Gorgeous make-up artist Suzi Winter knows just how to make you feel special.
I meet the beautiful Suzi at her home on a sunny afternoon and we settle down in her garden with spectacular glimpses of the sea glistening in the distance. Suzi is tall and slim, with huge green eyes, long lustrous chestnut hair and a bone structure to die for. And she is also warm, funny, and totally self-effacing… her main worry during our talk is “why me?”
But with an agent in London finding her work for the likes of Hello magazine, as well as contracts with hugely successful Cornish companies like Seasalt and a stunning wedding portfolio, I’m keen to find out a bit more about this successful make-up artist based in Cornwall. After all Cornwall, gorgeous though it is, doesn’t immediately seem the right place to build a successful career as a make-up artist.
“Actually that was partly down to a very glamorous agent I knew who was staying at the Tresanton. When I told her that, while I absolutely loved living in Cornwall, I thought I should move back up to London to improve my prospects she said to me (puts on slightly affected ‘lovey’ voice) ‘Darhhling… are you mad! London is full of make-up artists. Down here you are the only one… there will be plenty of work!’” And, of course, the agent was proved right, but it must have taken quite a leap of faith to stay and make it work.
Unsurprisingly, when she was 16, Suzi started work as a model with an agency in London. She grins at me: “But I really wasn’t a very good model, I didn’t have the confidence and you need to have a certain self-belief to be able to strut your stuff and pose for the cameras. But I loved watching the make-up artists at work and decided that that was what I really wanted to do!” So she enrolled at the prestigious Delamar Academy on a professional make-up design course. Once finished, she worked alongside friends in the business learning and finessing her trade. “I was lucky enough to work on the film Blue Juice with Katherine Zeta Jones which was amazing. But otherwise I was doing lots of assisting on model shoots and also starting to do weddings.” She gives me that huge smile again, “which I discovered I absolutely loved!”
She then went travelling the world, but it was in Bali that her life changed again. Suzi picks up the story: “I met this guy in Bali and he started telling me about the wonders of Cornwall and how much I would love it. By then, the idea of going back to London was pretty horrid. So I moved to Cornwall, and he’s now my sister’s husband! So it wasn’t just my life that Bali changed!”
Suzi has been with Seasalt for five years, not just working on its promotional material but now with Seasalt in John Lewis and Next directory, online and video. “I love doing it, they are such a fantastic company to work for, with fabulous locations all over Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.” I ask her about a typical day on location: “I usually start about 6am doing the models’ hair and make-up for the day. Then it’s off to the location and I pretty much spend the day running about touching up make-up and redoing hair and, most of all, trying not to get in the way of the photographers! It’s pretty full-on.”
But it’s weddings that she gets really passionate about. “It really is such a special time to get involved in someone’s life – that one big day! A bride wants to look like herself… at her most beautiful. It’s when you will be most photographed in your life. But you want people to say you look amazing… not that your make-up is fabulous! And… it’s all about the eyes for a bride; I use individual lashes to really open out the eyes.” Her enthusiasm is contagious!
With two children: Marley (seven) and Savannah (five), Suzi and partner Jamie spend most of their time off as a family. ”We camp on the Lizard in our campervan, or go to the beach at Poldhu or Gwenver. I do yoga; I love yoga. I surf and run a bit. We like to eat out: Seadrift or Kota, the food is amazing! And the Polurrian is great for the kids.” The conversation drifts back to weddings and make-up. Suzi smiles, “I have really grown to love doing weddings, and I get to do them in Cornwall… it doesn’t get any better!”
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