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make-up artist lucia pica defines beauty as style and character

Lucia Pica is one of the fashion industry’s go to make-up artists. Her signature style champions a tough, masculine edge, inspired by strong women with personality and style.

Lucia Pica's iPhone is ringing off the hook right now, inundated with commissions from every important magazine in the industry. Born in Naples in 1976, Lucia moved to London aged 23 to study at the Grease Paint Make-up School. On graduating, she assisted the legendary British make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury; a self confessed “mascara and high heel addict”, in whom she not only found a good friend and learnt the tricks of the trade, but also travelled the world assisting on many a glamorous shoot and campaign. Today, the pretty brunette with the mesmerising green eyes is a regular collaborator with fashion photographers Alasdair McLellanWilly Vanderperre, Paolo Roversi and Angelo Pennetta, working with supermodels including Cara, Lara, Kate and Mariacarla. When she’s not busy shooting editorial, Lucia can be found crafting imaginative beauty looks for catwalk shows across the globe. Flanked by a fabulous crew of fashion friends - Chloe Kerman, Victoria Young and Francesca Burns all have her on speed dial - when it comes to beauty this Art Partner-signed Neapolitan covets a tough, masculine edge, inspired by strong women with personality and style. We caught up with the bella brunette to find out her definition of beautiful today...

What is your idea of perfect beauty?
With women, I am attracted to style and character. It doesn’t matter if a woman looks perfect. If something is kind of awkward, or unusual, I find that much more interesting. The way a woman puts herself together, the way she carries herself and moves, that’s more what I’m into, her vibe.

What women inspire you?
Growing up looking at fashion shows and magazines, I was always besotted with Isabella Rossellini. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her features are not necessarily conventional but to me that’s what makes
her even more extraordinary. She is sexy in an understated way and I love that masculine/feminine feel about her. Model wise, l love Lara Stone, Dree Hemingway, Guinevere van Seenus, Eliza and Mariacarla, she’s very fun.

What’s your earliest memory of experimenting with make-up?
You’re going to laugh, but when l was about ten I used to visit my neighbour, lock myself in her bathroom and put on as much of her make-up as possible. l looked like the character out of Betty Blue! Once I’d put it all on, l would take it all off again really quickly and then walk out as if nothing had happened. I bumped into her recently and she told me that she had known what I was up to all along!

That’s so funny! How did your mum used to wear her make-up?
My mother is a very understated woman, but she’s always worn a berry lipstick. She would dab it on her lips and a little on her cheeks to add a flush of colour. That was her ritual before she left the house and it is a pattern that I have picked up in my own beauty regime.

Do you view make-up as a tool that can empower women?
Yes, I think make-up can be a very powerful tool. It’s a way of enhancing one’s beauty, a non-drastic, inexpensive way of playing around with your looks.

How do you approach make-up for a shoot?
First l look to the clothes. Normally the stylist and photographer will tell me what they want to achieve and the story they’re trying to tell, and then a look comes to mind. My inspiration can come from anywhere, a character, a colour, a texture... Sometimes, something unexpected happens and you have to be receptive so the look can develop into what’s right for the shoot.

What make-up brands do you like to work with?
Oh l love Chanel, Laura Mercier and YSL... l love so many different brands. As a make-up artist you try to find products in each brand to fulfill your needs.

What beauty products do you think are life changing?
Ruby Woo lipstick by M.A.C has proved the perfect red for me for a while. YSL’s Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Burgundy and Chanel’s Inimitable Intense Black Mascara have been in my make-up bag for a long time. I also really like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealers, they make your skin look even in a natural way.

You assisted Charlotte Tilbury when you first started out, do you remember your first experience shooting with her?
Of course! We went to India for a few days on a Kenzo campaign. It was a whirlwind but extremely inspiring, I saw the beginning of a very hectic schedule.

How did Charlotte mentor you?
Charlotte has been very supportive; I was in awe of her work before I ever had the chance to work with her. She is a really inspiring person and has been a great mentor... not just with make-up but in many other ways. I still call her up, we are great friends and she is very happy for me and still very supportive.

Do you have an assistant yourself?
Yes, her name’s Siobhan, l’ve worked with her for two years. She’s amazing, very talented, a super helpful sweet girl, l can rely on her completely.

What was the first shoot you worked on independently?
It was a shoot with Lovefoxxx, the lead singer of CSS, for Pop, with Katie Grand and Sølve Sundsbø. Katie was really helpful and supportive of me after I left Charlotte.

Were you anxious?
Yes, of course! There’s never a day when l feel like work is going to be a walk in the park, but that’s good because it pushes me. l want to be my best all of the time. There’s always new developments happening and you can never be too self-assured.

Out of all the amazing women you’ve shot with, who have you enjoyed working with the most?
Julianne Moore. She possesses the most calming, cool vibe you could possibly imagine. Her face is so striking; putting make-up on her was delightful.

Do you have a favourite i-D cover?
My Jourdan Dunn cover with Alasdair McLellan and Elgar Johnson, of course! [The Winter Warm Up Issue, No. 316, Winter 2013].

We love that one too!

@picalucia

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