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Having just flown Driffield’s “nest,” Millie Sharp is currently living and working in the UAE as a much-sought-after Creative Specialist in a top hair salon. Here, in an exclusive interview with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd, Millie talks about the career route she’s taken to get her where she is now…

Hi Millie, how are things?

I’m good, thank you!

How old were you when you decided that you wanted to become a makeup artist, and what is it about makeup artistry that you most enjoy? 

I was sixteen and studying photography when I found my interest in makeup. I saw that York College had a Foundation Degree in Media Makeup for TV, Film and Theatre. I was determined to get a place on the course, even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy, with only twelve places for more than three-hundred applicants! Luckily, I was offered a place.

What kind of career progression have you had in general since leaving Driffield School?

I always struggled at school, especially with the written side of things. I was always better at the more creative classes, which is why I went on to study Photography at York College. Once I started studying Media Makeup, I found my passion for Special Effects Makeup, so, after graduating from there, I went onto my second university degree: BA Honours in Special Effects Makeup for TV, Film and Theatre at the Grimsby Institute. Throughout university, I worked for free to gain experience, working at Alton Towers’ “Scarefest,” and on York Mystery Plays, which featured Graeme Hawley. I’ve worked for several makeup brands, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Hourglass. After a short while, I became a National Makeup Artist for Hourglass.

Is it an easy industry to break into, or is it necessary to have a lot of qualifications and experience?

It wasn’t easy when I started. However, there are a lot of colleges and universities that offer courses in makeup now. It depends what side of the industry you want to go into. I’m self-taught in Bridal and Fashion Makeup, but I learnt about special effects and prosthetics at university. I must admit, it’s extremely hard to make it in the special effects industry. There are some really amazing artists out there. I’ve been lucky enough to be successful in Bridal and Fashion Makeup, but not everyone comes out of university so lucky! You have to work hard, which can mean working for free for a long time. I’ve always been more passionate about special effects and prosthetics. I love been creative and designing weird creatures. I do, however, love doing bridal makeup; it’s nice making people feel their best on their special day!

Have you done any makeup work for TV or film productions?

I haven’t, unfortunately. I’ve worked more within the hairdressing industry. I’ve been lucky to work in some global hairdressing competitions such as “Trend Vision” and “Loreal Colour Trophy.”

How about Hollywood? You ever been tempted to head stateside to work?

Of course! That’s my dream job! But the makeup industry has expanded so much, and there is so much competition, and very few jobs.

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You’ve just nicely moved to the UAE! What’s led you there?

I am working for “Glamour Hair Salons UAE.” Working across the brand as the Creative Specialist, I’m able to offer HD brows, lashes and makeup for VIP events, along with bridal makeup, special effects, photo shoots and editorial work.

Whereabouts in the UAE are you based, and how long are you going to be there?

I’m based forty minutes from Dubai, but I’m going to be working in several salons, one of which is in Abu Dhabi. I’m planning on being over here for at least two years. 

What have you been most looking forward to about living and working abroad?

I’ve been looking forward to new opportunities, meeting new people and working with some great names in the industry! Oh, and the sun, of course!

Makeup artistry aside, do you have any other Health or Beauty qualifications?

I specialise in HD Brows and Nouveau Lashes. I’m also qualified in “Great Lengths” hair extensions.

For anybody wanting to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?

I would say that it takes a lot of determination and hard work, but it all pays off in time. It’s more of a lifestyle than a job, so you must be very passionate about it.


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