Mangalurean makeup artist Shraddha Naik’s journey in Bollywood is blissful
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Dec 6: Bollywood. An industry, that has set standards for many a youth, defined aspirations and redefined cultures. It also runs on a team of invisible hands, that today gain greater visibility. Among those are the artistes that draw on the most dynamic canvases, the human face. These artistes work endless hours to bring beauty to our screens. Celebrated celebrity makeup artist in Bollywood Shraddha Naik is one among them. Born to a Tulu speaking family from Attavar, Shraddha has taken the art to the next level and now is a personal makeup artiste to actor Shraddha Kapoor.
Subtlety is the key, she believes. She has spun her magic on Deepika Padukone, Parineeti Chopra, Athiya Shetty, and Yami Gautam among many other actors.
Shraddha Naik remains extremely proud of her Mangalurean identity. Although born and brought up in Mumbai, she says, "I keep visiting Mangaluru. We have an ancestral house here. My paternal family is from Mangaluru. After retirement in Dubai, my parents settled here. My mother is a skin specialist at a salon here. I too look forwards to bridals here in Mangaluru."
Speaking to daijiworld, she tells us about the heart that goes into the art.
Q: Were you inclined towards makeup art at a young age? When did you feel that makeup was not just a hobby? Were there any roadblocks then?
A: It was in 2008, after my graduation. I was 20. That is when I decided to take it up as a profession. Back in school, I drew liners and lipstick on friends. When young, every girl is fascinated with makeup art. The only time I got to wear lipstick was my birthday. After I entered the field, I worked with two Marathi films to gauge if it was my cup of tea.
There were roadblocks. I did a course with a senior makeup artiste. That time, girls were not allowed into makeup art. They were restricted to hairstyling. 'A girl can never make another girl look beautiful' was the notion. Union cards for makeup artistes were not allowed to a girl. It was then that a senior makeup artiste asked me to join him with the assurance of helping me be a makeup artiste. I was hoping he could help. But he discouraged us in the career. However, God was kind and I got to assist Cory Walia. He encouraged girls into makeup artistry. I also was a part of his institute later.
Q: Is the industry congenial to women?
A: The Supreme Court passed a rule last year. Besides, there is awareness about the industry in social media.
Q: You have been in the industry for eight years. How do you see makeup industry transform over the years?
A: I have seen it change a lot. I feel lucky to be in it in this era when people are aware of us as artistes. Earlier, there was no credit given to them. Now, due to social media, credit is given to us. We can connect to our audience. These, I call, the 'glorious years' of makeup artistry. It will grow from here.
Q: You travelled to London after enrolling in a Basic and Advanced makeup course. Do you think it is essential for one to go to an institute in order to become a successful makeup artist?
A: Yes. Knowledge in any field is extremely important. You cannot grow unless your basics are strong. You have to get your basics right just like you would in IT, engineering, medicine, teaching and other professions.
Q: Who inspired you into the profession?
A: No one from my family was in this industry (Bollywood). My mother owned a beauty parlour. To help her, I stepped into beauty, hair and makeup. I took bridal orders, big and small. During my graduation, I was sure I wanted to proceed in this line. I told my parents about it. But they stood their ground and asked me to complete my graduation. I knew I wanted to do this. After graduation, I assisted a makeup artiste. Over time I ended up being with just the right people. Seeing me grow in the field, my dad sent me to the UK for a makeup artistry course, just like he would if it was an MBA. There was no looking back then on.
Q: What are the personal traits of a good makeup artist? Is there teamwork involved?
A: I have a team that helps do the touchup. It is important to have the right people in the team.
When I started, it was not easy or merry. I had to work 16 hours a day if we were shooting for a film. Sometimes, there was no electricity or food. At times we had to live in tents. But the dedication, hard work and the love for what I do best is what drove me.
Q: What are the pressures of being a makeup artist?
