Abias Makeup Artist of the Year 2014

What. A. Weekend!

This weekend I hosted the Face2Face Makeup Awards at the Spa and Beauty Expo, Sydney. It was a fantastic year once again with the judges job incredibly hard… the standard each year gets better and better! (I will recap on this at a later date)

On Sunday after the Face2Face Awards, I went to a hotel with my Mum and we hurriedly got ready to go to the ABIAs Gala Awards evening in Darling Harbour.

Myself and my hot date, Mumsy!

A couple of months ago I went to my amazing Tarot Reader whom is always spot on.. we talked about  variety of topics including the awards.. after consulting the cards she went on to tell me I wasn’t going to get it. She said someone who has entered quite a few times (this was my first year) was going to get it however I was to do well out of it regardless… she said I will be wise about it and will go on to do amazing things anyway. As she has been spot on about everything in the past… I have carried on with things knowing full well I wasn’t going to be awarded anything and of course, have felt like a winner this year seeing how far I have come despite many setbacks.

Even whilst Mumsy and I were getting ready… never did the thought cross my mind once that I was a possibility. I had an idea of whom I thought should win and that was that. I was more interested in having a great night and celebrating getting this far with my Mum which was her first trip to Sydney to visit me. Walking to the venue… or should I sashaying to the venue i our gowns there were no nerves… just excitement for a champagne and a good time.

We arrived to the new venue ON Darling Harbour and I was able to catch up with many fellow artists and friends from the industry. It was a perfect end to a hectic week.

We were sat at our tables and the event began… Will Fennell was once again the amazing host of the evening and I was excited to see Greg Gould sing live!

A couple of champagnes down and I was relaxed… apart from the fact once again a caterer has interpreted the fact I am Gluten Free as a sign I dont want to eat anything tasty… the night was so much fun. ( Asparagus for entree, Asparagus and mashed potato for main… and after I had to request a Dessert, I was able to have one bite of before they took it away during my acceptance speech…. let me point out that everyone elses meal looked insanely delicious and I was jealous)

Time came to announce Makeup Artist of the Year.

Everyone at the table looked at me funny and I told them to stop being ridiculous it wasn’t my year.

All the finalists work was shown up on the big screen… man there was some amazing work up there!  The finalists were:

Elizabeth Kramer

Kylie Apostoles

Sandy Tau

Kylie Eustace

Vivianne Tran

Sheri Vegas

Mia Connor


Clare Mac

Ali Price

Erin Bigg

Becca Gilmartin

Myself and fellow amazing artists… Kylie Eustace, Mia Connor, Erin Bigg, Claire Mac, myself and Vivienne Tran

We were all invited on stage to receive a gift from Bodyography…and then a couple of other award announcements later… they announced the winner.

We were all shaking in our boots from anticipation. Meanwhile… I kept sipping my champagne feeling cocky about the fact I had inside info I wasn’t going to get it.

Our presenter explained the award was not for makeup alone… but for contribution to our industry, professionalism amongst other attributes… then says ‘lets just show you the winner’

All of a sudden… one of my images shows up on the big screen…. I think I even dropped my dessert fork in shock. For the next few minutes I am treated to the best collection of my portfolio all to the music of Michael Jacksons ‘Love Never Felt So Good’


My Mum took this shot of me in absolute shock trying to work out why my images were up there… My card reader for once was wrong!

What an absolute shock and honour!

The next thing to go through my head was ‘oh shit… I need to give a speech… I haven’t even thought of what to say… I regret the champagne!’

I made it on stage to accept the worlds largest award and I think I managed to give a speech that hopefully made sense and gave justice to actually how I was feeling.

Thanks to Claire Mac for this shot… I must have been funny with Will Ferrell laughing there in the background.

I do know I started my speech with ‘I clearly need a new card reader’ ha ha ha!

What I want to do though… in light of the fact I didn’t prepare a speech… is now indulge myself in writing what I would have loved to say up on stage. I will also include my entry I sent as part of my entry to the Abias.

I would have started by thanking my Mum for making the trip to Sydney and being my date… I didn’t in my speech due to being overwhelmed by the whole situation.

Manny.. you show how I feel so well….

