Makeup Maven

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Apr 20, 2015 11:55 AM
Skye (right) works with Jeanne Beker on the set of the short film "Two Square Feet" in 2012. (Scott Mclellan photo)

She has been up close and personal with everyone from Alan Doyle and Allan Hawco to Shaun Majumder and Kim Stockwood. She’s worked on the sets of “Republic of Doyle” and “Majumder Manor,” not to mention countless commercials, photo shoots and fashion shows - and she’s only 23.

Meet Skye Tostowaryk, a professional makeup artist living and working in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The Ontario-born, Newfoundland and Labrador-raised beauty aficionado says her passion for makeup started young - maybe a little too young. 

“I would say my interest in makeup developed when I was five. I would put on my mother’s eye shadow and lipstick. I mean, it looked crazy - because I was five,” she laughs. But things got much more serious when Skye entered her teen years. At 13 her stepfather, a filmmaker, explained how makeup could become a career - and since then she’s been driven by that dream. 

As a young teenager Skye volunteered on the set of Rogers TV’s “Out of the Fog” doing makeup for guests - while also volunteering at a spa, whose owner showed her the ropes of beauty makeup. She was just 17 when she worked on a film set for the first time, honing her special effects skills transforming actors into zombies day after day. In addition to heaps of on-the-job training, Skye’s also completed various programs at the Toronto School of Makeup, taken aesthetics courses at Academy Canada and earned a diploma in performance and communications media from Memorial University.

Over the course of her already impressive career she’s touched-up and made-up nearly the full gamut of local celebrities and a handful of national ones. She says her role as a makeup artist often forges unique, intimate relationships with high-profile clients.

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Skye works her magic on actress Cathy Jones on the set of the short film "Me2" in 2013. (Jackson Mclean photo)

“You get to know the actors more than the lighting people or the camera people - or even the producer - because you are in their face, and you’re taking care of their face and they’re telling you all these confidential things about their image that you need to correct, and then you’re in charge of maintaining that for the duration of the shoot, so you develop a strong relationship,” says Skye.

She says one of her most exciting clients has been Canadian fashionista and TV personality Jeanne Beker, who came to St. John’s to star in a short film in 2012.

“Working with Jeanne Beker was amazing. She’s a fashion icon, so before I heard I was working with her I already followed her and knew who she was and thought she was incredible and inspirational,” says Skye. “I was really scared! I mean, she’s a big deal to me.”

Even so, she says getting to meet and makeover celebs on a regular basis isn’t the biggest perk of her job. Skye says she most enjoys being part of a creative team with a common goal: getting a beautiful shot and telling a beautiful story.

Set to Studio

When Skye isn’t wielding her brushes and blushes on set, she can often be found working out of her home studio in St. John’s, where she offers services ranging from bridal makeup applications to makeup lessons, hair styling, facials, manicure/pedicures, waxing and much more. And she says she truly enjoys all the many facets of her career.

“I love everything from powdering men for interviews to special effects to runway…I love every aspect of it - I love doing eyebrow waxings, I really do,” she says.

She opted to open her own business, called Skye Makeup, instead of working at a salon to ensure she continues to have the freedom to pursue freelance opportunities in the television, film and fashion industries. It also frees up her time to pursue her other passions (the busy 23-year-old is also a model, photographer and, most recently, a filmmaker - having just made her first short film).

Being her own boss also gives Skye the freedom to use the cosmetics of her choosing. Practicing veganism for the last five years, Skye prefers using makeup that has received vegan certification, meaning the products and their ingredients have not been tested on animals.

Skye has come a long way from rifling through her mother’s makeup bag - and she’s loving every minute of living her dream.

“I’m happy with where I am for how old I am, but I definitely have bigger goals and aspirations than where I am right now. I’d like to be a key makeup artist on television sets and movies in Toronto and Vancouver, not just here - but I need to start with here,” says Skye.

For those considering following a similar career path, Skye has some sound advice:

“This is not the type of career that gets handed to you. It’s the type of career that you volunteer in for years, for 12 hours [a day] on a film set, and you’re on your game even up to the 12th hour. And you’re wiping sweat on camera and picking teeth - it’s not always glamorous,” says Skye. “But it’s worth it.” - By Ashley Colombe

"Makeup Maven" is one profile in our "Cool Jobs" feature, which appears in its entirety in the May 2015 issue. Learn about the exciting work of two more locals in the May issue of Downhome.