Welcome to another episode from our “Brno Expats Have Talent” series. Brno is full of talented people, and some of them are not even from the CR – we’ll introduce one talented expat at a time!
This month, meet Veronika, who is making her way as a professional make-up artist & stylist in a country where ladies don’t spend as much on beauty as in the other countries she’s lived in.
VERONIKA MYKOLENKO (Ukraine) – makeup artist and visual stylist
Watch a video by Veronika: “She Said Yes”
How long have you been practising your art?
I’m originally from Ukraine, I’ve been living in Brno since 2008 and I’ve been practicing my art for the last five years. I used to buy fashion magazines ever since I was little and looked at the models in them, and the cosmetics, with their black and gold packaging.
I started working with cosmetics during my maternity leave when my husband and I decided to move to Russia for a while. There, I saw pictures of a famous Russian makeup artist and I liked the photos very much. I also noticed she was doing make-up courses.
I had quite a lot of cosmetics by then and noticed that I was doing the same mistakes as almost every third or fifth woman, when we come into a large cosmetics store and we begin to buy things – and there are so many of them. So, as it usually happens, we buy some things, come home, lay them out and try them, and then realise that some are not quite ‘our colour’. But the packaging was so beautiful that we decided to buy it. That’s why I decided to join my first course.
How different are your clients in the CR compared to your home country?
In Ukraine or Russia, women use the services of a makeup artist much more, even more than 6 times a year. For example, I once did make-up for a woman for her divorce hearing – she wanted to look her best so she used a visual artist to prepare. The market is quite different, ladies spend more on their beauty, there are many services and brow bars available – so it’s really easy to sell your services as a make-up artist.
This is unfortunately not the case here; women tend to look more natural here. I do like the natural look myself. There’s been some development during the last five years. Women begin to care about their eyebrows or they want make-up for a ball. Even photographers tried and saw the improved results of the photos when the woman has been treated by a professional visual artist. It is still harder though to break through with this service here than it would be back home.
Where do you find inspiration?
I do a more natural, simpler make-up – you have to be able to see the woman and her personality through the cosmetics. When they tell a woman that she has a nice make-up, then they see the cosmetics, but when they say she looks nice, they see the personality. That’s why I always look for inspiration in my clients themselves, they are usually quite interesting people. And so I look forward to meeting my clients as if I were to meet my friends.
Do you cooperate with other expats or local Czechs?
I mostly cooperate with Czechs, such as Petr Novák, Sabina Povolná or Marie Mukařovská who is a famous wedding dress designer and we even share a workspace – our atelier. Many of us artists love weddings because they often create our market. Those people I mentioned are already more like friends than just colleagues, they are like family to me, I really appreciate the fact that I met them and we can enrich each other’s lives and be an inspiration to each other. I could go anywhere with them and I’ll always know that the result will be worth it.
How can you practise your art now, in these strange covid times?
On one hand, nothing much is happening. On the other hand, it is a time when we can pay attention to our family. Covid has brought me some positive things – some rest, an opportunity to take care of myself, and workwise, a look at myself to see what else I could do. It is a sort of a break that I perhaps needed, because one can’t just keep doing the same thing over and over and one must always keep learning.
Covid has finally pushed me to open my own online store with Ukrainian and French cosmetics. I was too busy to do it before. I’ve read books, gained more experience, focused on my son and even gone on holiday. Usually, during the wedding season, when everyone is resting during their summer, I have to be available to the brides exactly on the day and place where they need me. Only in October I get some rest. Nonetheless – I love what I do, I can’t complain.
Is there any other area in art that you’d like to explore?
I’d love to get into photography – but only for myself, to start with. We’ll see how far I get in, say, two years’ time.
Photos courtesy by Veronika Mykolenko and Sabina Povolná. Visit Veronika’s site for more pictures and videos, mykolenko.cz