A Pro, a Passport and a Passion for All Things Beautiful

Many say it’s a small world when it comes to the industry of makeup as a whole. I will disagree and agree at the same time. While writing this story, I sat just a few feet from the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea in Mellieha Bay Malta, 5000 miles from home in New York. Business took me here to partner with a talented Maltese makeup artist with over 35 years experience, Violet Vella. The “small world” comes into play because coincidently, she was originally born in Astoria, New York. So I feel in some sense the word small is a proper way to describe the industry.

I first met Vella about a year ago in London at the International Make-up Artist Trade Show. Our mutual passion has brought us together once again, and in the interim I have come to appreciate the style of her work as an artist and now the beautiful island on which she lives located in the heart of the dreamlike Mediterranean. So what is it like to be someone whose biz is the art of the aesthetics in such an aesthetically pleasing setting? From the words of Vella, “It can be a blessing and also a challenge.”

My first time in Malta has been a unique experience in regards to people, history and culture. From a modern perspective, it is also a challenging place for one who pursues a career, because competition is somewhat fierce due to the island’s high population density. However, Vella gets down to business. So what is a makeup artist to do in Malta, or anywhere for that matter and in such a competitive field? Violet’s extensive experience, know-how and ability to diversify in her industry is what makes her so successful. Her love for what she does branches into education. As an internationally certified instructor at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, she passes along the knowledge to her students ensuring they are prepared in the departments of special effects, body murals, and fashion makeup, to name a few. To quote Violet, “my number one passion remains teaching. I love to teach.” Anyone in the field of knowledge sharing and nurturing another’s mind can relate. Vella’s abilities are not limited to just painting faces-the traditional canvas is another target for her talents. Since she was a young woman, Vella has honed her ability as a professional artist whose favorite mediums are oils and acrylics and subjects which include horses, natural setting and the classic shape of a woman’s body in dramatic scenes.

But back to the makeup side of things. Think Europe, and think makeup. What is the first thing that comes to mind? Did you guess fashion, models, style or that signature European old school glamour? If so, you are correct. Being a makeup artist in the EU is seriously fun and that is what brought me to Malta. The task at hand while visiting was for a swimwear photo shoot to capture images worthy of head turning and that WOW factor. The production executed seamlessly with professional models, an up and coming photographer, and of course Vella as the boss when it came to creating the looks.

Vella’s Makeup Kit Picks:

• Inglot “Duraline”, a clear silicone based liquid that will transform any powder into an intense easy to apply liquid. Vella says it also works great to rejuvenate dried out gel liners.

• Kryolan “Viva Brilliant Eye Shadow Palette”, Viva is a new make-up concept which is suitable for eyes, face and body. Viva Brilliant Color is a color intensive pressed powder with pearlescent effects which can be applied dry or with a moistened brush or sponge.

Vella’s Pro Tips:

• For those who are new don’t look at a job for the money, sometimes you have to do work without the pay. Self-promotion is important so always excel in your work even if it is a non-paying job, you never know who you will meet or who will see your work.

• For those veterans who believe you have reached your apex, you haven’t. Never stop learning because no one knows everything. In this industry knowledge sharing is what sets apart the professionals from the rest. Remember, a professional once shared with you.

matthew ambrosio

matthew ambrosio

Matthew Ambrosio is a considered a beauty connoisseur on many levels. As a designer and image expert he presents a fresh and realistic attitude towards personal aesthetics and style for men and women.