I would have then thanked Mocha Publishing and Bodyography for making it all possible.

One thing I attempted to say but unsure of how it came out … is mentioning the other finalists. Someone made a comment on stage that it was unusual to see a bunch of makeup artists being so friendly together… my reaction to that was suprise.

What we do as makeup artists is combine Art and People into a career… we do this because we love both equally. Of course we are going to be friendly… we all admire and respect each others work… at least that’s my experience and I dont believe it should be any other way. This job is half service industry and half creative… there is something to be admired from each artists career and when we support each other… it makes what we do so much better. I wouldn’t have such a fun career if it wasn’t for the friendships with the artists around me. Not only do I not feel so alone in a freelance environment… but who else would I refer work to? Who else would I be able to vent to in times of need? I see these friendships as essential and I dont see any reason for it to be any other way.

In my speech I would then take a moment to mention how much of a massive acknowledgement this is. For me… this is a perfect tip of the hat to remind me despite the setbacks, hard days and constant questioning of myself and from others… I have been on the right track. Believe me… it hasn’t always been clear I was doing the right thing and many times…. maaaany times I considered getting a ‘real job’… if I could offend my entire industry by using that term.

For those whom dont know me and think I make it all look easy… I am about to share some details about my career that you may see yourself in the story. Hopefully for some of you it will also remind you you too are on the right track. This is a condensed version but I hope it makes a difference to someone.

I have officially been a MUA for 14 years. I completed a 3 month diploma and entered the world of Makeup Artistry thinking I wanted to get into film. It was the only course I ever did. I moved to NZ to follow my heart and also try and get onto Lord of The Rings… in which I had successful interviews for but as fate would have it… never worked a day. Fate was strong for the 4 years I lived in Wellington.

I ALMOST had work on L.O.T.R., King Kong, River Queen and also later in Australia a few films here. Even as recently as this year I just had a MUA tell me they were trying to get me on Gods of Egypt. Fate has a giant big hand that spookily swats any opportunity in film despite how promising it looks for me. You can imagine after 5 years of trying… my confidence was squashed… in the meantime I worked in retail and did freelancing on the side. It had nothing to do with my skill set but a cruel twist of fate. Unbelievable twists of fate that you wouldn’t believe. Even as crazy as meeting a guy at a party in Wellington once who looked like Hagrid… I was telling him of my fate with getting onto film with the most recent being River Queen… he went white… he then went on to tell me he was in fact the reason I didnt get the job – he just so happened to be in the office when they were deciding between myself and another artist (which I had recommended) and as he had met her once in a cafe… he said they should employ her. They originally wanted 2 artists but had to cut one of us away… fate chose me… again… Incredible.

The man I moved to NZ for passed away which was devastating… but not long after I met the man who was going to be my husband… we eventually moved back to OZ and started all over again.

Fast forward past working my way up through retail and eventually becoming Head of Campus at Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy… just over 3 years ago my 4.5 year marriage ended.  I had been freelancing full time for only 2 years. It’s not the time to bring out the violins… we are still friends and just realised we weren’t the match for each other.

At that moment I realised what I needed to do to survive as a newly single Makeup Artist… I needed to trust my instincts.. even though my head said I was crazy… and a couple of months after we separated… with no money to my name… a couple of contacts and a lead on a place to stay… I packed my car with a small amount of belongings and my makeup kit and moved to Sydney.

I knew I had to do it… I had wanted to do it for 3 years already but made it work commuting for jobs. In retrospect.. I was a crazy woman. Who moves to Australia’s most expensive city as a freelance makeup artist with no backup? Apparently me.

All I knew what to do was make actions every day that would help build my career here. The past 3 years certainly haven’t been easy… I have lived for weeks on a bag of rice and frozen veggies just so I can pay rent… over the past 14 years I have been without somewhere to live because of this job 3 times… once in Sydney… once in NZ and once in Perth. There have been more highs and lows than I would like to count but one thing stayed the same. I love what I do and I want to keep doing it.  Its a gut feeling I need to be doing this crazy job. I have visions of the work I want to do in the future and I just use the power of positive thinking to keep moving towards that. (I talk a lot about this in my course and soon to be completed book… stay tuned)

There have been many days where I would question if it was worth the hard times… and the answer was always yes, although I would have preferred to not experience them. They are starting to get few and far between now… but for a long time… I would even have to go without anything but bare essentials in the pantry and bathroom just to afford rent and a new foundation or lashes etc. You know you need to call the debt collectors for someone to pay your invoice when you cant afford toilet paper. Then it would be paid and you will be rich for a couple of weeks. All the freelancers will know exactly what I mean… I am not a special case.

