The latest in our series of creative profiles focusses on make up artist Bea Sweet.
Beauty and imagery by Bea Sweet
Interview by Emily Beard
Hi Bea! Tell us a little about yourself for anyone who is not familiar?
Hi, my name is Bea Sweet and I work as a Makeup Artist based in London, travelling Internationally, working in fashion & with celebrities.
Does living in London have an effect on your work?
Yeah sure. For a start logistics are difficult because you always have to pay extortionate rent so sometimes you have to do things you’d rather not do because you gotta think of money. Then the good side is you’re surrounded by other people like yourself and you see amazing people every day across the whole city. I love living here, I love being able to see exhibitions and get pizza from Crate in Hackney Wick or hang out in POP Brixton and go on meetings easily & hang around Soho. But I don’t love the price and the extortion.
Where do you like to go to get inspiration?
Well considering I spend a good 50% of my time lurking on Instagram I don’t actually get much inspo there, I’ve said it lots of times that I prefer stalking animal pages to humans.
Besides your own, who else’s creative work do you enjoy?
@this_girl_is_a_squirrel, @boyfriendmoose, @juniperfoxx, @lillythehimalayan – but I’m guessing you’re asking me in a fashion context and so I will say I love working with Malcolm Edwards, Simon Foxton is a very dear friend and I love brunching with him, I love Miles Aldriges work, I love the creative freedom that Nick Knight gives me, I admire Harley Weir endlessly and I love the work of Eloise Parry. I love Mimi Wade’s clothes and Matty Bovan’s makeup. I love Tabby Wong’s face and Poppy Okotcha’s hair, Barbie Nox’s body, Nyaueth Riam’s skin and Sophia Tassew’s brain.
Your instagram account style is very graphic and really stands out in the feed, what was the inspiration behind your unique posting style/image editing?
Ok so it all started because I was sick of getting just one beauty shot per editorial and feeling like you missed the point of my makeup, or the clever detail I thought up wasn’t included. So I was like fuck it, I’ll start documenting it myself.. and then it kind of took off and now all anyone wants to see are my beauty close ups which always get the most likes and stuff and loads of regrams (not always credited, which annoys me).
You recently posted on your instagram about a new project where you’d like to work with ‘all ges, races, sexes, religions, faiths, identities, genders, sizes, disabilities, non-binaries and anything in between’. Can you tell us a little about this project and what provided its inspiration?
So this Industry, as fabulous as it is, also isn’t representative of my friends, the people around me, people I love and people I think should be included. My girlfriend is Nigerian by birth, I am “British Caucasian”, when we have babies they will probably be a mix of ethnicity and raised by same-sex parents. I want my babies to be able to look though magazines and see themselves represented in the pages. If my babies are non-binary, I want them to see themselves represented, if they’re disabled, if they’re gay, if they don’t look like other people, if they start getting “too old”.. I want them to be able to see themselves in the pages of magazines alongside every other person and for all their other descriptors to be a non issue. I also want the people of NOW and these generations to feel included.. it’s got to start now, it’s overdue.
How has the response been to the project so far?
Actually insanely nuts & positively, my DM’s blew up and four weeks later I was still crawling through trying to organise people. A makeup company got in touch and offered to sponsor it because they supported by ethos so I’m going to work out how to include them. People got in contact just to say they supported it, even if they didn’t want to model for it. There are a lot of people out there who could relate to what I was doing, and even without articulating myself fully I think my vibe came across.. we actually shot it last weekend and it drained me but is totally worth it.
If you could create a beauty look on anyone, who would be the person you would pick?
I’d like to work on Kylie Jenner and work with my prosthetics background (I trained in that for 3 years so it’s a hidden talent of mine, I actually have a BA(Hons) in it and graduated with Distinction), OR someone like Alek Wek because I remember the days before I worked in Fashion & I saw her for the first time and I was just like that heart eyed emoji, OR actually one thing I really like doing is makeup on street-cast people and bouncing idea’s off of their personality and vibe. I’m quite good at picking up on the little details.
What is the process you take when coming up with new looks? Is it carefully considered before you create it or do they happen organically?
Every single thing I do is painstakingly planned and considered. Nothing I do is an accident. However.. I do allow for organic growth, I might plan an eyeliner a certain way but if something makes me feel to do it differently on the day and say, leave a gap or add a second colour or add a texture then I’ll do it and roll with it & give it a name like “sky liner” or “double wing” or “wet mouth” or “sky brow”.
Do you have a favourite look you have created?
Not really an “overall” fave but I can talk you through some of my favourite moments below…
I liked doing this one, I used silver pigment and cleaned up shapes to look like a ghost emoji.. I’m not sure the model loved it but I think her face is perfect for it and I loved her big round eyes and perfectly even beautiful skin.
I did this one on my girlfriend and it was really meaningful because she’s from West Africa and we had been talking a lot about her home town lately. And then a few weeks later I saw another Makeup Artist copy my concept and print it in a magazine and give no credit or reference to where she’d seen it first.. That took the magic away a little for me.
I went to a workshop with Florence Adepoju of MDM Flow where you could make your own lipgloss.. this was the shade I made so I put it on my eyelids immediately (of course) I loved this shade, it’s like a fairy wing kind of situation.
This was for a Nails Inc campaign on a model called Charlie Brogan, she had perfect skin and eyebrows and the kind of eyelashes that lift into a perfect curl and just stay there, such a dream. I gave her glossy lids and little pressed on flowers under her undereyes with a pressed hot pink pigment. This makeup is super simple and I love it.
So this girl is called Zoe Alayrangues and you can do ANY makeup on her face and it will literally look perfect because she is the world’s biggest dream to work on.. every one of her features are perfectly how God intended and sit in complete harmony with one another. Her top lip curls up and makes a beautiful cupid’s bow so large expanses of colour look amazing on her mouth. I chose this makeup because I liked giving her a bright white highlighted pigment cheek.
This makeup was for Simi of Simihaze for the front cover of Galore Magazine. Simi is actually an identical twin and so on the day I constantly confused them both despite trying my best not to, and it’s mad working on two faces exactly the same with such perfect features, like a perfectly sculpted nose and pouted full lips, and then the same eye shapes! But they do have different things they like, and will do things in a “same but different” kind of way, so I made their makeups “the same but different” to reflect this.. the other twin (Haze) had her eyelashes placed on top rather than below and a rosier colour lip as opposited to a coral.
And finally what advice do you live by?
Y’know that saying, “be the change you want to see”? I’m trying to lead by example. If I don’t see it, I’ll create it, it starts with me