Chatting to Steph Newbury feels as if you’re nattering away to an old friend.
Her down to earth nature and discretion is probably what makes brides get in touch sometimes years in advance, and even before they’ve actually become engaged.
The make-up artist who is based in Countesswells is in hot demand, not least because she is insanely talented.
From wild stories about Kate Moss to the odd family drama on the wedding morning, Steph never utters a word as to what she hears or sees, while she transforms brides ready for their big day.
It has been more than a decade since Steph took her first tentative steps into a notoriously difficult industry, and she learned plenty along the way.
But the hard-working mum has never strayed from her signature style, a classic bridal look which will never grow old.
Society caught up with Steph, and found out why she goes above and beyond in pursuit of her passion.
Where it all started
“I was 18 when I started on make-up counters, but my love of makeup started long before that,” said Steph.
“Growing up, I had really bad acne and I was always allowed to wear make-up.
“I soon discovered from a really early age, that covering spots in concealer didn’t work all that well.
“But if I wore a red lipstick or a smokey eye, people didn’t notice my skin. It made me feel confident.
“I met someone who was a make-up artist for Chanel, and I thought that was the coolest job ever.”
Steph started out on the Clarins counter, before her childhood daydreams came true and she too, went to work for Chanel and was trained at their prestigious academy.
“Working on the beauty counter was my form of college,” she said.
When I went to work for Chanel, I was trained by Kate Moss’s personal make-up artist.
Some of the stories you heard were insane, they were the most wild stories as you can imagine.”
Steph spent five years with Chanel before going to work freelance, and has never looked back.
Booked and busy
From occasion make-up to brides and everything in between, it’s not uncommon for Steph to be booked months, or even years in advance.
“I have people get in touch with me who aren’t even engaged, but they want to make sure that it will be me doing their make-up,” said Steph.
“Or brides haven’t booked a venue, but I’m their first port of call.
“I’m such an old school make-up artist, which is something I sometimes struggle with.
“There’s all these trends on Instagram that are big, and then the next minute they aren’t big.
I’ve always stuck to classic beauty. Something I say to all my brides, is that you want to look back at your pictures in 20 years time and feel that your make-up is still relevant.”
“I think it’s much more common to have to your make-up done on your wedding day.
“There’s not that many opportunities in life when a team will come in and make you feel like your most beautiful self.
“This is the one time when you can be glam. I always make every bride classically beautiful.
“You should feel like a more polished version of yourself.”
With more people now waiting longer to settle down, Steph sees a huge variety of ages. And it is the more mature brides who she has a particular soft spot for.
“I see a huge age range, and I’ve made a name for myself in doing makeup for mature brides in particular,” she said.
“This is because I will see one or two, and then they will go and tell everyone.”
Working in the wedding industry
Of course it’s not just about make-up, for Steph is deeply entwined with the wedding industry – for better or for worse.
“I often say to people that the week of your wedding is the worst week of your life,” she said.
“It’s because of all the little things going wrong that you can’t control.
“Your florist has broke her arm and can’t do your bouquets. Or certain people can’t make it but you’ve already paid for them, so you’re basically paying money for air.
“On the run-up to my wedding day, we locked ourselves out of the house and that was just one of the things to happen.
“But I usually find that by the wedding morning, it’s really lovely.
“There is literally nothing more you can do, and most brides are usually really happy that they’ve made it to this point. It’s my job to make them look and feel their absolute best.”
Going above and beyond
When the look has been perfected, Steph often finds herself carrying out tasks far beyond her job description. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think there’s something so special and intimate about being part of a woman’s day,” said Steph.
“I feel very privileged to be able to witness it.
“The day that I don’t want to help put the bride in her dress, or do something else outside my job description, like take the bridesmaids to the ceremony because there isn’t enough room in the car.
“The minute I don’t want to do that, will be when I know I don’t want to do this job anymore.
“You are completely embedded in a family for one morning, and so many brides say they wish I could stay for the whole day because you become so close.
“This isn’t just about playing with make-up.
“You are also a part-time PA, marketing manager, you’re doing emails at 9pm at night.
“You’re a part-time therapist and you have to be prepared to work really really hard.
“I truly love what I do though.”
To find out more, head to Steph’s Instagram at @stephmartistry,