Positive thinking has been my savior… and its a daily practice… sometimes even a moment by moment practice…it keeps me moving forward when ‘Becca from a few years ago would have collapsed in a heap.’ I still dont own any Rae Morris Brushes… or any fancy additions to my makeup kit… I just use what I have been able to afford and whats been gifted to me and do the best with what I have. (I will soon be getting Raes brushes dont you worry! They are delicious!) It hasnt been a consistent run of being poor.. but anyone who lives in Sydney knows how expensive it is to live here. Even at the start I knew I was doing well to pay my bills as a freelancing mua… but sometimes that’s all I could afford. Bills. No IMATS spending sprees for this one for the first couple of years.

2014 has been the best year… and please dont think its all been doom and gloom with me…

Sprinkled in between the hard times have been some amazing opportunities and life long friendships formed. I wanted to however put some of the harsh reality of my career in a nutshell for those who are experiencing similar realities to show you… its OK… keep going… do what you need to do just dont give up. We all have different journeys.. some are easy.. some are like mine and I constantly feel like a fat kid falling down a set of stairs… but its all perfect if you follow your crazy gut instincts. It doesn’t always look the way you imagine.

Through everything I continued to work on love jobs, body art projects, this blog, The Green Brush Project and the FaceFace Makeup Awards in which this was my third year. Resilience is key… as is forward momentum and squashing as often as possible negative thinking and talk. Make your own opportunities if none are presenting itself… keep doing work even if its with cheap makeup… any good MUA will show you their favourite staple lower end product they keep tucked away in their kit. You dont have to have the best of the best to do a good job… but having the best would be nice! Above all.. dont get caught up in negative culture.. it isn’t worth it. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you or at least are open to understanding the crazy ideas to come out your mouth.

So in my speech at the ABIAs… I would have also said how much this award means to me. Its a massive acknowledgement for me from my peers… for through the hardships over the past 14 years… being poor in between invoices, temporary homelessness, completely starting over in a new city 3 times… loss and insecurity… this award is such a massive touchstone for me to remind myself to keep focusing on the good and striving to create beauty in images and with my clients. It will remind me to keep pushing myself and stretch what I believe to even be possible for myself. It also is a landmark event to confirm this is my real job. I feel like I am only getting started.

How I actually felt on the inside yet the champagne gave me courage…

So thank you to all my special friendships I have in the industry… you know who you are. Thank you to my fellow MUAs that I can also call friends… its a privelage to know and work with you. From here… I want to keep creating whats in my head as well as work with other amazing artists… I cant wait to finish my book ‘We The Painted’…. I want to continue to support emerging artists through the Green Brush Project and the Face2Face Makeup Awards and above all… I want to keep having fun in this crazy job we do.

I mean really… we have a crazy job. We manipulate a human face with pigment as a job. We pluck, prod and glue hair and all sorts of objects onto skin as a profession.

So I raise my glass to all my fellow MUA finalists… and to fellow MUAs overall… heres to all the things you have done to get the job done that will go unnoticed… to the courage it takes to continue this job despite what life throws at us… for all the early morning starts… the love jobs… the endless hours of washing brushes and preparing your kit when everyone else is out having a great time… to all the times you sacrifice your social life for work… for all the clients that do things that dont allow you to do your job properly… for all the bad makeup days that make you question if you know what you are doing (come on… I have them all the time)… for always being the first to arrive and the last to leave… for all the lunch breaks makeup needs to work through… for all the times we get asked what makeup they should wear when all we want to do is relax and enjoy our time off… for all the miracles we pull out of our bum on shoots… for all the clips and pins we give to stylists who run out… for all the times we are doing things on jobs that is clearly not in our job description… and for all those times that clients say the weirdest things to you about the makeup you have done even though you KNOW they look amazing… and go and change it to what they want… even if it means strange eyebrows, orange face or adding black when 10 minutes ago they clearly said NO BLACK…. I salute you x You are all amazing.


