired. I worked at lots of different counters all across the country for many years.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you receive any formal education prior to launching your career?
Suresh: Not from a makeup school. I trained and apprenticed with a few different artists in New York while I was in art school. I went to FIT for fashion design. I had a very art-heavy course program with lots of figure drawing, painting, sketching using all sorts of mediums...crayon, charcoal, pencil, acrylic, oil, marker, etc. It taught me to really pay attention to people's features, where to highlight and contour, and so on. I apprenticed on weekends and after school, usually during Fashion Week and heavy editorial season. I organized cases, mixed foundations, prepped faces, did touchups, and just about anything else they needed me to do. Eventually, I was allowed to do full faces after I developed a relationship with the artist. I learned a lot!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What inspires your work?
Suresh: The people I work on. I want to make them feel as amazing as possible, whether it be a private client or a commercial job. Confidence is pretty sexy and very inspiring.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and makeup artists specifically?
Suresh: That it's frivolous and full of dumb people. I have met so many talented, educated, knowledgeable people working in fashion. True makeup artists are so incredibly imaginative and creative, humble too. The showoffs and attitudes of uneducated wannabes spoil it for the real professionals.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When was your first big break, and what was it?
Suresh: Working with Adrianna Lima in 2000 for a Richard Tyler Couture show. It opened a lot of doors for me, at the time.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Suresh, you have your own line of glosses that’s awesome! Why did you decide to create your own line?
Suresh: I wanted to share my unique vision with the world. I'm a dedicated vegetarian and belong to many animal activist groups that bring awareness to the general public. I'm also a lifelong Buddhist and believe less is more. Among other things, I wanted to integrate these beliefs into a chic, simple, guilt-free product.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you think you’ll expand into other products?
Suresh: Yes, over time. Right now, I'm enjoying lip gloss. I'll let my clients influence me as to what's next.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You also have a “ Suresh Beauty Team” is it like an agency?
Suresh: Sort of. We have artists that are sent out to different jobs when I am not available. They are fabulous and I couldn't do it without them!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How do/did you select the artists for your Team?
Suresh: Artistic integrity and ability, experience, professional appearance, and personality. I had worked with all of them for long periods of time before I invited them to join my team.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How do you juggle the products, your work and your team… that’s INSANE, what’s a typical working day like for you?
Suresh: Check emails, return calls, check in with my artists, communicate with my stores about the product, then see clients towards the end of the day. My schedule changes daily based on bookings and my travel schedule between Seattle and New York.
My family lives in Seattle so it's home. Suresh Beauty, is based in Seattle, all our storage and distribution happens there. I spend about half my time there, and half my time in NY although it seems like I am in Seattle less these days.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup artist wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?
Suresh: Become great at what you do and develop a signature style of work. Working at counters and salons will give you experience working with all types of people, skin tones, attitudes. Freelance and test with photographers as much as possible. Leave your attitude at home, it won't get you far.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you hire assistants, do any mentoring for young artists or provide any workshops or training?
Suresh: I've had a few assistants from time to time but not many. I'm always up for mentoring and do it as I am asked. I am working on putting together workshops...it's coming!
Thank you Suresh for that great interview, visit Suresh Beauty to learn more and to purchase his FAB lip glosses and also be sure to follow his Twitter.
Ciao for now... Class is dismissed!