[EXCLUSIVE] We Spoke To Uzo, Global Artistry Director of NARS On Breaking Beauty Rules
When it comes to make-up, Uzo, the Global Artistry Director of NARS says “there should be no rules”. Stepping away from convention, Uzo moved from the medical field and found her calling with NARS. When she was in town for a NARS event and a shoot with #TeamCLEO, we sat down with her to know more about why she chose beauty, and what inspires her most.
How did you first start off with make-up and how did you first discover your passion for it?
From an early age I loved everything about make-up. I loved all the colours and I used to watch my mom do her make-up. So I knew that I wanted to play with it, putting it on myself and my friends. That said though, I didn’t have an early start in being a makeup artist. As much as I am passionate about being one, make-up is my second career, which has lasted 20 years until now. I first went to medical school and I became a doctor. The amazing thing is that people nowadays can have a couple of careers in a lifetime and be whoever we aspire to be.
“Make-up is my second career, which lasted 20 years until now. I first went to medical school and I became a doctor.”
So how did you then jump into the beauty industry?
On one summer vacation, I want to take a break from all things medicine, so I took up a job at a cosmetic counter and that was how I started. I then landed myself a job at Clinique because I wanted a cosmetic brand that has a scientific touch to it. Two years after, I realised that I needed a brand with some artistry elements and my make-up artist friends advised me to do the same thing too. So then I moved on to Yves Saint Laurent and Bobbi Brown when it was very new back then in the ’90s for a couple of years. After all those years, I found my true calling at NARS.
How do you keep up with the latest beauty trends and where do you go for inspirations?
Lots and lots of shows at major fashion cities such as Paris, New York, Milan and London and of course, Los Angeles has been recently added to the list. Francois [Nars] is also one of the key sources of my inspiration, amongst other top fashion photographers whom I work with.
I am quite involved with social media too, recently especially. You can get a lot of interesting visuals and see what the millennials are really into right now and what they find interesting in general.
What’s your all-time favourite NARS product?
There are a few to be honest. First I would have to say it’s the Exhibit A Blush, and after Radiant Creamy Concealer came to the market, I love that product very much too. So it’s quite hard for me to really pinpoint which product is my all time favourite as we are constantly introducing new products to the market and my obsession changes constantly too.
For example, our new Orgasm Collection, marking its 20 anniversary this year, the collection is becoming a complete full on collection and this new range, you’ll see more of the liners. My new favourite product from the collection is the Endless Orgasm Palette that has six shades, and the beauty of it is that it is highly versatile where you can use it on your cheeks, eyes, on its own or and it works on all skin tones and lifestyle.
“I have recently worked with Naomi Campbell and working with her is so surreal.”
We know that you’ve worked with some of the biggest celebrities in the showbiz; can you tell us how is it working with them?
I had so much fun working with Nicki Minaj for Complex magazine cover back in 2014 mainly because the look we created for her is rather atypical from what she normally looks like. How we came to the conclusion of having the alternative look for her was that she wanted us to surprised her and we did a couple of looks actually and she was happy about it and felt intrigued how I have interpreted her look. What I did was a radiant glowy skin and neutral lips, and we did not go exaggerated on her eyes and it was much softer on her. She looks stunning even without makeup and extremely confident. I have recently worked with Naomi Campbell and working with her is so surreal.
This was a second time working her and the moment I got the call that I am going to shoot with her I brought my entire makeup kit to just get into a standby mode because working with a top celebrity like her you’ve got to be prepared at all times. You can’t just show up there without knowing exactly how she looks like now, like how is she wearing her hair now or what’s her fashion mode right now.
What’s one beauty rule made to be broken?
There should be no rules in general. But if I had to give you a beauty rule meant to be broken, you know what usually people tell you not to wear strong eyes and strong lips together, you can!
Tips to survive the hot and humid weather of Malaysia to avoid the makeup from melting and fading?
You’ll need a good primer for your face and it helps to lock in the foundation. For eyes you’ll need an eyeshadow base so it does not fade and you can get yours from NARS as our eyeshadow base is perfection.