Master Of Masks: An Interview With Make-Up Guru Elton Fernandez - Homegrown

Master Of Masks: An Interview With Make-Up Guru Elton Fernandez

An established name in the Fashion and Glam industry, Elton Fernandez is a store-house of talent in the hair and makeup business. His most recent venture involves setting up India’s first Youtube beauty channel where Elton demonstrates personal beauty tips on models to create an individual connect with the audience as well as make styling information more accessible. He is possibly one of the only talents in this space who wanted to pay tribute to darker skin tones as well, in an effort to nullify the social biases against skin colour, as well as re-invent the concept of what is considered “beautiful”.
Homegrown's Shreya Vaidya caught up with him to assess exactly what goes into changing perceptions while doing what you love; read on for more insights about the beauty guru.
I. You are India’s first make up professional to set up your own beauty channel.  What inspired you to start a personal channel of your own?
I’ve always enjoyed sharing my experience, and teaching. I never wanted to start an actual makeup institution because I find most of them to be an absolute waste of valuable resources. So when MissMalini convinced me to work on a 2-minute makeup video project together for L’oreal, I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided it would be apt to start up a Vlog of my own work, and teach for free. The fact that bloggers ultimately get paid a LOT of money through advertisements, liaisons and branding actually was a huge incentive for me as well because I do look at my work as a business too. So far, the response has been overwhelming and I enjoy shooting them every time!
II. In what way are you trying to alter the deep-rooted perceptions about skin colour and beauty?
I've not arrived with any fixed agenda, business or otherwise. But I do remember being made to feel small for being a deeper skin tone than most people in school. I remember blowing out my birthday candles wishing I would grow taller and fairer. My own paternal grandmother would sometimes jokingly call me ‘blacky’ because all the other kids in the family were light-skinned, anglo-indians like the ones who hung around at parties in classic Indian cinema. It ingrained a mentality of feeling less than normal and I never knew any better. I was never known for being good-looking so beauty quickly became objective for me. In my opinion, that's the best take to have on it. Beauty is more about holistic grooming than it is about someone's skin tone or any one feature. I like wide foreheads, big noses, thick lips, thin lips, bushy eyebrows, and large or tiny eyes. I think in embracing the truth , no matter how unfair or uncomfortable it may be (especially that about oneself) we embrace life and find peace with who we are. This self-awareness is the first step to finding what's beautiful. I like guiding people toward this perspective, the rest will take care of itself. 
III. What is one perpetual make up blunder you keep observing amongst women?
Indian woman are clueless about grooming their eyebrows. It drives me up the wall because I think it is THE most important feature on the human face. It frames everything. it's simple geometry, and yet people do not choose to master it.
IV. How easy is “instant styling” when it comes to makeup and hair?
I think once you’re self-aware of your assets, you know what elements to play up or down. instant styling then becomes a breeze because it's literally a 5 minute filtering and elimination process. Developing a balanced aesthetic is crucial because hair and makeup is a direct extension of wardrobe. Not the other way around.
V. Who has been your favourite celebrity client /which has been the best photo shoot you’ve ever worked on?
I have a couple favourites and I can’t pick between them. I love Shibani Dandekar and Nina Manuel. They’re both self-assured, dynamic, transparent, witty individuals. The fact that they are absolute Ladies is great and because they’re not afraid to make mistakes, or let public opinion limit them, I reserve great respect and admiration for them.
The best photo shoot I’ve ever worked on would have to be an advertorial for Chanel’s Bombay-Paris collection in a big Chinese fashion magazine ‘M’. The entire team brought on their A-game! The model refused to eat and be cheerful because she wanted to get into the mood of this lonely melancholic crazed princess. The photographer would direct her so tenderly and beautifully, letting her understand how her body should move languidly. The stylist took definitive decisions, the production was spot-on. The budgets were great too!VI. When did you get a “big break” in the Fashion industry?
I don’t even know. Thats how long and painfully slow the process was.
VII. What is one beauty tip you think all women should swear by?
The power and effect of a good lash curler.
VIII. Whose style inspires you the most as an artist?
Simplicity. Anyone that's simple. I like muted tones, statement pieces, organic vibes, versatile personalities. I’m not a big fan of theatrical productions.
IX. For all the aspiring makeup artists out there, what are a few things you suggest they do in order to be successful in their career? 
Stop trying to show off what you have in your toolbox and what magic you can do. Start instead, to try making your client not only look but feel intrinsically beautiful. Be real.
In the video below, Elton works golden eyeshadow magic on the beautiful Priyanka Bose. Subscribe to his youtube channel to follow his video tutorials on a more regular basis.
Words: Shreya Vaidya Image Credit: Elton Fernandez

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