It’s a not so lazy afternoon in Knightsbridge and we are sat balcony high with the lovely Founder behind Court-On-Camera creative agency, Michelle Court.Michelle Court is a celebrity Make-Up Artist. She has been in the industry for over 10-years, & has experienced everything from fashion shows, commercials, music videos, celebrity work, runway, editorial & beauty shoots. Ten minutes in and it’s not long before Michelle is full depth in conversation about her next spa facial appointment, furthermore Michelle later discusses who really influences her, the challenges she has overcome and given a huge insight into what it takes to be the real deal as a Make-up artist.
Hey, Michelle Lets start by asking what prompted you to start a career in beauty?
Most agencies are run by business minds, not creatives. I’m a Creative & have been in the industry for over a decade, so wanted to create an agency using the best MUA’s, Hairstylists, Stylists & photographers I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years.
I’ve hand-picked each & every one of them that’s on my books because of their skills, personality, and speed on jobs. They all excel in all three of these factors & that’s what I look for in a great artist while on set. Most agencies represent creatives from recommendations or pictures they’ve seen of their work, however, I’ve actually collaborated with each & every one of them & know exactly how they all work & are while on set. I deliver this is a big factor to making your business work.I also believe that a handpicked team of Creatives are representing my agency & we need only the best onboard so they deliver to the highest standard on each & every shoot.
Have you thought about developing your own range of make-up?
I have thought about developing my own range of Make-Up. I’ve been lucky enough since then to meet the makeup masters in Making Make-Up Kroylan, they have a Huge Lab over in Berlin where they can produce any make-up shade you desire.
It is interesting because men & women are alike, and are fascinated with everything that is beautiful and strives to be beautiful themselves. This is the reason why retailing cosmetics makes for a good business idea. This may be something I would like to look into for the future, taking a step back from the busy life of a make-up artist & maybe have my own line of make-up products. Called Court-On-Camera-Cosmetics.
Can you talk us through a day in the life of Court-On-Camera?
A regular day at the Court-On-Camera-Creatives office is replying to emails. Sending out tweets. Receiving pictures from creatives on the books to tweet & put up on our Facebook fan page. Putting creative’s forward for jobs.Writing beauty articles for magazines and telephone interviews with magazines on publishing pictures from our shoots. Sending emails to potential clients and speaking to the creatives regularly to know their availability each month.
How do you find the right creative for the job?
Each & every job is different and although I have a small but elite selection of creatives on each section of the site, they all have their own specialties & strengths in how they work. I read the brief of each job & put it forward to the creative I see best suitable to fulfill the role.
Where can you see yourself within the next 2 years then further 5 years?
The Future Plans for Court-On-Camera Creatives is to watch it grow from strength to strength, knowing I have a Fantastic Team onboard the Agency also helping the business grow as they all work together amazingly and produce the best results every time. I would also like to branch out and maybe go international having an office over in Berlin. London is a beautiful and creative city and I would love to bring our talent over there too.Who knows what the future may hold. But I’m looking forward to the journey ahead for us all.
Who would you love to work with?
Miles Aldridge is a fantastic photographer with a unique style. I always know his work when I see it.I love his use of colour & creative ideas.His pieces of work are just beautiful, he is a renowned photographer with his own style of fascinating work.I would love to shoot with him.
From what we understand, it can be quite a difficult but yet rewarding career, have you ever experienced any low points in your career and how did you overcome them?
There is a lot of competition in this industry, I like to help other creatives & will always pass on work to other MUA’s if I can’t do the job. But within my time in this job., I’ve also found it to be very Dog eat dog & everyone seems to be out for themselves. It can be hard to know who your friends are & who’s out to just use you for your contacts & to get work off the back of you.You have to be pretty thick skinned to deal with the fashion industry. It can be difficult at times & also very cut throat. People stepping over people to get themselves to the top.
What are the perks?
I get to travel a lot with my work.Which is great. One of my most memorable trips was working over in Berlin for the Make-Up Show. The city is beautiful & full of creativity. I met some amazing make-up artists from all over the works & got to collaborate with them all & learn new tricks of the trade & also share my knowledge with them too. I’ve also worked over in Ibiza too & this was a fantastic trip. We got to stay on a Yacht & shoot in beautiful villas, the locations were so amazing. Secluded beaches & wonderful weather. The island is magical & I enjoyed staying on the elite yacht & shooting with a great team. I will never forget that trip, it’s definitely one to remember.
I love meeting new people & collaborating with creatives & this job allows you to do just that. It’s exciting going to work knowing you are going to be a part of a new team of people for the day. You will all work together to help each other create the best work to fit the brief for that shoot. I’m happy with my line of work & I plan to network with more & more creatives branching outwards towards different countries allowing myself to go further afield & become an international make-up artist in the future.
Who inspires your work?
There are 3 main Make-up artists that Inspire my work
They all have different styles & are masters at their work. Kevin was the make-up king of his time & I 1st found out about his work back at university when I came across his infamous book ‘Making Faces’. This was when I started to look at make-up in a different light and how it really could transform someone’s face. He would transform women into men & visa versa use contouring tricks to change the structure & look of the model’s features. He truly was a magician of make-up & helped inspire me to become a Make-Up Artist I am today.