Here was my photographic entry for the ABIAs. Thankyou to my buddies Nelson Lai, Jason Zambelli and Mr Thom Kerr for making them possible xx

Face2Face Makeup Awards Judges – Adam and Damian From Odd Studio

Odd Studio is a world-renowned company at the forefront of prosthetic make up, creature effects, animatronic characters, special effects, props and models. Both partners, Damian Martin and Adam Johansen have over 20 years of industry experience on a diverse range of projects, helping realize and give life to ideas and creative visions. Their dedication to the art, practical approach and extended family of talented crew continue to keep the company in high demand for in camera effects.

We are lucky enough to again have Damian and Adam as judges for the Film Fantasy category at the Face2Face Makeup Awards. The lucky winner is going to enjoy a days work experience  with the Odd Boys which you would agree… for any emerging SPFX artist will be invaluable.

Last week myself and photographer Amelia J Dowd went to their studio in St Peters and spent some time with Adam and Damian… it was hard to concentrate for all the creative eye candy, boxes of boils, scabs and amazing completed characters. Somehow we were able to concentrate long enough to take some shots and speak with the Odd boys…

Adam mid sculpt of a nose piece for a VW commercial to be shot the following weekend…


The past 12 months have been huge for us. We wrapped on Fury Rd, Mad Max which we ran the prosthetics on for nearly 2 years finishing pick ups in December. Damian headed up the dept in Namibia and Cape Town for 7 months. We’ve also just wrapped on Alex Proyas’s latest film, God’s Of Egypt which we also headed the prosthetics dept for. Lesley Vanderwalt was head of hair and make up on both of those films.

In addition to that, we worked on a locally produced Sci-Fi feature film called Terminus which we’re pretty excited about too. Throw in a couple of big music videos from 2 huge acts and a bunch of commercials and it explains why we’re a bit knackered.

Joking aside, we’re very grateful for all the recent projects we have landed and are grateful for our wonderful crew too.

Emily James who has been at Odd Stufio for 3 years.. working on a decapitated head made from silicone for a project with Vetus


Dick Smith’s contribution to make up effects is immeasurable and in my opinion (Adam) hard to articulate. He was the greatest make up artist of all time and famously giving with his techniques, which isn’t always the case.  He was a wonderful person and a real ‘no-nonsense’ artist too. His ageing make ups will forever be the bench mark for me. He has not only affected Damian and myself,  but anyone that has ever followed a career in Make up and prosthetics.

(Damian) I found Dick Smiths Do it yourself monster monster makeup handbook in a comic store when I was a young teenager and it really fanned the flames of my interest in makeup effects. I can only imagine how many people that book and the earlier kits inspired.


Just get ‘doing’! If you’re doing a course, do more than you need to. Sculpt, mould apply things in your own time, work out of your garage or bedroom if need be. Throw yourself into it 110% because any less isn’t good enough in this very tough industry of ours.

(D) There’s an incredible amount of inspiration and information out there and materials are readily available. If you’re not taking advantage of this and giving it a go I’m less inclined to believe that this is your passion.


 I’ll (Adam) be looking for originality and creativity. Something that’s both bold and refined will get my vote.

(D) a strong idea that’s well executed is always good to see and I really like it when a character or design is fully thought through and resolved.

Thanks guys… can’t wait for Sunday!

To keep up to date with what Adam and Damian are up to… you need to follow the Odd Studio Facebook and Instagram!


