WATCH: How Mata Mariélle went from fine art to makeup supremo

From her first Joy Crookes video to hiding her brushes in bin bags, Mata Mariélle’s growth came differently…

From her first Joy Crookes video to hiding her brushes in bin bags, Mata Mariélle’s growth came differently…

28 Sep 2023
4 mins read time
4 mins read time

Mata Mariélle wasn’t meant to be a makeup artist. But here she is, working with international celebrity clients like Alicia Keys, Sheila Atim, Tems, Kai Isaiah-Jamal, Honey Dijon and Steve Lacy.

In our interview with Mata, as part of our Originals series, she told us how she, like PopWorks does things differently, describing her “organic” journey to the top of makeup artistry and how she got into it on a whim.

“My best friend Joy Crookes was starting out in music and she needed a MUA for her video she was directing herself,” she told woo behind the scenes of her PopWorks Originals shoot. “And because my background is fine art, I had loads of brushes and some makeup so I agreed to do it.

“The night before the shoot we went to a chemist near Oxford Circus with £30 to our name and we bought cheap makeup and also begged the babes on the makeup counter to give us free things.”

From there, the only way was up: “The very next day was my first makeup job. I did makeup on 14 women, on older and younger skin and ‘cause Joy was good with her words, she was able to find a really good wardrobe stylist and hair stylist who recommended me for work after seeing what I did that day.”

“I was working in makeup for six months straight." Her parents, who expected her to be at uni, didn't know. “I’d leave my kit outside the night before. I’d cover it with a bin bag and be like, ‘Bye Mum, bye Dad I’m going uni’ and then go into a job.”

Eventually, she quit uni, and academia’s loss was the beauty world’s gain. From there, she pioneered the Mata lip. “That will always and forever be my favourite beauty trend. My intention when doing this kind of lip is to show my lip and leave a luscious form and leave it big juicy and gorgeous and baddy.”

She brings that to the PopWorks Original shoot, too. “I want to get the sweetness and spice to translate when creating this PopWorks inspired look,” she says. While being inspired by PopWorks Sweet Chipotle Chilli, she’s thinking of “a very nice sexy red ombre lip."

Mata puts her boldness down to her heritage: “People in my community, Congolese people are bold and loud in everything they do - I’ve always liked the idea of boldness especially when it comes to makeup.”

As for tips on how anyone, no matter their background, can do things differently, she recommends being able to get some space. “I live alone and that’s amazing. I don’t have to go back to smelly useless housemates that make so much mess."

“If there’s mess in my space I made it. If there’s noise in my space, I made it. It’s really nice to come home and there’s deadly silence. If I want music, I’ve got it. If I want TV, I’ve got it, but sitting in silence is underrated.”

From that silence, she creates. “I go home and get my notebook out. I write, draw or sketch and that’s a great way to free up a creative block in my head. It’s very good to get myself out of that whenever I feel a type of way. I will put everything down that relates to a particular word and it lets me get inspired, the ideas come.”

Her final piece of advice is to stay curious: “If you want to step into makeup and actually learn, just ask questions. Always ask questions.”

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