Alex Box’s style & flair is so creative & bold that in caught my eye straight away. With her distinctive styles & strong bold use of colours & textures in her work, I instantly become a fan of her creativity & unique style of make-up artistry. I also love her brand of make-up Illamasqua, it’s fantastic & has a great collection of daring colours & bold pigments allowing you to re-create exciting pieces of work & express your personality & alter ego through the power of make-up.
Charlotte Tilbury. She “Court-My-Eye” back in 2013 when I went to her ‘Rock & Kohl’ event. I loved her clean & sultry style make-up, perfect for editorial & beauty work. Her style is beautiful & flawless & her application is seamless. She’s worked her make-up magic on supermodels all over the globe & she has also brought out her own range of make-up which is full of complimenting shades & shimmering golden & dewy textures. I carry a lot of the Charlotte Tilbury Make-Up brand in my Kit.
You have worked with some well-respected industry people can you name some of your most acknowledged?
Court-On-Camera Creatives works with brands such as Warner Bros, X-Box games, Bodog UK, Sony records, Ford, Fashion & Bridal magazines, clothing brands, hair & beauty products, TV & Film. We represent a small but elite group of creatives that will bring the best results to each of our clients with excellent service & professionalism.
What about the most interesting shoot you have worked on?
The most interesting shoot for me was with a very creative photographer about 6-Years ago.He takes his photos to another level & uses special effects in his work. We created a fairy shoot, took our model to the woods & turned her into a flying butterfly fairy. We had her in a harness & suspended in the air.The hair was covered with butterflies & make-up & styling was magical too.The edited pictures were fantastic, the photographer gave the model beautiful wings & erased the harness so our subject looked like a flying magical fairy in the woods.This shoot was so creative it will always stick in my mind.
The most challenging?
Each shoot is different & presents you with different challenges, but my most challenging shoot yet was working my make-up skills on a selection of women who had disfigured faces from severe burns, acid attacks & fire accidents.This was challenging to create a makeup look to cover their scares & to correct their features & disfigurements with the clever use of make-up, drawing in their eyebrows & drawing in a natural lip-line & making their eyes stand out. It was very rewarding to see their happy faces in the mirror once I’d made them up.However, I also found it quite upsetting knowing that these ladies had all once looked in the mirror & seen themselves smiling back with no scares or disfigurements caused by vicious attacks or incidents leaving them with those scars & a different face looking back at them through the same eyes.
How much has the rise of social media impacted your business and has it been an effective tool for marketing Court-On-Camera?
Social Media has played a big part in helping Court-On-Camera grow. Long gone are the days where you would need to pay over £100 +VAT for a minute add in a magazine to help promote your business, I always found those a rip off. It never looked how you wanted it & it was always smaller than you 1st anticipated. Social Media is like free Advertising & has made a huge difference to who see’s the business & also helps with word of mouth too.
Twitter, Facebook & Instagram have all played a great part in helping where we are today with the business.
5 tips for success?
1. Love what you do.Don’t assume it’s an easy option cause it isn’t, it involves a lot of Hard work & determination in what you do to climb that very long ladder to success.
2. Be open-minded & creative. If you have a love for art & all things beauty then Go for it.. The Make-Up world is ever changing & allows you to be creative as you want always bringing new & exciting ideas to the table.
3. Think outside the Box. When creating different looks, push the boundaries, don’t follow fashion make your own way using your knowledge & creativity.. It will take you far if your work stands out from the crowd, Be unique.
4. Don’t be too sensitive. In this tough industry, you need to learn quickly to grow a thick skin, don’t be offended by criticism, grow from it. Don’t be let down if you don’t get a job over another artist, something better is always around the corner, be happy for them & move on. Don’t get disheartened if you have a quiet month, there is nothing wrong with your skills, ever industry has a dry spell.Keep up the good work & you will always get re-booked again & again if & when they need you.
5. Create yourself as a brand. The way you dress the way you wear your hair, stand out & be noticed on every job you want to be remembered not only for your fantastic work but for you too. Make a statement. Be you. Be Bold. As they say ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’
Any last final words of wisdom?
If you are looking to become a Make-Up Artist, don’t think it’s an easy option. It takes a lot of time & passion to get to where you want to be. There will be knock-backs & fierce competition, with every make-up artist fighting to get to the top.You will need to be a very dedicated & talented artist to have a chance of making it & being successful in this fun but competitive industry.
It is all about the networking, wherever you are, whoever you meet, always have your professional business cards to hand. You never know who you might meet & who they might know, it’s about connecting with people that can give you a chance in this industry. Get in contact with photographers & stylists, Organise shoots & get creative building your portfolio & skills. Working alongside other creatives & helping you gain confidence for when you get booked on a real paid job.You must be outgoing & professional & easy to get along with. Working as part of a team is a must & you will have to adapt quickly when working on a shoot with new people.