SANNI SORMA: Creative Chameleon
SANNI SORMA is a Make-Up Artist. Originally from Finland, Sanni has always been in love with the world of beauty and cosmetics. Armed with a Fine Arts degree, she began her career by working in advertising. But after a few years, like most creatives who settle for something other than their true passion, she couldn’t help but feel dissatisfied. Once she moved to Paris, where she currently lives and works, she decided it was high time to take the plunge into her dream career. Being a make-up artist has given her the ability to perfectly blend her colorful imagination with her arts degree and her love of cosmetics.
Interview by Melissa Unger.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN A MAKE-UP ARTIST?
In a sense, yes. One of my happiest memories is escaping a baby-sitter’s watchful eye, running into my mom’s bathroom and playing around with all those lovely little pots. My mother was less than impressed, as I was rather heavy handed at the age of 7. Ever since then, I have happily buffed, polished, curled, glossed and powdered anyone willing to step up.
Career-wise, I had to go through several years of working in advertising as an Art Director before I came full circle and returned, professionally, to my first love – makeup. Even though I had been doing makeup all along, I went to London for some additional training and embarked on a freelance career as a makeup artist.
DO YOU APPROACH A FACE AS YOU WOULD A CANVAS?
Not directly, as I don’t feel anyone’s face is a blank canvas. I like to talk to my models and get to know them a little bit. The more they trust you, the more confident and beautiful they’ll feel at the end. Whether they step in front of a camera or down the aisle, the confidence in the way they look will shine through.
I would say that it is like working with a live canvas and bringing out the best I can. The most important is to work with the existing shapes and colours – and personality – of a specific face. It doesn’t matter what the current makeup trend is, you have to make the colours and textures work on that individual person. I hope to create beautiful faces, not just beautiful makeup.
HAVING THE POWER TO ALTER SOMEONE’S SENSE OF SELF IS RATHER PROFOUND. DOES PSYCHOLOGY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Yes…. Sometimes I wish I did have a PhD in psychology!
One of my most rewarding makeup sessions was doing a mother-of-the groom along with a huge bridal party. When her turn came, she announced that she looked boring and old, and had not worn makeup for 15 years, and didn’t see the point as she’d just mess it up crying at the wedding. We had a little chat and it turned out her husband had left her 15 years ago. It all started clicking into place for me and after some more chats, a bit of laughter, and some VERY subtle makeup, she was done. She came back an hour later while I was working on the bride to tell me she felt pretty for the first time in years. It was so fulfilling to feel that maybe I had changed her sense of self for the better just a little bit.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Vintage magazines. Paris has such a great selection of brocantes and flea markets, I always pick up vintage magazines… whether it’s from the 40s or the 80s, there’s always something new to find.
I also get inspired by creative people on the streets of Paris, London, or just about anywhere… there are so many imaginative people out there. Having said that, I’d be a fool not to admit that celebrity also plays a huge role in makeup influences as well these days.
MAKE-UP ALLOWS FOR ONE TO EXPERIMENT WITH OTHER IDENTITIES. DOES YOUR PERSONALITY CHANGE DEPENDING ON HOW YOU ARE MADE-UP?
I wouldn’t say change, but it does get accentuated. Makeup gives you a boost to express a different side of your personality. It somehow allows you to be more playful or alluring or seductive. I don’t however see it as a mask to hide behind, more of a little magic wand that gives you that extra sparkle.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIMENT CREATIVELY WITH MAKE-UP?
Invest in great brushes! They make all the difference, even to the cheapest eye shadow. Seriously, buy brushes and you’ll never regret it. They will make a huge difference to how you apply makeup and they will let you express yourself freely. You don’t want to be in battle with your tools.
Get inspired by others and observe, observe, observe. Learn some good habits and techniques from the start…. Maybe check out some great makeup tutorials on YouTube. I have my own makeup channel which you can check out by clicking: HERE.
HOW DOES WORKING SUCH A CREATIVE JOB ENRICH YOUR LIFE?
One might think that it’s a superficial job, but the happiness it gives me and my clients reaches much deeper than just the skin. It’s amazing to see someone blossom and feel good about how they look. And it only requires a flick of a (very good) brush! I am really so grateful that my work is finally my passion.
To see Sanni’s work, or to book her for shows, shoots or special occasions, please visit her website by clicking: HERE.
Published: September 19th, 2011