This is the fourth interview in a series in which we will be featuring great talents across a range of professions that touch the beauty world and who inspire us with the simplicity, authenticity and elegance they bring to the work they love.
Today, we are honored to introduce you to Matthew VanLeeuwen, the talent behind some of Hollywood's most breathtaking transformations including Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Scarlett Johansson amongst many others. Matthew is loved not only for his technical genius but also his warmth and generosity of spirit. Enjoy!
T: Matthew, you are by all accounts one of the greatest talents in makeup artistry today. When did you first realize this was your calling?
MVL: My infatuation with makeup started at 7 years old when I discovered my Mom's makeup case under her vanity but it wasn't until the end of my college days that I realized makeup was truly my calling. Instead of interviewing for jobs with fortune 500 companies as I was expected, I took a job as a waiter so I could do makeup jobs during the day. It was during this amazing time that fire for creating beauty was ignited within me!
T: It is often said that your talent is in how you bring our a subject’s true beauty. How would you describe your artistic aesthetic?
MVL: The essence of my artistic aesthetic is about seeking out the points of balance and harmony that exist in each face. The points that activate and energize the unique inherent beauty of each canvas at a certain point in time. In this way the makeup becomes more about the journey than the destination. It is not formulaic but rather a discovery and a celebration, it is an act of LOVE.
T: Shu Uemura handpicked you to study under him in Japan. What did you learn from your time with him?
MVL: Shu Uemura was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. He taught me that creating beauty is sacred act. A spiritual connection. It is a respect for life!
T: Tatcha is honored to be a part of your kit. What is your secret to exquisite skin?
MVL: Tatcha definately plays an instrumental role in my makeup process and has become a must have in my kit . As I see it there are four major tenets to achieving exquisite skin:
- Know what kind of skin you have and care for it appropriately and religiously!
- Know your skin tone; cool, warm etc.to select the best makeup shade.
- Know your skin texture and choose the best formula for it.
- Know how to keep the skin finish looking fresh all day or night. This is very important! Tatcha Aburatorigami papers make this step simple and elegant.
T: What brings you the most joy in your work after all these years?
MVL: I have been very blessed to be able to work with the most talented photographers, hairdressers, stylists, and set designers on the planet. There is nothing like making art with an incredible team! Also there is an indescribable joy that comes when I can make a woman feel her true beauty. When the makeup literally becomes the woman and she see's herself as a person she dreamed of being!
T: Fun fact: who is your beauty icon?
MVL: My beauty icon is Natassja Kinski. I saw her many years ago at a restaurant in Los Angeles. She walked across the dining room and I couldn't take my eyes off her. She was the most stunningly beautiful woman I've ever seen.....I was totally mesmerized!
To learn more about Matthew VanLeeuwen, see his remarkable work online and follow him on twitter (@makeupmatthew).