September’s Featured Artist is Leah Murphy, a professional freelance makeup artist from Brantford. Clients can book Leah’s services in preparation for birthday parties, engagement parties, bridal and baby showers, or any event or special occasion where they want to feel a little more polished and glamorous.
Growing up in Brantford, Leah attended North Park Collegiate and was drawn to a cosmetology course and the beauty industry. This course fueled her passion for makeup even further and she began to realize that she could make a career out of it. In 2004, she took her love of makeup to Vancouver to study all aspects of makeup in the full-time MakeUp Artisty Program at the world-renowned Blanche MacDonald Centre. It was one of the biggest decisions of her life to move across the country, but she gained the confidence to to pursue her dreams with encouragement from family and friends. After completing the program, Leah spent time working in the industry in Vancouver and Calgary. While she was in Calgary, she was featured in the Calgary Herald and had appearances on Breakfast Television and Global News. “I loved my time out west, but decided to move back to Ontario to be closer to friends and family. I lived and worked in Toronto before deciding to settle down in my hometown of Brantford,” Leah adds.
Makeup trends are constantly changing and product lines continue to become more advanced. Leah says she continues to educate herself by taking new courses and learning from other makeup artists in order to keep up-to-date with the evolving industry. “When I was in school, I was mentored by incredible instructors who are still active in their field. I find inspiration in other makeup artists. We all have different visions, so it’s always interesting to see others work,” says Leah.
Makeup artistry is an amazing art form because each face is unique, so the tools and techniques used change with each client. Leah works with a variety of high-end cosmetic lines. Leah explains, “I like to pick the best products from each line. It is important to have different formulas of products as well. Each clients’ skin type, texture and tone is different so I want to be sure to have the perfect product for everyone. I offer both airbrush and traditional applications, and I often like to do a combination of both on clients.”
Leah’s love of makeup artistry is only surpassed by her love for helping clients to look and feel confident and beautiful. “I absolutely love what I do because I get to be a part of so many special occasions. The energy on a wedding is spectacular and the excitement of seeing the outcome of a photoshoot is wonderful. A high percentage of my bookings are for weddings, but I also enjoy working on family photoshoots, special events, headshots, editorials and boudoir.” Leah likes to give her clients little tips and tricks as she works—something her clients really appreciate, and often a few small changes can make a big difference in the outcome of one’s everyday makeup routine.
Currently, Leah is working on organizing some creative styled shoots with other industry professionals and loves the inspiration that she pulls from that. She notes, “I am inspired by so many artists in the community. We have a great number of fabulous hairstylists, lash and nail technicians. [Living] in Brantford has helped me to connect and collaborate with many others in the beauty industry. It is so important to network and support others in your field.” This is really true in any profession and in any city, but it’s particularly evident in a city like Brantford that has such a close-knit population. “I enjoy the sense of community that Brantford has. After spending a lot of time in larger cities, I have really come to appreciate the fact that you can see familiar faces everywhere you go. When I’m not working, my family and I like to explore the different parks and trails. We also love to get fresh and local produce from Brantwood Farms,” Leah adds.
When asked what tips she has for artists just starting out, Leah emphasizes the power of practice. “Try to step out of your comfort zone once and a while. Trust your creativity and try something that you haven’t tried before. You will often be pleasantly surprised by the results. You can always work on yourself to test out new techniques or play around with different texture and colour combinations.”
Follow Leah on social media at “Leah Marie Makeup” on Facebook and Instagram to view her portfolio and get in touch with her for your next special occasion.