Dariia has established herself as a makeup artist who is primarily based in Paris. She has worked under Pat McGrath and Dariia's own work has been featured in CR Fashion Book, Elle France, Numero Paris, Rolling Stones, Vanity Fair France, Vogue Paris, Vogue UK, Vogue Spain, and many more.
This interview took place between Tate and Dariia at Cafe Kitsune in Paris
Editor: Christel Langue
TVPS: So how did you get to where you are today?
DD: I'm originally from Poland. My interest in fashion started very early, I remember I used to watch fashion TV at my grandparents place, especially the backstage footage from the shows. At first, I wanted to become a stylist, but after flipping through magazines, I started to become very interested in makeup. I found it super interesting how makeup could change your perceptions of a model and how powerful makeup really is.
So when I was 16, I went to my first makeup school in Poland, and then I set up my first makeup studio in my bedroom. I started doing my friends makeup, and then I actually got real clients. After that, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I found a makeup school in LA and that was all I thought about.
When I finished high school I went to Los Angeles. That was also when I became financially independent. I went to MKC Beauty Academy and I had my first real work experiences while I was there.
I came back for Christmas to my hometown in Poland, and then I decided to try Paris, as it seemed to be the best choice to work in the fashion industry, and still not too far from home!
It was so spontaneous because I just took a bus with my makeup kit. I didn't know anybody, and I didn't know the language. It was really a big adventure. I’ve been in Paris for 8 years already, and I'm living my dream :)
So what happens after you first get booked for an editorial, can you talk about your creative process?
So the client reaches out to my agent, and then we confirm the booking. On set I’ll talk with the stylist and photographer about the concept and the idea, which is one of the most exciting parts of the job, we get the model ready, and then we shoot. Then normally the shoot comes out a few months later.
Everyday looks completely different. Every job brings new experiences, new people, so in the end, you get to know a lot of people from the industry.
What's the biggest difference if you’re working for a brand versus a magazine?
Editorials are more creative as we’re given the role of transforming the model into a character. Also, we can change the look as were shooting in order to fit the story line, so there’s definitely more freedom there. When it's a lookbook for a brand, it’s usually very simple. We're more focused on the clothes, so the models need to look fresh and natural. The makeup is usually just to enhance the model’s beauty.
For the shows, when I’m the key artist, I meet the designer first, and we’ll speak about the collection, create the look and do a fitting. When the look is decided, every model usually has the same makeup look that goes well with the collection.
When I work on the makeup team for a show, usually it's all decided beforehand. We learn the look the day of the show, we know exactly which colors we have to use, and the exact look that we have to create. Usually, the models all have to look the same but we always need to adapt to the shape of the eye or the colors, blush, and of course the foundation. You know, so just the same look but adapting to the particular faces.
Do you have all of the different shades of foundation or how does that work?
I always mix the foundations to adapt to particular skin colors. I love to mix products.
Is there a difference when you’re working for an independent magazine versus a conglomerate like Conde Nast?
I feel as if independent magazines are more thematic in the sense that they normally carry a strong theme throughout the entire issue.
What is it like to be your own boss?
It’s amazing to think that everything is in your hands, and that every move is really up to you. It’s important to learn to stay motivated and to follow your way. I actually love marketing and promoting myself, so I also have a blog. I work on social media a lot and it has given me the ability to propel my own career forward as a makeup artist. Being your own boss is definitely empowering, if you don’t like something you can change it, which I think is wonderful.
What are the benefits of being represented by an agency?
I think the right time to be signed to an agent is when you feel that you don't need it anymore. You have to already be quite busy because their job is mainly to organize everything. As a makeup artist, we might work nearly every day. So if we had to manage all of the planes we take, the hotels and dealing with clients, it just wouldn't be possible to work everyday. They also build relationships with clients, make appointments with potential clients and propose us for jobs.
What are your go-to products?
Okay. First, I love the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate which is fantastic, in any season. Especially in summer, because you can use the shade part to bronze yourself and give a little bit of a healthy glow with the illuminating part of the product. Basically, you don't feel like you're wearing any makeup, but you're still fresh and glowing.
Then the Orgasm blush from Nars, I love all of the blushes from Nars... Also, Charlotte Tilbury has a great mascara that you can apply in layers, and the lashes still look very fresh, nicely separated, and elongated. It's called Full Fat Lashes.
Also congratulations on your By Dariia Day Launch!
Thank you! So 4 months ago I launched Silk Pillowcases which are dedicated to beauty!
I am personally in love with this product, I have very sensitive skin myself and when I first went to Vietnam, one lady recommended me to sleep on silk, and I fell in love with it, and I just had to create the best possible version of it to share with my clients!
