We caught up with celebrity make-up artist, Krassi Toma, to find out what it takes to be a full-time make-up artist, how he made his mark in the industry, and what happens behind-the-scenes on Idols SA.

1. At what stage did you realise you wanted to pursue make-up artistry as a career and where did you study?
When I was 25-years old I was in a very bad accident that left me with a disabled left arm. I was in recovery for seven months, and a close friend of mine who is a hairdresser and make-up artist suggested that I try doing make-up.

It was unfamiliar territory from me, as I’d never painted a face before that, but coming from a fashion design background I always loved colours and shapes. The biggest challenge was that I couldn’t lift my left arm after the accident and I am left-handed. I picked up a make-up brush with my right hand for the very first time and loved it!

I enrolled at a professional make-up school in Rivonia in Johannesburg, where I studied Beauty, Bridal, Fashion, TV, Film and special effects make-up. This was during the time that MAC cosmetics launched in South Africa and I was lucky enough to be called in for an interview. This was 19 years ago and I’ve never looked back.

2. You have worked with celebs like Jessica Nkosi on Jet Club cover star shoots, which other celebrities have you worked with in your career?

Throughout my 19 years as a make-up artist, I have worked on three continents: Africa, Australia and Europe. I have been lucky to work on various South African and Australian productions, an American feature film, a British comedy, a Turkish TV series, a Bulgarian sitcom and many more.

Some of the celebrities I’ve worked with are: Jessica Nkosi, Thandiswa Mazwai, Lucky Dube, Patricia Lewis, Christian Slater, Scott Edkins, Yvette Yeis, Judith Sephuma, Karen Zoid, Lira, Tiffany (American singer in the ‘90s) Carike Keuzenkamp, Danny K and yesterday I did make-up and hair for Katherine Kelly Lang who plays Brooke on The Bold And The Beautiful.

Krassi doing Kelly Lang’s hair and make-up. 

At the moment I’m working on the TV show, I’m Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! The hosts are Dr Chris Brown (The Bondi Vet) and comedian Lady Julia Morris.

3. How do you prepare for Fashion Week?

Preparation for Fashion Week starts with a meet-and-greet with the make-up crew, designers, sponsors and organisers. First, we look at every designer’s collection and have a chat about their inspiration, colours and message to the public. After we design the look, we do the application on a model and take them to the catwalk to see how the make-up looks under the light. Once the make-up application is confirmed with the designer we’ll take a picture and write down the products used to create the look.

Krassi with model, Kayla Van Rooyen.

4. What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
The biggest challenge of being a freelance make-up artist is finding the next client.

5. What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts to keep you inspired?
I love following @Pixiwoo, @PatMcGrathReal and @Maccosmetics.

6. Tell us a bit more about life behind the scenes on Idols SA. Do you work on every episode, and is it difficult to say goodbye to the contestants?
Behind the scenes at Idols SA is lots of ‘hurry up and wait ‘ – that’s what we call it! The contestants do two rehearsals before a live show; voice and full dress rehearsal. I’ve worked on two seasons of Idols SA in 2017 and 2018 on all 13 live episodes per season. I’m one of three make-up artists, with Lindsey Swart as Head Of Department.

It is always heartbreaking to say goodbye to contestants, unfortunately, there can only be one winner. The winners we had for the past two years, Paxton Fielies in 2017 and Yanga Sobetwa in 2018, are amazing talents who won South Africa’s hearts and both have a great future ahead.

7. Which local or international celebrity’s make-up do you think is always on point?
Charlize Theron, Carike Keuzenkamp, Lira and Meryl Streep.

8. You’re currently working on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in Limpopo. What is the difference between working with international celebrities and local celebrities?
Working on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Australia is amazing, the crew on the production is half South African and half Australian. Most celebrities are Australian and a couple are from England and America. I don’t think there is any difference between local or international celebs, they are all people with public status who want to look good in the public’s eyes.

On set at I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in Limpopo.

9. Do you have any advice for someone who would like to pursue make-up artistry as a career?
You need to be creative at heart and know that this isn’t a 9 – 5 job. It’s also important to be patient and be able to converse with a lot of different people.

10. Can you share a few makeup hacks with our Jet Club Family?

  • Moisturising the skin is a key element to natural make-up.
  • Buy the best make-up you can afford. Quality over quantity!
  • When you’re buying your foundation please take a tester home first to see how it looks in daylight. 
  • It is good to have two different foundation colours; a lighter shade in winter and darker in summer. In between seasons you can mix the colours.
  • Matte lips, contoured cheeks and highlighter (no blusher), false eyelashes and gentle eyeliner are very on-trend at the moment.

Follow Krassi on Instagram to stay inspired!

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