After her big move from Auckland to Los Angeles, we spend a few minutes catching up with superstar makeup artist Amber Dreadon to talk about what she’s been up to since she traded New Zealand for the USA and world stage.
Hi Amber! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Where do you find yourself at this present moment?
Hi! I have actually just made it back to LA after a whirlwind 6 weeks touring the USA on a tour bus - including a couple of dates in Canada. Its pretty great to be back in the sun after seeing a whole lot of US winter!
You’re coming to the end of your second international tour with Lorde - how does it feel to be finishing up and heading home to LA?
Touring with any artist can really make you feel like you are living on another planet sometimes as you are away from all normal life for weeks on end and only really interact with the people you are on tour with. Touring is totally its own little universe.It’s always exciting to be home but there is definitely a little twinge of sadness missing everyone. I’m really excited to get back into collaborating creatively with my friends and clients in LA and spending time with my family and dog.
When you aren’t on tour, you spend your time working with editorial, advertising and celebrity clients - what has been your biggest “pinch me” moment since moving to LA?
Honestly there have been so many already but the thing that never fails me about LA is that if you work hard and project what you want you really can make it happen. It’s a huge city but everything feels within reach.
Are there any standout moments in your career that will stay with you for life?
Most of the time I am just pushing ahead and don’t take a lot of time to reflect, but when I do there have been some very cool moments that I am very lucky to have had and sound pretty exciting when you add it all up.Shooting the Perfect Places music video in Jamaica with Lorde was pretty special, as was when I worked with Cirque Du Soleil for 5 weeks in Macau. Doing the seasonal fashion shows in Paris and Milan, and getting a call up at the last minute to assist Francesa Tolot on the underwater scenes for Beyonce’s Lemonade video are all right up there!
As an artist, where do you find inspiration for your work?
I’m always the first to tell up and coming makeup artists that they should never stop wanting to learn more and to try to carve out a unique lane for themselves. I’m always looking for new inspiration and scour the internet for images that I find interesting - whether that is a photo of Julia Roberts in the 90s or a painting with interesting texture and colour - you never know what might come in handy as a reference for a project.I also occasionally assist the legendary Stephane Marais when he is shooting in LA. I love to learn from him and expand my own artistic repertoire - plus he is hilarious so any day with him is always a blast.
The thing that resonates with me the most about the way you do Lorde’s makeup is how the look always seems to just radiate on stage under the lights. Is this something you are conscious of when designing a look or have you just always been attracted to playing with textures in your work?
I think with my work I am good at manipulating texture to add dimension to a face and am not limited by the format that it is being viewed. Sometimes there are a lot of old fashioned rules that can be broken - knowledge really is power.You can make skin radiate in any situation its just a matter of understanding what factors you have to contend with. For an artist on stage it is really important for me to view the lighting ahead of time so I can understand how to get a balance - if the lighting is red for example then I have to take into account that the skin texture may read very flat so I might need more sparkle or shine for anything to really stand out. I always try to make sure that I can be at rehearsals with whomever I am working with, or have someone film a rehearsal so I can be fully prepared.With any work that I do - whether its a photoshoot or working with a celebrity client - I always try to understand what the mood is for that moment so I can create a look that conveys it effectively and while the stylistic nuances may help with that - for example 60s mod might lean to a pink lip and upper and lower false lashes - often the texture choices will really elevate the mood you are trying to convey.
With any work that I do - whether its a photoshoot or working with a celebrity client - I always try to understand what the mood is for that moment so I can create a look that conveys it effectively and while the stylistic nuances may help with that - for example 60s mod might lean to a pink lip and upper and lower false lashes - often the texture choices will really elevate the mood you are trying to convey.
I know makeup professionals hate this question but I’m going to ask it anyway - tell us which five beauty products are you reaching for the most at the moment?
My favourite products are always fairly basic but essential! As a makeup artist, If you have great quality basics you can really just add in feature items here and there but you definitely don’t need to own every item of makeup ever made and carry that around!
* Cle De Peau Concealer - its insanely expensive and has very limited shade choices but it really creates effortlessly flawless skin with very little work. If the shades are right for your client then it is really a dream. * Sisley Lip Balm or Bite Agave Lip Balm - both are more lip mask like than just a regular balm so are incredible for prepping lips and making sure they really are hydrated. * Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - amazing shades and the ultimate silky foundation which works for any situation. * MAC Groundwork Prolongwear Paint Pot - this is always a go to for me as a base for any eye - the perfect neutral shade that works on almost everyone. I never go anywhere without it in my makeup kit. * Fenty Beauty Ma’Damn Matte Red Lipstick - my new favourite mega matte red.
Working long days and traveling often, time off must feel like your biggest luxury. What does your ultimate day off involve?
The simple things are the greatest!
Taking Otto (my miniature schnauzer) to the dog park, spending a day gardening with my boyfriend and the occasional road trip just to have a look around are my fave things to do - I have totally become and old person lol!
Aside from friends and family, what do you miss the most about New Zealand?
Well friends and family are the biggest thing I miss for sure!
But if I HAVE to choose something else it would be the food - I miss how much flavour everything has and the cafe culture that is so amazing in Auckland but SO hard to find in Los Angeles - a great brunch spot with a great flat white.
Thanks so much for taking the time to catch up with us Amber, we are all so proud to see your career go from strength to strength.