Friday, 20 June 2014

Interview: Craig-Ryan French

Craig-Ryan French is an internationally renowned makeup artist who has over a decade of experience in theatre, film, television and fashion. He beautifies models backstage at fashion week and his work regularly features in the likes of Elle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and other leading industry publications.

He is also the Artistic Director and Global Makeup Artist at PAUL & JOE, the Parisian-based fashion house that is also home the gorgeous beauty line, PAUL & JOE BEAUTE! If he wasn't busy enough, Craig-Ryan French is also the head makeup artist for SyFy television series Defiance.

Luckily for me, this makeup maestro recently came to London and I was able to grill him on all things beauty. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our little chat...

Craig-Ryan French Interview

What inspired you to become a makeup artist? And how did your career journey begin?

I had always loved classic horror movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy etc.) and grew up recreating those original Hollywood make-ups on myself as a child (I know - weirdo!). When I turned 18, I moved to New York to study theatre at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I used a lot of those early self-taught techniques in the development of my characters on-stage, and further developed those skills through stage make-up training at the school.

After graduation, I enjoyed a brief 'hungry' career as a commercial actor. I once met a make-up artist on-set who said "Craig-Ryan, you are a make-up artist whether you like it or not, it's where your talents are. You will make more money doing make-up than you will ever make in a lifetime as a struggling actor". He was right - I focused my talents on make-up. I manipulated the shading & highlighting techniques I had learned in theatre school to sculpt beautiful cheekbones on a model for an editorial shoot. I have never looked back - makeup has taken me on an incredible journey around the world (and I still love those classic horror movies!).

What is your career highlight?

For the past two years, I have headed up the Make-up Department for the SyFy television series Defiance which has a been an incredible experience. I work with an amazing team of makeup artists and hair stylists to create a full spectrum of makeup looks that range from broken down, dirty humans, to over-the-top, futuristic full-prosthetic aliens (and everything else in between!). It has been a dream job, with a dream crew and a dream cast! It doesn't get much better than this! Season two premiered on ScyFy June 19th, 2014.

Defiance SyFy makeup

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in the industry?

Show up to work on-time everyday, properly prepared, with a good attitude. This quality alone can pretty much guarantee you work and call backs. Never stop learning - always be a student and willing to learn from everyone around you.

Who is the ultimate beauty icon?

Marilyn Monroe. Her cinematic beauty will last forever - she owned the 'close-up' and her enduring style will continue to impact fashion and generations for years to come.

What are your beauty kit essentials?

With just the six listed items below I am prepared to do my job on-set:
  • PAUL & JOE Waterproof Mascara #01 Black - you'll remain flawless with this smudge and flake-free mascara for 24 hours until you remove it - all of my actresses love it and request it to use on all their film projects!
  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealers - I scoffed at the price tag until I first saw the on-camera results and discovered they are worth every penny. My kit always contains 'Ivoire' & 'Beige'.
  • PAUL & JOE Eyebrow Collection - I make this statement as a professional make-up artist (not a P&J representative) - these are the BEST eyebrow products I have ever used. All of the makeup artists I have introduced them to would also agree - we can not function without them! Try, try, try!!!
  • A nude pink/rose lip liner - I recommend Kevin Aucoin Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in 'Medium'
  • Nivea Men's Replenishing Lip Balm - (yes, Men's!) this hydrates lips without leaving shine or visible residue.
  • A natural bronzer to warm the Face and contour eyes.

What is the biggest beauty crime a person can commit?

Getting trapped in a particular outdated trend. Get a professional makeup consultation from an artist you trust every five years to stay current, looking youthful and feeling your absolute best.

What is your top beauty tip?

Always wear your make up - don't let your make up wear you. If someone compliments your make up before complimenting you, you may need to reconsider that particular colour - make up should always enhance who you are - not hide who are!

Craig-Ryan French Paul & Joe Beaute
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