In The Press

Art Of Putting On Bold Face


MARIA PRIESTLEY talks to Hawkes Bay Make up Artist Vania Bailey

For most of us, one or two careers in a lifetime is enough. But not for Vania Bailey. Although she has been a makeup artist for the past nine years, it hasn’t stopped her from pursuing other hobbies and careers including acting, belly dancing, wrestling, kickboxing, farming, fashion and painting.
“You’ve got to try new things,”Vania says. “You’re here for a only short time so you should enjoy it. There’s still a lot of things I want to do.”

Although the self-proclaimed artnut admits she’s been through many different phases, she says she found her calling when she realised “painting a face is just like painting a canvas”. “You need to prime the face—it has textures and shading and every one is different.”

Vania, a 28-year-old freelance makeup artist, is originally from Napier but moved to Auckland nine years ago to pursue a career in the arts. Instead of just being a student at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts, Vania immersed herself in everything and anything she wanted to do.

“At one stage I was working at Virus (a fashion store), doing makeup for video clips, studying at Auckland University and going to acting auditions on my lunch breaks,” she says.

She started her career doing makeup for New Zealand music videos (including videos by Rubicon, Che Fu and the Finn Brothers), later she worked for cosmetic companies Lancome and Christian Dior and also had a stint doing makeup on the set of Hercules, which was “a rushed, exciting, amazing experience”. Meanwhile, Vania kept her pursuit of other hobbies, including
wrestling (though she looks small she is adamant she loves it), belly dancing and sewing. She even had a go at dairy farming.
“You can still be glamorous in a cow shed. I was out in my gumboots and Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses,” she laughs.

“I also was a goth for quite a long time,” Vania says, smiling at my surprise. It’s just she seems so girly —to have once been a goth, anyway. “I was more like a glamorous goth,” she explains. “It was fabulous, I loved it. It’s just a really creative look, you can do so much with it. I had the white skin, dark lipstick, dark eyes, dark, gorgeous, old clothing.
“Since I’ve been back to Hawke’s Bay I’ve noticed heaps of people look at me and and do a double take— because I used to dress so differently before I left here.”

Vania recently moved back to Napier from Auckland, with daughter Akura in tow, for a
“lifestyle change”. Although she’s only two, Akura already has a penchant—like her mum—for shoes, handbags and perfume.”But she’s not into the makeup thing quite yet, which is good,”Vania says with a laugh. For her clients, Vania can do casual day-wear, prosthetics, skin analysis, weddings, special occasions, makeup for that ball, and teach how makeup should be
applied. “Because I’ve been doing makeup for a long time I can look at a face and work out what I’m going to put on it pretty much straight away. You bring out the best in a person’s face. You play up their best features but cover up the flaws as well.”

Although she loves doing glamour makeup “because you can get away with so much” and “the
best part of going out is getting ready”, she really just loves making women feel “good about
themselves”. “What I like the best is creating a look that my client is happy with and
letting her see how amazing she looks—and loving it. It’s nice to feel really good about yourself every now and again. It’s important, because there’s so many things that can get
us down.”

Not much gets her down—with her daughter, a gigantic box of gorgeous makeup goodies and her
many hobbies on the go, what could? At present, Vania says she is “just me”. “But I think I was that person the whole time. I’ve just expressed myself in different ways at different
times in my life.” “You go through phases in life and you make the most of each chapter. I’d
be quite disappointed if I was the if I was the same old person all the time.”