Up Close and Personal with Zara Gul

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Taskeen Zahra chats with the hottest new makeup artist in town to see what makes her blush

Did you always want to be a part of the BEAUTY industry?
I’d been part of the beauty and fashion industry since I was in college. While I was doing some freelance modeling, and getting my makeup done from various makeup artists, I somehow knew I would end up doing this long term. My curiosity and interest in this field helped me to pursue my hobby as a profession, as it is something I enjoyed doing more than anything else.

When did you first begin experimenting with makeup?
I remember experimenting with my mother’s makeup when I was really young. I was specifically told to stay away, but I just couldn’t, haha!

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How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
Minimal, clean and raw – with no fuss. I believe makeup is something very personal, and should be used to make you look like the best version of yourself rather than making you look like someone else.

Tell me a little about your creative process.
It starts the moment I have a face in front of me. Once I get an idea about someone’s features and personality, I start off with the basics and the rest just follows. I don’t copy and paste my previous looks on someone else; it has to be different each time, since makeup is all about individuality.

What are the pros and cons of being a newbie in the industry?
I have generally noticed how insecure people are! Also, a lot of people originally asked me to go for loud and face changing makeup looks, because that is what everyone wants and that is what sells. But I knew I didn’t want to change my style just to be accepted. You have to create and offer something that’s not already out there, and target your own market. My aesthetic and style is the reason I was able to build up a vast clientele soon after I had started.

Where do you find inspiration?
It can be anything and can be anywhere. Inspiration is always around you, you just need to have an eye for it.

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Name a few makeup artists that influence your work.
I’ve grown up as an artist following different international makeup artists’ work (NOT YouTube tutorials). Pat McGrath, Rae Morris, Val Garland, The Westmore Brothers (especially Wally Westmore) and Albert De Rossi are just a few of my favourites.

Three makeup essentials you can’t leave the house without:
A correct concealer, voluminous mascara and a fun lip colour.

What is one advice you’d like to give to young girls this Summer?
Easy on the foundation, ladies. Instead, focus more on skin care.

Be honest – how long does it take you to do your own makeup on a regular day?
I can easily get ready in 10 minutes, but it depends on how much time I have or how tired I am.

What is your worst client experience?
Sometimes they have requests that are not practical. I work with brushes, not knives, that’s all I’m saying!

What do you think is the biggest mistake amateurs make when doing their own makeup?
I just think one shouldn’t follow trends blindly or do something just because everyone else around them is doing it. Understand your face and accept it and do what suits you.

Does that mean that you don’t keep up with the latest trends?
I kind of have to – it’s necessary in the kind of work I do. Additionally, it’s very easy to keep up with trends when you’re living in a cosmopolitan city like Lahore. I mean, just look around you – it’s hard NOT to notice a trend when literally everyone is sporting it.

If you could give someone a makeover, who would it be and why?
Audrey Hepburn and Johnny Depp! I’m sure I don’t need to tell you why, haha!

How has your work changed you?
I’ve become more patient and accommodating, two traits that were alien to me in the past. My tolerance level has increased drastically!

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Who is your biggest support system?
My Mom.

Where do you see yourself in FIVE years?
To be honest, I still have a long way to go.

What advice would you give to a younger you?
There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t fit in with the people around you. Just take the first step, and leave the rest to God. And do NOT be afraid of failure!

If you hadn’t chosen this career, you would have been a…?
I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve tried all the things I don’t want to be.

Favourite vacation spot:
Turkey

Perfume you wear these days:
Estee Lauder’s Beautiful and Bvlgari’s Omnia.

What makes you impatient?
Incompetent people.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Be more organized.

Hidden talent:
I can sing.

You hate it when you see people wearing:
Something to please people and not themselves. Oh, and wearing pajamas around town!

Favourite designer(s):
Delpozo and Ralph and Russo.

Necessary extravagance?
Travel.

Mac or Sephora?
Sephora, no questions asked!

Current favourite TV show:
Big Little Lies.

Song on repeat:
Be The One by Dua Lipa.

Most typically Pakistani thing about you?
My love for karak chai.

What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
Faiza Saleem and Mooro’s vlogs!

You are happiest when:
When I’m working.

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