Instagram – odd_studio

To read more about Odd Studio on Twosix and Brush… click below x


Afterglow – Behind the Scenes…

“The ethereal mystique of the locomoting Cnidaria”

New Work up on www.blackmagazine.co.nz

For the full beauty story… click here

You can imagine how fun this was to work on…. and the anticipation for the day was amazing whilst watching Iggy create these wigs for the week prior. Below are some fun behind the scenes pics…

Hair: Iggy using Kevin.Murphy

Photography: Thom Kerr
Beauty and Body art: Becca Gilmartin using Kryolan
Stylist:Lindsay Rose
Accessories: Chelsea De Luca with a special thanks to Elysee Publicity
Model: Rhianna Porter at Chic Models

Shot at Studio 501

This image from my Instagram possibly makes sense now… in the background Thom, Iggy and Lindsay are positioning the lit wig in place to our glitter encrusted model, Rhianna Porter from Chic. It was all kinds of crazy in those moments of anticipation wondering if all that we imagined might transfer into a striking image…

A shot I took to see how the glitter was reading on camera before I tidied up the edges etc. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing working with Rhianna Porter was! The patience and joy for what we were doing definitely outweighed the reality of having a face covered in tiny plastic discs.

The moment I realised why my social media was going crazy… FINALIST for ABIAs Makeup Artist of the Year… YEW!

That face….

Thom, Rhianna and I doing… umm.. not sure.

And after all the crazy I was left wondering…. how on earth did Iggy escape having his photo taken?

Dear Diary…

A week ago, I was up to my elbows in glitter creating a new beauty shoot featuring soon on Black Magazine…

Behind the Scenes shot on INSTAGRAM – beccagilmartin

All of a sudden I noticed my Instagram and Facebook going slightly crazy. The reason? The ABIAs Finalists had been announced and I had made the cut. Very cool.

Being a finalist is a nice ‘tip of the hat’ to every artist to acknowledge that despite days of feeling like everyone else in the world knows exactly what they are doing except you… who just seems to make it all up as they go… is on some sort of ‘right track’. Its a very cool list to be on. I am amongst some gorgeous people x

The past few months have been pretty amazing for me in regards to creative and professional satisfaction… some of which still has not been released and so I am limited to what I can share. The announcement of being a finalist definitely helped soothe my post USA blues…

Last November I took a trip to the Joshua Tree Desert to body paint for Kimbra… what we created hasn’t been released as yet… however Kimbra is drip feeding us teasers from her album cover shoot. Joshua Tree Desert is certainly a special place that I would like to return to with a bunch of friends… crack open some wine and relax for the weekend. Makeup and Hair for this shoot was done by the uber talented Justin Henry.

I can’t wait to share about this project!

My last trip to LA a couple of weeks ago was only supposed to be a part of my mini break to NYC after IMATS… however I ended up staying slightly longer than planned and was Kimbra’s Makeup Artist for her new single, 90s music.

The clip isn’t released as yet… however you can hear the single here:

Before I was In LA.. I was in NYC for two weeks. If you have the latest copy of Makeup Artist Magazine issue 108 you may have seen me nestled int he wrap up story about IMATS NYC.

I traveled to NYC to speak at IMATS NYC about my course, its philosophies as well and my upcoming book.

My model, Mike Perfetuo , flew from LA to be my model as well as allow me to paint him and his identical twin brother in two series of body art shoots (yet to be released)

Here are some sneak pics…

More Rorschach ink tests which I thought quite fitting as Mike and Matt are mirror image identical twins. Image on instagram beccagilmartin

A quick social media break with the boys during the first shoot of my trip.. the inspiration behind this shoot is a conversation around how we judge ourselves when we look at our own reflection… this paint turned into something quite different from what you see here. I was assisted by the lovely  Lindsay Schwebke image from Instagram beccagilmartin

As I started getting ready for my IMATS presentation in my hotel room… I had to keep reminding myself to treat this like any other presentation… the fact that I was about to speak for the first time in America about my course and book was causing some excitement!

Here is a visual wrap up from the day at IMATS

Mikes front is done… almost… the hotel room is chaos but we are all feeling excited.

The text is the french interpretation of the phrase from Moulin Rouge “The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”… a dedication to someone I once loved who is no longer here. The flower is part of the new book I am working on ‘We The Painted’.

costume on backstage… final touches… ready to rock and roll!

Showtime! Explaining the concept of using MINDSET and BODYART as a training tool for yourself to increase your skills as a makeup artist… as well as achieving confidence and a whole range of benefits difficult to list in an hour time slot. FINALLY I get a shot on stage where I am not pulling a face.

