COLOUR ME PRETTY
Calvin Klein once famously quoted ¨The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.¨ Several decades on, and this is still one trend that gets referenced in every sector of the fashion industry, from sidewalk to catwalk. Naturality is more than a ‘word du jour´ for Jo Leversuch, a sought after international makeup artist from North East England´s picturesque Gainford. Jo´s monthly calendar sees her sprint across the globe to fashion Mecca´s such as New York and Milan, with numerous stop-off´s inbetween. However, her intital introduction into the world of make-up artistry took her to a completely different place. ¨I used to live with my partner in Edinburgh and work in the financial services sector, which took me past the windows of Jenner´s every day. I was always fascinated by the make-up departments and the colours and techniques that I saw the artists apply so spontaneously, yet specifically.¨
This daily observation fed her curiosity and after more than several attempts, she found herself trading in her 9-5 in digital databases for the world of glossy faces and pretty places. Having secured her first trainee employment role with French super brand Lancome, she spent her next decade working and travelling tirelessly as she perfected her craft between the likes of London and Paris. However, a shortly lived role-change gave her creative career a literal highlight as she described; ¨When Lancome were bought by L´Oreal, the mood changed and it stopped being so much fun. So, I applied my skills and attention to detail, trends and co-ordination and became a fashion buyer. This was a role which I really enjoyed for a while.¨ A chance encounter within this role that saw Jo go on to be employed within a newly opened luxury spa – a place where she crossed paths with international celebrity makeup artist Ariane Poole. It was here that Ariane´s three decades of experience, empathy and savvy mentorship made Jo fully equipped with the skills and experience to put her own mark on the industry, quite literally.
¨ Walking through department stores, I was always fascinated by the make-up departments and the colours and techniques that I saw the artists apply so spontaneously, yet specifically ¨ – Jo Leversuch
¨I got most of my experience from Ariane, then supplemented this through on-site training. I built my reputation up by identifying key hotels and wedding venues, where I would offer my services in bridal and wedding party makeup to build my portfolio and contacts. I complimented this with occasional training courses and it was in her namesake academy, that I was taught by and ultimately ended up assisting Val Garland at a fashion event. This is a role that I undertook several times over the years, which led me onto meeting other esteemed industry professionals such as Lisa Eldridge, Miranda Joyce and Laura Dominique who I have worked with also.¨ Her experiences within the Val Garland makeup school allowed Jo to diversify her skills and industry networking, which saw her go on to graduate and become a part of Val´s key team for London Fashion Week´s ISSA runway shows.
Since then, Jo´s speciality ´skin´ (as her peers refer to her trademark finish) has seen her work beside top industry figures like Margo Holder on campaigns such as James Read, Eylure and Elegant Touch Nails. In addition to this, she has been showcasing her talent to an international audience through editorials for publications such as Vogue Italia, 1883 Magazine and Two Magazine, to name a few. Jo is also a firm fixture on the luxury lineages of London, Paris, Milan and New York´s internationally acclaimed fashion weeks; which has seen her skills grace the runways of international icons such as Sonia Rykiel, Jasper Conran, Julian Macdonald, Temperley London and of recent, Balmain Paris (as well as heading up the team of the Graduate Fashion Week sponsor, Rimmel UK) and acting as European ambassador for Veil Cover Cream.
As Jo´s diary gets more diverse each month, she can never really predict who she will be working for or where. But, one things for certain – her future´s looking pretty.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Cover Image Credit La Di Da Magazine / Helen McClafferty Illustration.
Additional images courtesy Of Jo Leversuch Make-Up