The kind of silk that I’m using for the pillowcases has been a beauty secret for about a thousand years in Asia, and it's amazing. The idea is that we usually sleep on cotton, which has a very rough surface. It breaks our hair, and we wake up with a bed head. Silk also takes less of the moisture out of our skin. What we sleep on really affects our skin. I’ve been working on it for the past 2.5 years, so it's my new baby, and it’s helped me a lot.
I’ve been using one for the past 4 years, and a while ago I left mine in a hotel in Argentina and the only place I could find the same silk was on Amazon but it was mostly satin not silk, and I was disappointed with everything. So I started asking people in Paris if they sleep on silk? They said no but were very excited to do so! So, I was like I have to do it, I have to!
Tell me more!
So first, it's 100% natural. When we were traveling to 6 different countries to find the best quality, we decided to choose China, because that’s where silk originated from. It was their secret for more than 2,000 years. Then we found a manufacturer who makes traditional silk of the best quality. We worked on this special weave and to develop the fabric that is the best for our beauty, with no toxins and any allergens. Silk is very fragile, so I wanted to make the pillowcase durable so that you can wash the pillowcases in the washing machine, because everybody is busy in their life. We made it from very luxurious weight of 25 momme, which is very unique and precious.
How have you been able to balance creating your own company and still working as a makeup artist?
I love my job, and I love to work and be active, so doing both I feel finally fulfilled :)
What's the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
I love to travel. I feel like I went on a makeup trip around the world :) also meeting people, it's fantastic. On every set, there’s always a mix of so many personalities and cultures from around the world. Things keep getting more exciting, so I'm sure I’ll never be bored of it.
What effect has the influx of digital media had on makeup artists?
Within two years it's extremely changed. Now I feel like it's not enough just to do makeup. To be successful, we have to put our work on social media. Backstage beauty used to be a big secret. Nobody wanted to share anything, and everything was very closed off. Now, suddenly everything's started to be very open to the world. If you use it, it can give you a lot of opportunities.
You can learn everything from the internet now, which is fantastic. For example, I do my tutorials, which I make and edit myself, which I learn how to edit from YouTube. If somebody really wants to find and learn something, it's so accessible. Everything is there. If you search it, you can find it.
What prepared you for where you are today?
My biggest life lesson was my first year here in Paris, which was extremely difficult. It was a sad time, but it made me grow up more in 1 year than I would have in 10. When I came to Paris, I told my parents that I had friends and it was fine, but I actually didn't know anybody. I didn't know where I was going to stay. I didn't know the language. I had to change apartments 7 times that year.
It was a really difficult time money-wise, as well. I didn't make money from the jobs that I was getting yet. I was surviving on a month to month basis. It was really tough, but at the same time, it made me really strong. And also I was only 19 years old, so everyone was telling me that I was too young for Paris, that maybe I should go to London, New York, or LA again, because they’re all more open to young people. But I was very good at saying no to that. Then I got my first big job with Dior.
When I was in LA, there was a contest where you could win a trip to Milano, meet an agent and start working there. I didn't speak English well, and so I didn't win. But when I was in Paris, they followed my work and my progress, and then they said that I am the winner of the year, It was amazing experience, and I believed that everything can be possible! When I was in Milano, I received a call from Dior in Paris, asking if I could do the makeup for a video with Emily Weiss. It was amazing.
Then my friend recommended me to Max Mara and I did makeup for Maria Giulia Maramotti for her portrait, and she really liked me, so I was booked for shooting with her for 6 different Vogue’s. After a year, my mailbox started to get very busy. I built a strong portfolio, I got an agent, and then every month I started to take bigger and bigger steps. I'm happy I didn't give up and always followed my dreams!
How do you go about sticking to your aesthetic but making the client happy?
My whole idea is that whatever I do, I want the model to look beautiful. Even if we're going for something creative, I still want the model to look like a person. I love to play with colors, I love to play with textures, and I love artistic things, but at the same time, I love natural beauty. I think it's very helpful because I can adapt to different concepts. I'm not only doing crazy makeup or natural, I can adapt to either concept while still keeping my own aesthetic.
What do you feel separates you from everyone else as a makeup artist?
I think the motivation and that I work 100% of myself. I started early when I was 16 and I put all my life into my job. I don't ever take a day off. I love to work, learn new things, new ideas. Just never stopped growing :)
How do you keep it up?
I try to always look at the bright side of life :) Dreaming big and reaching goals brings me a lot of motivations.
Is there an impact that you’d like to make?
I can make people beautiful on outside, but I’d also like to help them feel beautiful on the inside.
How would you like to see this industry evolve?
I would like for things to go back to being focused on the designer’s perspective, more trends from the runway than from TV.
What advice would you give to someone who looks up to you?
If you are passionate about something, don't give up, keep going, everything is possible! If you do everything in your power to achieve your goals, I'm sure you will!