The orchid is actually one of the exercises in my upcoming book ‘We The Painted’ I will pop a link to the step by step preview at the end of this blog x

Its safe to say ‘Makeup Excellence using Body Art’ will be a success in the USA…. and that is very exciting for me!

Final pic by Last x Witness

posing for pics after the demo… more like having a giggle and trying to pose normally.

My NYC peeps! In possibly the most unflattering lighting *sigh* (L to R) My assistant from my first shoot with the boys… Lindsay Schwebke, me, Mike Perfetuo, Matt Perfetuo and my gorgeous assistant for IMATS, Zoe Tranter

One of my favourite shots of the day… Before and After…. ha ha ha … Mike (R) and Matt (L) www.perfetuotwins.com

IMATS NYC was an amazing experience… walking around afterwards with Mike was definitely a slow process for the amount of people interested to stop us and ask all about what we were up to… The atmosphere at IMATS was electric and made me want to travel to all the different IMATS in the world. The amount of amazing speakers, demonstrations at different stands, the products and resources available was impressive. Easily a place to be inspired, overwhelmed and well worth the trip. If you can… go!

I created a handout for the people at NYC IMATS and can share with you now.

If you aren’t familiar with ‘Makeup Excellence using Body Art’… the principal is you use MINDSET practice and BODYART practice to train your way to a stronger Makeup career… quite like a Makeup Artist Bootcamp.

The link below is a preview of one of the exercises. You do not need a model…. just practice on yourself. Often.

Click the link below to download your free exercise and tag



in an instagram pic!

I will soon be announcing my final 2014 dates for ‘Makeup Excellence Using Body Art’ in Australia… and soon USA dates!

Classes can be arranged on request. Please email [email protected] for more information.

I class where breakthroughs happen for everyone. I love what I teach and can’t wait to take it around the world.

B x

Reasons to Be Beautiful – Behind the Scenes

Today I announced early 2014 dates for ‘Makeup Excellence using Body Art’… (dates at the end of this post)  with that announcement, I also dropped in a subtle fact that I am working on my first book. Very excited pants over here. The first book will be my MEUBA course in print form as well as a body art story. 2014 is looking like a great year already!

As many of us are wrapping up 2013… I wanted to revisit one of my favourite jobs for this year… and that was Black Magazines ‘Reasons To Be Beautiful’ in Issue #20.

Photography – Thom Kerr

Styling: Sarah Birchley Stylist

Beauty: Amber D @ MAC

Hair: Iggy

Body Art: Becca Gilmartin

Model: Gabby Dover @ Priscillas

Reasons to Be Beautiful – Behind the Scenes

This shoot had me labelled by one article written about it as ‘Australia’s Pat McGrath of intricate body art’… wowsers.

The arms took almost 9 hours of painting to complete and was by far the most technically difficult body art to date. The difficulty came in the fact that it was all hand drawn and there was NO room for error.

I am safe now to share some of my behind the scenes pics!

Thanks to MAC for sponsoring me with delicious body art products!

The inspiration pics included many Beatles artworks… so of course there must be condiments crossing a zebra crossing… naturally

By far my favourite character on the whole paint… and he never featured! I had to paint the arms 360 degrees for freedom of shooting… but Mr Hot Dog was never seen. It was a sad day for fun hot dogs. (note my ONE outline error.. not bad for one error in 8 hours!)

The most time consuming part of this paint was painting the colours up to the black ink line and not going over!… it was all done on a white base… so keeping those black lines free from white poking through the colour was a challenge. I did it this way to ensure a solid black, fine line that didn’t look painted on… and needed to apply the ink first. Challenge much?

We all need some cheeky fruit in our lives…

angry mustard.. second favourite character. Who doesn’t love angry mustard

Thank you to Gabby Dover who was the most patient and excellent model I have worked with! Patience of a saint x

Happy to say… no couture was harmed in the making of this editorial!

This job reminded me to let go of being a perfectionist…( the behind the scenes pics will show that)  and to also trust creatives when they have a vision that you may initially think is impossible. Anything is possible with some thought… and once you get on the shoot to let go of the doubt… craziness can be achieved. I wont say what went though my head when I originally saw the original inspiration pic (some may have come out of my mouth.. in the form of ‘are you on drugs?’) but now this is an editorial to be proud of by all xx