As the song “M-O-T-H-E-R (a Word That Means the World to Me)” goes, “M is for the million things she gave me.” But in the case of the following mothers and daughters, “M” could just as well stand for make-up. Each mom was a make-up professional and gave her daughter a love for the craft. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we present four two-generation make-up families.

Pauline and Catherine Heys

Catherine (left) and Pauline Heys in the make-up trailer for Saving Private Ryan

What’s it like growing up as the daughter of a make-up artist? For Catherine Heys, it’s the memory of walking into the family kitchen when she was 7 and discovering Harvey Keitel’s severed head. Her mother, Pauline, was creating it for Saturn 3.

After the initial shock, Catherine wanted to learn more.

“I would sit on the kitchen worktop rummaging through mum’s make-up boxes whilst she cleaned her brushes and pots,” says Catherine, who lives in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. “She’d tell me what everything was used for. I found the whole thing so exciting and fascinating.”

On school holidays, Catherine tagged along to see her mother at work on set: “When I got a bit older, I would watch what everyone was doing and learn—oh, and make the tea!”

“She thought it sounded really glamorous,” remembers Pauline. “I had to explain to her it really wasn’t at all—just hard work and long hours! But it was a job I loved, with all its challenges and excitement.”

Pauline Heys practices make-up application on daughter Catherine

Pauline offered encouragement, having Catherine practice all sorts of make-ups: beauty, aging, wounds. Pauline critiqued these efforts and offered tips.

With aspirations to do both hair and make-up, Pauline left home in Southampton at 17 to study at the London College of Fashion. She became a trainee at the BBC; after five years, she went freelance to pursue a film career, which has included working on Legend, Chaplin, Schindler’s List, Event Horizon, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Saving Private Ryan.

Considering the precarious nature of the film world, Pauline insisted that Catherine get proper training and experience. Catherine spent three years training as a make-up artist and hairdresser at Aylesbury College. She went on to become a beauty therapist and then a skincare and make-up specialist with Clarins.

At 23, Catherine finally got her shot at film make-up when Pauline was in Paris transforming Anthony Hopkins into the title character for Surviving Picasso. Catherine was offered the chance to do some 1940s style make-ups.

“It was one of those moments I’ll never forget: snow—real snow—started falling. It was a night shoot. Then we wrapped, and in French style, we went for breakfast,” remembers Catherine. “Mum took one look at me and said, ‘Uh-oh—you’re hooked!’”

Pauline was willing to help her daughter’s career as long as Catherine understood there would be no preferential treatment. Catherine signed on as a make-up artist on Event Horizon. Her next opportunity was to work for Lois Burwell on Saving Private Ryan, an experience she describes as “hugely exciting and incredibly humbling. It was a fantastic time. Mum has been Lois’ key make-up artist for many years.”

Catherine went on to work for Burwell on Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Last Samurai and War Horse.

Other films that feature both Heys in the credits include Hilary and Jackie and 1408. In 2002, mother and daughter, along with Julia Wilson, were nominated for an Emmy for their make-up work in Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story.

This was one of three nominations for Pauline. She won an Emmy in 1988 for Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story. Pauline was the personal for its star, Farrah Fawcett. She also received a BAFTA nomination in 1994 for Schindler’s List.

And as Catherine’s career grows, she’s realizing her mother’s advice to learn all aspects of her craft has paid off. She was the second unit hairdresser on the Fast & Furious 6 and the final three Harry Potter films. On War Horse, she was crowd make-up supervisor.

But versatility is far from all Catherine has learned from Pauline.

“She taught me to improvise with the resources you have. You can do so much just by having a grease palette: wounds, bruising, dirt, blusher, lipsticks, etcetera,” says Catherine. “The humble, good old-fashioned grease palette has got me out of many a tricky situation.”

Now a mother to two young boys, Catherine has also learned from her mother how to juggle a film career and a family. “She is pretty much retired now, but I will often ask her advice,” says Catherine. “My mum is my inspiration. If I could be even half as good as she is, I’d be happy.”

Inger Lise and Charlotte Christiansen

Charlotte (left) and Inger Lise Christiansen

Charlotte Christiansen studied to become a make-up artist at the Nordic Institute for Scene and Studio in Oslo, Norway. But she may have learned more about her craft from her mother, Inger Lise Christiansen, who has been a beauty professional for 45 years.

“The best lessons my mother taught me are the unwritten rules,” says Charlotte. “Everything is allowed. Listen and read between the lines. That’s when you know what your customers want and that’s when you become a great make-up artist.”

Her mother has instilled in Charlotte the idea that her career is more than that. “I knew that this would be my lifestyle, not just a job,” continues Charlotte.

Inger Lise Christiansen

Perhaps that’s because Inger Lise’s life in make-up began when she was just 15. She’d hop on her pink bicycle and go door-to-door selling Oriflame cosmetics in the small Norwegian town of Sandefjord. After studying to be a skincare therapist, Inger Lise decided to become a make-up artist and trained at Alexandre de Paris Academy.

Over her career, Inger Lise has worked in Norway, Germany and France as a cosmetic seller, teacher and artist.

“I do classic make-up, giving women, and men, the looks they want,” explains Inger Lise. “I am 60 years old and still practice make-up every day.”

She says one of her greatest adventures was the opportunity to work with Guerlain’s creative director, Olivier Èchaudemaison, in Paris. In 1990, Inger Lise opened a boutique, Lillestrøm Parfymeri, which offers 13 make-up brands.

For the first six years of her life, Charlotte joined Inger Lise on the road. “I remember the mornings in the bathroom when she would get ready to visit customers, watching her create her fabulous ‘80s make-up—blue eyes and her signature red lipstick,” says Charlotte.

Inger Lise couldn’t have been prouder when Charlotte decided to study at NISS. “Not because she was following in my footsteps, but because she was walking her own path,” mom says. “She was born to be backstage and to be creative.”

Charlotte’s first job after graduating was at her mother’s shop. Mother and daughter have worked together in some capacity for 13 years.

Charlotte Christiansen at Douglas Norge

“She gave me the freedom to work for her, with her customers,” continues Charlotte, adding that her mom also encouraged her to pursue magazine, photo and film opportunities.

For the last 18 months, Charlotte has served as art director for make-up at Douglas Norge’s flagship store in Oslo.

Charlotte is also the make-up artist for the fashion pieces in Oslo magazine Bogstadveien Magasinet. “And I have worked for NYX Nordics this past year,” she says. “I am always chasing more—more faces, more experience.”

Charlotte continues to draw upon what she’s learned from her mother. “She has a magic way of introducing color and engaging customers to be whoever they want to be,” she says.


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