In Conversation With: Make-up Artist Penny Antuar

Penny Antuar is an Australian make-up artist, based in Brisbane, who has worked all around the world, painting the faces of brides, models and clients for over a decade. 

Most recently her work has taken her to the US and South America, she’s also worked alongside Rihanna and been involved in the launch of her make-up line, Fenty Beauty (oh em gee). 

You can check out Penny’s amazing work on Instagram at @pennyantuar and visit her website: for more information and booking details. 

We were delighted to get a chance to speak with Penny and gain an insight into her amazing and inspiring career journey…  

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Penny! What inspired you initially to become a makeup artist? How did you begin your career and got into the industry?

After seeing an ad on the TV in 2007 for Perth Fashion Week, I decided that I wanted to do makeup for runway and photoshoots! 

I phoned the company and asked who led their makeup team for runway shows. They told me who it was, but refused to give me his number. I jotted down his name and looked him up in the phone book, called him and asked if I could be of assistance in any way for fashion week – I was happy to get coffees, clean brushes, shine shoes – whatever it took to get me backstage! 

I ended up having coffee with him and he said the best way for me to learn was to be thrown in the deep end… you will either sink or swim, and here I am 11 years later swimming I guess!!!

I owe my entire career to that moment. And everything has snowballed from there! I have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities and I am so grateful every day that I get to do what I love for a living.

How many years have you been in the industry? 

I’ve been officially freelancing for approximately 11 years but have been doing makeup applications since the age of about 15! It all started with my best friend in her bedroom and her fancy Estée Laudermakeup. 

How did you work your way to owning your own business? 

It wasn’t something that I consciously made the decision to do, to be honest. 

I started out doing makeup applications on friends and family for events and weddings, and when I started making money from it, it was just an added bonus!

Working for yourself and balancing it all, is no easy feat! Do you have any tips for maintaining a work / life balance? 

It is a very hard feat! Early in my career I said yes to every single opportunity that came my way, in order to build my portfolio and a name for myself within the industry, which is starting to pay off now. 

I am lucky to have a bit of freedom to choose the jobs that work in with my life schedule, but as I really enjoy my job, it is still an internal battle to choose time for myself over work. 

Throw a husband and two teenage kids in there, and the juggle gets even trickier. My tip though would be to prioritise what is most import to you in life and the rest falls into place!

What is the best part about your job? 

Being able to shop for make-up and not feel guilty because it’s for “work” and also being able to travel and see amazing parts of the world!

What’s been your career highlight so far? 

Definitely meeting Rihanna and working with her for the launch of her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty.

Where is the most interesting place in the world that your job has taken you? 

I’m literally about to head on a work trip to shoot in Cuba – which I think will take the place as the most interesting destination!

Which part do you find the hardest and most challenging? 

Being away from my husband and kids definitely is the hardest part about my job, as I travel quite a lot.

What is the best piece of advice you have received during your journey in business, or life in general? 

It’s from my best friend’s dad. When I was confused in the initial stages of my career about what to charge for my services, he said: ‘always start the way you want to end’

So, I have always tried to apply that to my business and life in general.

What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned during your career? 

To stay in your own lane. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing in the industry and focus on your own career path and goals. 

Comparing yourself to others will only make you veer from your own path.

You are nailing it on social media! How do you think the popularity of Instagram has helped your business to grow? 

It has given me a platform to showcase my work on a global scale and given me the opportunity to travel and do what I love without having to relocate my life.

Any tips for other girls in the industry looking to make the most out of the ‘gram for their business? 

Put content out there which is relevant to the audience you want to attract. 

If you want to do SFX makeup, post your SFX work… or if you want to shoot for Vogue, put out content that reflects that you are capable of that! 

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for girls who want make-up to be their career path? 

Do makeup on anyone and everyone that will let you! Practice is the only thing that will help you improve your skills. 

What are the most requested make-up looks you’re getting lately from clients? 

I get the most requests for warm, terracotta coloured eye looks, but have actually been doing winged liner quite a lot lately too, which I love!

Any skincare tips or tricks that could be helpful in ensuring clients’ complexions are flawless when they come to see you? 

Exfoliating and hydration products are key to ensuring a smooth canvas to apply makeup to.

We’re suckers for new beauty products – too many is never enough! What are your favourite products right now that we should all add to our collection? 

I am loving the Fenty Beauty Matchstix in Cinnamonand also the Lancôme Genefique sheet masks are my new obsession! 

What about your go-to drug store beauty products for girls on a budget? 

I love the Sportsgirl eyeshadow palettes! I bought them for my daughters and find myself stealing them to use! Haha!

Which beauty trend are you loving right now? 

I love that skincare is becoming a big focus, as I have always been a huge skin care advocate! Good make-up begins with good skin preparation and a regime, so I’m loving that sheet masks and skincare products are becoming a focus when it comes to make-up!

Which beauty trend do you wish would disappear, never to return? 

Just the over use of products on the face. I’m all about ‘less is more’ and I always say, if it’s not broken don’t try and fix it! 

What is next for your business in 2018 and beyond?

Hopefully more travel, fashion weeks and just quietly, the launch of my own brand of kit organisation accessories! Check out @kitology_ and stay tuned for big things to come! I’m very excited!

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