Last week at the event for the new Rouge Allure Gloss, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to interview Julie Cusson, Chanel’s National Make Up Artist for Canada. I had been wanting to interview her for a long time and jumped at the opportunity.
Julie is so beautiful, soft spoken and enthusiastic about her trade. She truly loves makeup and Chanel’s beauty products. I was really inspired by the passion she has for her work.
How did you get your start as a make up artist?
That was 17 years ago. Here’s something I remember: when I was young, I was watching the news with my mom, and I always had some kind of reaction like, ‘Oh, her lipstick doesn’t match her top’, and my mom was like ‘why’? And I had commentary and suggestions, I think it was just inside me. When I was young, I was always into makeup and long story short, I was studying in cinema and I saw a makeup artist on a movie set and (Julie snaps her fingers) ‘this is what I wanna do’, and this was how it all started.
When you start its a very long process because you need to have a couple of years to learn about the skin, learn about the texture and you need to learn your own technique. It was all part of the processus. You need to be confident also because you arrive on set and you can’t make mistakes, you have once chance. You have a lot of pressure also, but it’s really my passion. It doesn’t feel like I’m working, I’m living. My job is incredible! You know, I have just met so many different people. It’s really great.
How did you get your start with Chanel?
It was four years ago and they asked me to send my work to Paris. Then Paris asked me to be the make up artist for Canada and I accepted with pleasure. I was really proud and it was really an honour that the house asked me to be with them.
What are some of your favourite Chanel products?
I can’t say only one, it’s impossible! I’ll give you a top three. My top three is Le Blanc de Chanel. I love Le Blanc Chanel because I use it as a primer, sometimes I mix it with the foundation and also I have no problem to have it on top of foundation or concealer. When you just want to lighten up the area, it’s a good way to use it. It also reduce the pores. Some women have really apparent pores so its a good way to hide the problem.
The second one would be the eyeshadow base that I showed you before, I love this one because it doesn’t move, it stays and the beige is neutral so you can use it everywhere actually. (Editor’s note: the bright version was used on my eyelids alone and it made for an eye-catching gaze)
The third one, I’m a fan of mascara. I love mascara. I think it brings some contrast to the eyes, the gaze. Even if you have nothing on your face if you add mascara (snaps) something happens. My favourite one is Le Volume. I like to put many coats of mascara and I like to apply to top and bottom lashes. For me, mascara can be everywhere.
What are some defining characteristics of your makeup application style?
I love working with texture and I love to bring some luminosity in the makeup. For me, a good makeup doesn’t mean that you put everything, it’s when you know what to add and which one colour to use. I think it’s a question of texture and sculpting also. The way I capture the face, the cheekbones and also the way that I do the mascara. When I apply it, the model has the eyes closed, so that way I can really move the brush, and really get to the roots. I move it in an upward motion when the eyes are open, the mascara is very everywhere and very open.
Can you do this on yourself?
No. That is the thing. Because you need to have really closed eyes and you need to have your eyes relaxed. Also, both closed you can’t.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to be a makeup artist or get in the beauty industry?
Be patient and trust yourself and even if it’s not working at the beginning, continue, you know? And follow your guide and always look further and you will see at one moment, something will happen. You need to believe in you and your talent, and you need to be patient. I think it is to be patient. And also, this is the thing I think is important, never take anything for granted. Even if you have a client for five years, you need to always act as if it is the first time.
What are your favourite colours for this Fall?
The Fall, the collection is États Poétiques, and from the Ombre Essentielle, Pulsion, I love this colour. It’s a satiny eyeshadow, so it’s close to matte but not too matte. When I do smoky eyes with that it’s gorgeous. It’s one of my favourite shades for this season.
Red and plum are also very popular for this season.
1st image: copyright Simon Normand
2nd image: copyright Donat Boulerice
3rd image: copyright Sylvain Blais
4th image : copyright Simon Normand
Julie’s portrait was taken by: Philippe Guillaume