In Making It Up, acclaimed makeup artist and global brand ambassador for MAC, Nicole ‘Pinky’ Thompson, inspires beauty junkies across the world – regardless of age, gender or race – to break the makeup rules, embrace diversity and live life colourfully.
Nicole dissects all the makeup mumbo jumbo, covering everything from foundation and contouring to creating the perfect eyebrows and pout.
She catches up with Professional Beauty to talk makeup minus the rules.
How did you get into the beauty industry?
“A chance comment from my then boyfriend opened up my eyes to makeup being a career I could jump into. And jump into it I did. I quit my job and jumped into study.”
What do you love about the beauty industry?
“The constant change. Trends come and go, but I feel lucky to be able to make people feel really good about themselves with the blend of a brush or the pat of a shimmer.”
What do you dislike about the industry/what challenges do you see?
“Beauty Rules, people trying to conform to a certain look to fit in. I absolutely love the exposure I have had to brands, clients and companies that celebrate diversity and standing out for the the right reasons- being exactly who you are. Diversity is such a trend, and a trend word right now- and isn’t that fabulous. I want that to filter down to young girls at home who are torturing themselves trying to smooth smooth, squeeze and alter their bodies and faces via social media apps and realise that it IS actually what’s inside that counts in real life. Makeup is meant to be a fun accessory to show off your mood.”
Tell us about your book, Making It Up?
“We break the rules. In the book, I have poured my makeup brain onto the pages. I wanted to share all the little tricks I have learned during my 15 years doing makeup and show people out there how to have FUN with their beauty look. It does NOT have to be complicated. You CAN wear that colour, and that glitter – go for it. You will see many different faces in this book because everyone should be able to play with makeup and the look they present to the world. Photographed beautifully this is an inspirational makeup wardrobe, where you can take one part, or the whole damn thing – and make it your own.”
What are your thoughts on social media?
“I love social media for allowing us to connect with trends as they happen, anywhere in the world. Inspiration is at our fingertips. It has done wonders for my makeup career, to be able to present myself to the world, with my own control and attract like-minded clients and jobs. I hate the constant need for validation it promotes. I feel lucky that I have lived without it and with it, and I want to show my daughter that people liking you, is not what is going to push you through life. All that stuff is fluff, REAL quality life goals and happiness is driven by yourself.”
What’s your fave Instagram account?
@valgarland is my makeup hero so if social media didn’t exist and she was putting polaroids of her work on messenger pigeons, I would collect all the pigeons for my very own viewing pleasure.”
What are your signature ‘looks’?
“I get a lot of work due to not being afraid to play with colour but I always make sure I pair that with really good skin. So when it comes to signature looks – good skin is always in.”
What’s your fave makeup product and why?
“My eyelash curler is hands-down my favourite product, because eyelashes are the easiest part of your face you can make beautiful instantly and on the run.”
Which model/celebrity are you crushing on when it comes to makeup?
“I love Lady Gaga because she has grown into her look and embraced her age over time without going beige. And I love Katy Perry because she is always ready to be bold whether that is matching her eyeshadow with her outfit or incorporating glitter, a lash and a brow in essentially every make-up she does.”
Who is your icon when it comes to makeup (they can be dead or alive)?
“Depends on my mood – Kevin Aucoin, the original make up pioneer whose books I have collected over the years that still inspire me. From Val Garland, Tom Pecheax and Kabuki to my peers I work alongside everyday, I happily draw inspo from everywhere.”
How do you maintain your passion for the industry?
“How could I not – I’ve never had any two days the same in my entire career. My passion comes from being inspired, and I’m fortunate to be surrounded with those with the capacity to do that.”
What’s your philosophy when it comes to good makeup?
“Make up is less about how you look but more about how it makes you feel when you wear it.”
What’s your personal mantra?
“True Beauty is on the inside but there is nothing wrong with throwing a bit of glitter on it.”