#MyInstaLife: Meet The Dublin Make-Up Queen Who Counts Kim K’s MUA As A Fan
If you’re feeling uncertain about ditching that office job to follow your dreams, we’d recommend taking some inspiration from Gemma Leigh. Three years ago, Gemma dropped out of college to focus on her true passion: make-up. Nowadays she has a massive 34,000 followers on Instagram, has been featured by the like’s of Mario Dedivanovic (Kim K’s bestie, doncha know), and is making a living as a make-up artist offline too. We caught up with Gemma to find out her secrets to success…
Have you always had an interest in make-up?
Definitely. I’ve worn makeup ever since my early days in secondary school. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed doing – in fact I was suspended from school more than once for my more ‘elaborate’ looks – but my real passion for it came around about three years ago. I turned down a place on a hair and beauty course to study journalism, but then I discovered the make-up community on social media and quickly became obsessed. I decided to leave college and began teaching myself new make-up skills. Thankfully it seems to have paid off!
What are your favourite kinds of looks to create?
On myself, I love looks that have a bit of a grungy edge. I tend to go for very dark, dramatic eyes with a lot of texture. For my client work, I love full-on glamour with my own little twists here and there.
Are your looks inspired by anything in particular?
Honestly, my inspiration can come from anywhere. Aside from the obvious things like TV, magazines and the red carpet, sometimes I take my lead from something as simple as an outfit or a hairstyle. Of course, I also take a generous dose of inspiration from MUAs I follow on Instagram, be they Irish or from other parts of the world. There’s so much talent out there.
You have a massive following on Instagram! What do you think makes your account stand out from others?
I’m all about consistency, both in terms of how often I upload and the quality of my posts. I never upload a look just for the sake of it. I need to be 100 percent happy with all elements of it, from the look itself to the quality of the photo.
You’ve had attention from some very high-profile names, right?
Yes, my biggest boost in followers probably came when Kim Kardashian’s go to make-up artist, Mario Dedivanovic, followed me and featured me on his page. I still find that mind blowing to be honest.
Speaking of celebs, are there any A-listers whose make-up you’d love to tackle?
Oh, there are loads. I’d love to work with Cara Delevingne or one of the Hadid sisters, all of whom have stunning faces and would make my job really easy! Another dream would be someone like Lady Gaga who would let me run wild.
We’re in need of some expert advice. What’s one budget beauty buy you’d recommend?
I can’t live without L’Oréal Paris Perfection Brow Artist Plumper [€8.49], it’s a fibre infused brow gel mascara. Another great L’Oréal product is their Voluminous Volume Building Mascara [€7.57] in Carbon Black.
What are three beauty products you couldn’t live without?
What’s a day in your life like right now?
Right now it’s the height of Debs and college graduation season for me, so from 8am onward I’m painting faces. I do the same on weekends, usually until late. On weekdays, I try to finish as early as I can to keep my evenings free to spend with my little boy, who’s seven. Once I’m finished work, I’ll hang out with him and do mommy duties. Of course once he’s in bed, I’m back to cleaning my brushes and organizing my kit for another day. Outside of Debs season I’m usually doing other jobs: last week it was a masterclass in Cork for 55 people, and the week before it was a session with L’Oréal. My job is ever-changing which is great because I’m never bored!
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