A professional make up and hair artist for the past 18 years, Marvie Ann Beck, who excels at beautifying people, brings that artistry to her persona as well. Her 2000 square feet salon in the midst of bustling Bandra, tells a story of talent, passion, dedication and commitment. Several campaigns and stars she’s worked on bear testimony to Marvie’s magical prowess when it comes to enhancing personalities. In conversation with Marvie Ann Beck who is on the onset of launching Naturals Marvie Lounge and Academy.
Payal: Tell us about the early days of your life?
Marvie: I was born in Kolkatta and I came to Bombay when I was 9. So I am a total aamchi Mumbai girl. My parents are from European descent but 3 of our generations have lived here thereafter. I studied in a normal Convent school and then did my graduation in literature. However I was inclined to do artistic stuff. I was keen on finishing my education, since being an artist alone would be risky and I needed something to fall back on.
Payal: When did you start developing a liking for art, specifically make up?
Marvie: From the age of 3 I started drawing and painting. I was always very fascinated with all kinds of colors, textures and painting. We are a family of artists. We all are into singing and dancing and such other art forms. I learnt ballet from my mom who is a ballet teacher and so for my stage shows, I learnt to do my own make up. I was always interested in make up. I was fascinated with the shape of the eyes and the texture of the skin. And then again I felt faces were just an extension of a canvass. I had no clue that this would become a profession. I could think of working in an office or as an air hostess. It’s only much later that I realised that I wanted to do something in the creative space and dabbled into make up.
Payal: How did your family react to your decision of being a Make Up Artist?
Marvie: Since we are a very artistic family, there wasn’t really a problem. My mum and dad were always confident of me since whenever I did something, I did it well. I have always been a go- getter, very ambitious and dedicated. So they trusted me even though I chose something like this.
Payal: How did your journey in make up begin?
Marvie: I was an air hostess and I used to do my own make up really well for the flights. All girls used to ask me how did you do that and I would do it for them or show it to them. Slowly I started telling the girls whenever they had their weddings, I could do the make up. Started doing that. Eventually I was tired of flying. I had a free ticket from my airline. I went to London, did a course in make up and when I came back, I quit immediately and started working on make up.
Payal: What was it like learning make up in London
Marvie: I did a short stint at Delamare School of Make Up in London. It was a short holiday course since I ddint have the money and time to pursue anything longer. But whatever I did helped me a lot since it opened up my mind to international standards. So when I came back to India I had a bigger picture of what make up is.
Payal: Was it easy to adapt in India considering the skin tones in Europe are very different from Indian skin tones?
Marvie: I learnt in London, but my model was Suchitra Pillai, since she was a friend and was in London at that point. She had a lovely dusky skin tone and I practiced on her since I knew that’s what I would be working on majority of the times.
Payal: What was your first assignment in make up and what was your career graph like thereafter?
Marvie: My first assignment was with Nivea. One of my friends was a coordinator and had forgotten to invite a make up artist. So she requested me to go and do the make up for a test shoot. I agreed and since they didn’t have a hair stylist, I did the hair too. Ashok Salian was the photographer there and he really liked the make up. So I bagged the Nivea campaign. I remember the model was Rakshanda Khan. After that I did a lot of work for Mahesh Mathai. He was one of the top ad filmmakers at that point. In past 18 years I must have crossed more than 5000 faces. I did ads like Parachute, Cadburys, Lakme, Elle 18 and so many more. Later I became the grooming instructor for Jet Airways.
Payal: The fashion and film world is considered to be very picky and people find it difficult to find a foothold. Was it difficult establishing youself?
Marvie: Not at all. I was very fortunate since my timing was perfectly right. I stepped into make up when it was an empty pocket that needed filling up. I have always been very enthusiastic, cooperative and dedicated and have been on top of everyone’s list.
Payal: You have studied make up in London and now you are running a make up Academy here in India. Do you see a difference in the make up education and do you feel India is at par when it comes to hair and makeup academies.
Marvie: I don’t mean to be arrogant but I am confident in saying that my make up school is one of the best in the world. We are at a level where we can transform people into world- class make- up artists. I don’t think we lag behind in any way.
Payal: In today’s world when people have become so conscious about presenting themselves well, do you see a lot of people from non fashion or film background interested in learning make up
Marvie: We have a lot of ladies who are directors or board room heads and they want to look really good nowadays in the way they dress and the way they do their hair and make up. I think in today’s world it’s a fact that if you are groomed well, you will get a better position. People are more evolved now in terms of grooming themselves. Again because of Facebook and other social media platforms, presentation has become really important. So people come to me saying they want to learn their own makeup as in how to look good during the day, in the night, at an event or maybe a wedding ceremony.
Payal: You have a very high- pressure job with long hours and you have a child. How did you find the work life balance?
