With over fifteen years’ experience, working across the biggest brands, most notably NARS Cosmetics where she held the title of Global Makeup Artist, and after launching her makeup brand in September last year, Anna Priadka is most definitely one to watch.
Featured in Refinery29, The Telegraph and Stylist Magazine her brand MAKEUP 54 (a play on the iconic Studio 54) celebrates the life of disco and effortless sexiness that the ’70s and early ’80s radiated.
MAKEUP 54 captures the icons of era’s “energy and the dancefloors they graced in their fearless fashion looks. I want every person who wears MAKEUP 54 to be seen in the world to feel as decadent as the icons of the eras it is inspired by.”
We sat down with Anna to discuss what inspired her brand and what she thinks of the beauty industry.
"I think contouring is completely out now. I don’t think that’s really had a place for the last two years."
What’s the biggest makeup trend of the summer?
Blush absolutely. But not in the places you would usually expect. 80’s blush that was up through the temples, and onto the cheekbones - be playful with it on your eyes. It’s a look I’ve championed for a long time anyway, with the style of makeup that I do. I think contouring is completely out now. I don’t think that’s really had a place for the last two years.
Who’s your biggest 70/80s inspiration?
I’m obsessed with a makeup artist called Sandy Linter. She’s had a bit of revival on Instagram.
She was really famous in the ’70s and early ’80s. Sandy was the makeup artist for tons of celebrities at the time - famous for creating looks with Gia Carangi, one of the first ever supermodels. For me she was one of the artists who captured that ‘70s/’80s look, which was about the blush, that matte skin, always a lip, and always a bit of an eye. So in terms of makeup she was, and still is, one of my biggest inspirations. But, in terms of icons, it would have to be Grace Jones and Jerry Hall. All the artists around that time as well - Antonio Lopez, Andy Warhol obviously, Chris von Wangenheim. Everyone in that period for me were pioneers of what photography, makeup and icons are about today.
"We saw so many different types of trends, and characters – the mods, Madonna, Boy George – all of these icons that really inspired movements."
What is it about the era that inspires you so much?
It was obviously all about colour and makeup, smoky eyes and bold lips – more is more, which as a makeup artist is really fun for me. There was so much going on in our fashion, politics, music – very opposite things. On the one hand, there was this over-excessiveness of these clubs, like Studio 54 where the rich and famous would hang out. Then the ball scene, which was very much underprivileged gay/trans kids [where the] community found their voice. We saw so many different types of trends, and characters – the mods, Madonna, Boy George – all of these icons that really inspired movements. People turn to art to express themselves, and I think that was why there was so much amazing stuff coming out of those eras. That’s when the most amazing art happens.
And who’s makeup would you have loved to have done?
I’m obsessed with Sophia Loren; she’s my all-time favourite face. But I think from [the ‘70s/’80s] definitely Jerry Hall, or Grace Jones, the complete opposites of the spectrum.
What has been your favourite moment in your career?
I’ve had a lot of favourite moments – I used to love travelling to New York and around the world in my old role at NARS, but my personal moment would have to be that first day of ‘Wow, I’ve launched a brand’. It was really nice to package that first lipstick and see it going out. A really nice moment as well, although it’s been hard, was having a stand with my brand at the Stylist exhibition last year. Just the achievement of having a stand with my logo and my products was just amazing, so surreal.
“You really have to be completely authentic; it’s something that the industry has lost massively. The nature of makeup now is that it’s all on Instagram; it’s all the same face."
Why did you pick liquid lips as your first products?
In hindsight, with the way the market is at the moment, I maybe should’ve come out with something a bit more innovative. However, I’m a big believer in staple products, a lot of the makeup brands in the past that have succeeded and still exist to this day are ones that launched with a staple product, like a lip. Even though the lip category is saturated, if people find a lipstick that they love, then they’re more likely to repeat purchase. So it’s a loyalty product, but I also wanted something that would echo that feeling of you go out to the disco and want a lipstick that would last you till the next day. That’s the whole play on the story.
With the topper, there had to be something that was glittery. I knew I wanted something that was like a lip coat from the 80’s that you would paint on and it locked the lipstick in.
What’s the best tip you can give as a global makeup artist?
You really have to be completely authentic; it’s something that the industry has lost massively.
The nature of makeup now is that it’s all on Instagram; it’s all the same face. The problem with Instagram is that your work is so easily ripped off; nothing is original anymore. To stand out, you have to do something authentic and different. Don’t be the same; it’s boring. I think the industry needs a bit of a shake-up. Right now, more than ever, we need people who are original. When you have an original style, people can automatically tell that it is yours.
I grew up with makeup artists like [Mary Greenwell] who all had their own way of doing things when you work backstage as a makeup artist you do pick up that, and it is missing from the makeup industry more these days.
What’s the biggest faux pas being made with makeup at the moment?
Echoing on my previous point - following the wrong people, and not staying true to what their style is. And being influenced too much by what they see on social media, rather than exploring what suits them and what works for them – [treating makeup as if] it’s a one size fits all. It even translates to older women, they come to you for advice ‘What about a bit of a fuller brow, what about contour?’ - even they’re looking at tutorials online and thinking that must be how I have to do it.
Also, not shopping around enough, almost being scared to ask advice for makeup. They would rather watch what somebody says and go and buy it without getting the correct advice.
What’s in your makeup bag?
At the moment, I’m massive on skincare. I’ve got a Sunday Riley U.F.O Oil that I love!
Which by the way, I think under makeup oil is one of the best things you can use, it just helps makeup glide on the skin, and a bit more evenly. I’m using the NARS Radiance Primer SPF 35, and the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, it’s my favourite foundation, it’s so good. And obviously a MAKEUP 54 lipstick; I’m wearing Whirl from M.A.C. at the minute to make it a bit pinker. I have a lot of lip liners that I experiment with, but that is my current fave.
Best skincare secret?
Always use more moisturiser than you think you need. Always. I know in my experience that your skin looks better when your skin is more plump and hydrated. Which you can only achieve by using a decent amount of moisturiser, I think when people use too little, you don’t get an even finish. It really provides a base. Your skin will absorb it, as long as you massage it in. Take some time to actually massage your skin, really rigorously in upwards movements. And always use lip liner to define and make the lips fuller!
Photomontages by Luke Walwyn