Grande Maison


Education is Life in all its manifestations

After moving to Paris in 2004, Eny Whitehead began assisting some of the industry’s biggest names including Pat McGrath, Peter Philips and Tom Pecheux on various runway shows worldwide before starting to work on her own as a make-up artist.

Since then she has established an impressive portfolio working with a distinguished list of clients including Chanel, Hugo Boss, Longchamps, Leonard, Maje, Sandro, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and photographers. Eny has developed a strong aesthetic sensibility, which greatly influences her personal vision of style, beauty and fashion.

Her modern approach to beauty translates into effortless, eclectic and flawless looks. We caught up with Eny Whitehead during the haute couture shows during Paris Fashion Week to talk about how she started out in the beauty industry.

GM Why did you become a make-up artist?
EW I was living in Sydney at the time and one of my friends took me backstage to a fashion show, I knew nothing about fashion back then but I remember being mesmerised by the make-up artists backstage, the energy and creativity that was going on - it was very intense. So I decided that I wanted to become a make-up artist.

GM Which years of your life were the most influential for you?
EW In 2003, I moved to Paris to attend makeup school. Then two years later, I assisted Pat McGrath on the shows. In 2007, I met Peter Philips and started working with him and his close team. A year later, I joined the Calliste agency, and since 2013, I’ve been working with Chanel for their celebrity department.

GM When you were starting out, did you have any heroes or heroines - any people you particularly looked up to?
EW For me, Ellis Faas was, and still is, a great artist. I discovered her work whilst I was living in Amsterdam, about 12 years ago, and I was so impressed with what she did - how she used colours and her approach to textures - that I wrote her a letter to ask for advice on how she started out and she actually replied to me!

GM Do you still have this letter?
EW (laughing) Yes, I kept it.

GM What inspires you?
EW Nature has always been a great source of inspiration for me in terms of shapes, forms and colours. I think that is related to my childhood spent in Brazil, where colours are part of everyday life. Art is a great source of inspiration, I love to look at modern paintings - seeking new ways to assemble colours and textures.

GM Which elements define your signature?
EW People always tell me that they love the way that I work on the skin, it’s luminous and transparent in a way. I think that’s part of my vision of a modern woman, she’s strong but not artificial.

GM What does a make-up artist need to know to create their own signature?
EW You have to listen to yourself. Practice, in order to find out what speaks to you most and what kind of beauty appeals to you.

GM What does beauty mean to you?
EW For me, beauty is about personality and emotion, it’s not perfect - it’s an intriguing detail that catches your eye and makes you stare.

GM If beauty is poetry - which poem would it be?
EW It would be a quote by Coco Chanel - “La beauté commence au moment où vous décidez d’être vous-même.” - Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

GM What do you think of makeup artistry today, and what would you like to see changed?
EW The way of doing makeup has evolved, a lot of the new make-up artists out there are less technical, they work in a more contemporary way. Also, the industry is much more commercially driven now.

GM What are the main changes that have dominated the beauty industry during the last few years?
EW Social media has definitely changed the beauty industry in a major way. I think we all need to adapt to those changes, it’s a great tool and it’s important to understand how to make the most of it. People are constantly sharing all the latest beauty trends via social media, and more of the public now have instant access to images from backstage and fashion shoots. You can be anywhere now.

GM What are your most beloved products and must-have tools?
EW Eyelash curlers are a must-have! And of course, good brushes. Products that I am a fan of are; the Chanel Inimitable mascara in Noir - I absolutely love the brush, and MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick - a vibrant matte red.

GM Last but not least Eny, how important is the role of education in the beauty industry?
EW Education is the key to success. Being able to learn from people that have proved themselves in the beauty industry is the best way. You need to learn the basics from them and then develop your technique through practice, before you start expressing your own creativity. From my years of experience doing shows alongside people like Pat McGrath or Peter Philips, seeing how they work has been such a great experience - it allows you to learn different techniques, to experiment and it really boosts your creativity and self-confidence. Knowing the techniques allows you to create a variety of looks and to be able to express yourself, and then go a step further in your career.

GM Thank you Eny.

Represented by Calliste, Paris

Editorial written by Emma Tanner Interview by Astrid Al-Abadi