Marvie: It was the toughest part for me. There have been times when I have carried my child to shoots, for months and months. Luckily the industry supported me. That way the industry has been baby friendly. Then again you cant do that for long. So I did have to cut down my work a lot at a point of time. I started becoming the fastest make up artist since I had to rush back home to my child. I did a lot of pre planning. If I had a shoot on a particular day, I would wake up at 5-30 in the morning, get my baby’s stuff ready, rush to the shoot, finish in the evening and rush back home. Thank god for all my energy, so I did all of that with a lot of excitement.
Payal: How do you deal with stress?
Marvie: I engage myself in other things to feel rejuvenated. Like I love doing interiors and recently did my home as well. I was extensively involved in designing my salon. I love singing, dancing, cooking and writing poetry. I am a trained jazz ballet dancer and have also learnt belly dancing. Then there’s always the retail therapy.
Payal: What have been your biggest challenges on this journey ?
Marvie: Being a female in India is a challenge. For instance the Bollywood industry for the longest time didn’t allow females to do make up. Till date there are some cases going on where they don’t allow a female make up artist to be on the set. So I couldn’t do many films, since I didn’t have the gender. That hampered my growth on the movies front.
Payal: What have been your biggest achievements by far?
Marvie: I think my biggest achievement has been to make people happy. I have done a lot of assignments and I always give it my best. I have done a lot of features with the best people in the industry. So I have done well for myself. And maybe the best is yet to come.
Payal: What are the most important lessons you have learnt?
Marvie: There are no short cuts in life; it is all about hard work and dedication. You may have all the talent in the world. To succeed you need to be disciplined and committed. Also emotional stability is a must. You need to be very strong and detached. You have to leave personal feelings aside and stay focused on your work. You must also learn to be flexible, giving , non egotistical and non judgmental.
Payal: Amongst the faces you have worked on, which ones did you love the most
Marvie: I like working on high cheek bones and chiseled faces. There are a few faces that I love to work on. I love working on Malaika Arora Khan’s face, since she has an excellent facial bone structure. I loved working on Madhu Sapre, Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai. Then again Deepika Padukone has a lovely face and so does Bipasha Basu.
Payal: Ok so lets do this. I list out a make up item and you give me the brand that’s your current favorite.
- Foundation – YSL
- Blush – Benefit
- Eye Liner – Mac
- Lip Colors – Guerlain
- Mascara – Lancome
- Eye Colors – Urban Decay
- Shimmers- Nars
- Body Make Up – Benefit
- Primer – Stila hydrating primer
Payal: You have so much on the shelves now. The BB cream, CC cream and Primers. Do you think these are make up essentials really or just overzealous marketing gimmicks?
Marvie: I think they all have a part to play. If you manage to use them well, you can get better results. They aren’t just gimmicks. For instance you will find beautiful primers that can actually close your pores and prepare your skin for foundation. Product development and innovation is continuously bringing out newer stuff. So it makes the whole art of make up very exciting. But the techniques, colors and tones remain the same. Just the products keep on changing.
Payal: For a make up novice with very basic understanding, what are the few essentials they must have in their kits to work up the look?
Marvie: . A good eye liner, mascara, tweezer, eye lash curler and a great blush on and moisturizing lip colors. If you have 5 basic shades, 2 for day – Brown and Pink, and 3 for night – Fuchsia, Bright Red and Coral. Definitely invest in a good concealer-corrector, good foundation and compact powder to make the skin look good. Then a few colors in eye shadows, like gold, charcoal black, blues and greens. That covers all the basics.
Payal: For the coming wedding and party season, what are the latest make up trends?
Marvie: A very light moisturizing cover up should do. Sparkly eyes specially colors that enhance eye color, like golds, rusts, reds, greens and aquamarines. Glossy skin is very much in since it denotes youth. Every one needs to pay a lot of attention to skin and see that it has a lovely texture. So you don’t need to cover it up with thick layers. Also a classic glam look is always in since it never looks dated.
Payal: What eye and lip colors will be the hottest this season?
Marvie: I think a lot of glitter, metallic eyes are in. Also lash extensions are very in. Shimmery and Glossy cheeks. Lips with crème finish, like solid colors are in. I feel Nude is passé.
Payal: What are the hair trends you favour this season
Marvie: I think highlights always make you look amazing and enhance your features, skin tone and eye color. Long layers in hair are ever green. Also soft curls at the ends of the hair look very romantic. A lot of hair trends come and go, but these are classics and they always stay. So wavy soft Barbie Doll look is what I am favoring this season.
Payal: Coming to Fashion, what are your wardrobe essentials?
Marvie: I am a total skirt girl. I feel very free and relaxed in them. I also love Baby Doll dresses. I pick up a lot of stuff from Zara, Vero Moda and places like that. Then I love waist belts. And accessories like rings and ear -rings. Again a waist coat or a Bolero can drastically change the look.
Payal: A message to the women who want to establish themselves in the make up and hair styling industry
Marvie: This field involves a lot of work. Also there are a lot of women who are very low on self- esteem and make up can have a magical impact on them. So I would say it’s a great job where you are giving self- confidence to others.
By: Payal Hindocha