A: You have to stay away from home for long. There is no family time even during festivals, as you have to get the artiste ready for the Diwali party. There is no new year's or birthday together with the family as there would be an outdoor shoot for films. Sometimes you have to work for long hours – 14 or 15 hours, eat outside food. You need to prioritise for a work-home balance.
Q: Makeup artists do not get a lot of credit. What is your opinion?
A: Earlier yes, but not now. The situation has changed because of social media. Actors give credits during the promotion of films. Even so, awards for makeup artists are only given in one or two award ceremonies although they are the ones responsible for making artistes on screen look beautiful.
Q: You have worked with Bollywood big shots. Tell us a funny story of being on the job.
A: I will not call it a funny story, but a touching one. I am working with Shraddha on her shoot of Sahu, a bilingual movie, starring Prabhas. I just came back from the first schedule of the film. During our time there, Prabhas kept feeding us the local cuisine. He got us yummy homemade food in 'dabbas'. It would have 15 items including dal and non-veg. We had good healthy local food every day. Shraddha and I used to hit the gym in the morning, thinking about the good food we would have in the noon. Sometimes we play football on sets. Every set has its own memories.
Q: How different is your approach to every actor?
A: I am blessed to work with good people like Shraddha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Parineeti Chopra, Athiya Shetty and Yami Gautam who have been sweet and kind and approached me a lot. They allow me to try what I want. They trust me. Personally, I treat them all equal.
Q: How have modern apps like Instagram helped you connect with your audience?
A: Instagram has helped me connect with my followers much better. When I try a new look on Shraddha or Deepika, people ask me 'how do you do it' and it feels special. It is a way to connect with the celebrities and local people.
Q: Amateur makeup artists have tutorials on Youtube and some have a huge fan following. How far are they from the real job?
A: I feel disappointed at times by the makeup artist industry on Youtube. I have learnt the art and I know by experience, it is not just about the foundation and colours for me. It is the right foundation for the right skin type, the right eyeliner for the right eye shape and the right shade of lipstick for the right lips. The foundation should not look patchy.
My mantra for the foundation is 'not in people telling me you have got such beautiful makeup on. But, in them telling me, ‘You have got such beautiful skin'.
I would ask those interested in makeup artistry to join an institute and learn the profession, just like every other profession.
I am the personal makeup artiste for Shraddha. Every Filmfare I bring something new. Makeup reacts differently in different locations as skin reacts to the hot climate or cold snow. But to adapt the changing conditions, one needs to be firm with their basics.
Q: A lot of VFX is being used today. Do you see that as a threat to your profession?
A: No. VFX can clear your skin, and put some blush maybe, but cannot put a liner on the eyes. VFX can make you flawless, makeup makes you beautiful. Makeup artistry is an art. We add the right features on the face of the artiste.
Q: What would it be to be a makeup artist in Mangaluru’s local industry?
A: I would love to explore the local industry here, but now I am a part of Bollywood. I have worked in the Marathi film industry which is growing and going global. I started seven years ago, but it was not a great experience. There was not much credit given.
Q: From the vintage classic makeup style, which is your favourite?
A: The 1960s. The slick liner and red lips, the 'classic red mouth'. I have revived it in the actors I have worked with and blended modern clothing and hairstyle into it.
Q: There is a recent anti-fairness discussion started in Bollywood by Abhay Deol. What is your take on it?
A: No comments on that debate. However, fair or dark, every individual is beautiful and has the right to beauty despite skin colour.
Q: Babas are getting into the cosmetic industry. Your comments?
A: No comment on that. Anyone is free to come as long as they offer good products.
Q: What do you think of Mangalurean beauty standards?
A: It is beautiful how they still have their basic style of wearing a Gajra and Kohl. It is a nice thing to stick to roots against modernisation. Mangalureans have stuck to theirs.
Q: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
A: Right now I am working with Shraddha Kapoor in Sahu. I am her personal makeup artiste.
Q: Any advice for aspiring makeup artists?
A: Join us. The industry is huge. Hope you have the right knowledge and are not just attracted by glamour. Make sure you have the right knowledge and have studied the profession.