The Interview — Kate Synnott, Makeup Artist
Kate Synnott is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. Irish-born Kate began her career working on LIFE Magazine cover shoots. Her clientele includes Kate Bosworth, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Nicole Kidman, Cara Delevingne, Emma Stone, Ashley Graham, Candice Swanepoel, and Olivia Culpo. Kate was formerly the National Lead Artist for Charlotte Tilbury’s line of luxury cosmetics. Her work has been featured on the covers of The Hollywood Reporter, Love Magazine, Bella Magazine, Vogue UK, Numero, and more. Her brand clients include Jimmy Choo, Dior, Calvin Klein, Beats by Dre, and Armani. For more Kate, follow her on Instagram @katesynnottmakeup!
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How did you get started in your career:
I started my career working for MAC in Dublin. It didn't take long before I started working in the fashion and editorial scene in Dublin. I worked on a lot of shoots for LIFE magazine, Irish Tatler, shows for John Rocha etc. Life magazine was one of my favorites to work with and they actually used me as their cover girl for their Beauty issue, which was amazing to be part of! Then I moved to London as the lead international make-up artist for Charlotte Tilbury. I learned so much from Charlotte! She is incredible at what she does and so talented. My job was to represent the brand and look after her VIP celebrity clients. That's when I really got into a lot of red carpet makeup. After nearly five years in London my husband Dave and I moved to LA. I signed with The Wall Group and haven't looked back!
Walk us through your typical work day:
I don't really have a typical day at work. That's one of the reasons I love my job so much. I’m constantly on and off planes, in different cities, getting to shoot in amazing locations—it is a lot of moving around but really keeps it interesting. I do LOVE award season in LA. It means I get to stay at home and sleep in my own bed! A typical day around award season starts with caffeine and exercise. It’s usually a 6 a.m. call time getting a client ready for a breakfast press event to promote their latest movie. Then getting them ready for a red carpet in the evening.
View Kate's Essentials
Who has had the biggest impact on your career:
I have to say my Mam is definitely the person who has had the biggest impact on my life in general. Both of my parents convinced me I could achieve anything I set my mind to if I worked hard, but my Mam is my GURU. When I first moved to London I found it really hard. I was basically starting all over again. I’ll always remember saying to my Mam, "I think I should move home it’s not working over here." As much as I know she would have loved me to move home and be closer to her, she insisted I stay and keep trying. And I'm so glad I did! She always seems to know what's best and has fearless instincts. She always says you regret the things you DON'T do… So if there something I want to do, even if I'm thinking... "God this is going to be hard and if I fail or it doesn't work out it's still better than not trying." Most people who are very successful have failed many times in their career… I actually think it's a good thing to experience. And then when you get it right it's much more rewarding!
What do you love most about your work:
I really love the transformation. I love getting a client ready for a red carpet, deciding on what look is going to work with the dress, what kind of makeup compliments the overall theme... For me it's always about the overall look and makeup that compliments the overall theme, rather than makeup taking over. Especially for red carpet. It’s like bringing a character to life.
One piece of advice you would give your 18 year-old-self:
Don't ever limit yourself! It just applies to so much for me, work or personal life. I hate when people say, "be realistic!!" I'm like, "eh no… why would I ever be realistic?" You have to dream big and adapt.
What’s the most exciting thing in your life right now:
Just got confirmed for a really cool job at the end of the summer! You will have to wait and see!
Your #1 makeup tip:
Layer and build. You have to build makeup up to what you want it to be by layering it. You can layer foundation and concealer to be more full coverage. You can layer on eye shadow to strengthen the pigment and you can layer creams and powders for the perfect finish. It’s all about using small amounts to build the makeup up to what you want it to be!
Share your biggest guilty pleasure
Hmmm I have so many lol… at the moment it’s a UK show called Love Island.
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc
A secret talent we should know about:
Cooking and night caps!