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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Introducing AOFM: the Academy of Freelance Make Up

AOFM was founded by Jana Ririnui and Jason Mallet just five years ago but already it's doing amazing things in the world of fashion make up. Here's a bit of their story...

Written by Amelia Gregory

AOFM by YesGo!
AOFM by YesGo!

AOFM or the Academy of Freelance Make Up (artists) is the brainchild of New Zealander Jana Ririnui and Englishman Jason Mallet, discount who met, viagra like, mere months before they started up in business together – Jason bringing the business nous and Jana the creative spark. I’ve already had a chance to peruse their gorgeous coffee table book Make Up is Art at the Forward PR press day, and last week I had a chance to actually take a look around their Soho studios and learn a bit more about what AOFM does.

AOFM-Jana and Jason
AOFM’s Jana and Jason. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Gathered in one of their airy studios on Dean Street the pair explained to us how they give students the opportunity to work in a real fashion environment backstage at Vauxhall Fashion Scout at LFW. AOFM was set up because Jana was frustrated that fellow make up artists weren’t being trained in the realities of working in the fast paced and often brutal fashion world, so it’s a place where not only do you get a brilliant make up artist training but also real hands on experience of working in the industry.

AOFM Jana and Jason by Jenny Robins
Jana and Jason with their chihuahuas. By Jenny Robins.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory

Despite having been going for under five years AOFM has already garnered huge acclaim and is all set to open up their New York wing this May. In that time Jana’s students have done everything “from X Factor to Italian Vogue” so they are highly rated in the industry, and Lauren Amps (who did my make up again) won make up artist of the year only two years after she left the college.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory Lauren Amps
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory Lauren Amps
Lauren Amps at work. Yes, there is make up in those drawers, there’s a reason why she’s on the floor!

Students are given a realistic view of what to expect if they work in the industry, which Jana says weeds a great deal of them out straight away because they simply aren’t willing to put the hard graft in to get where they want. There is a generation coming up now who expect things to fall into their lap, something I have noticed as well… the me me me middle class generation who’ve never experienced any hardships and are somewhat flummoxed by the cruel workings of the real world. Some students arrive with false expectations of what AOFM can do for them, but if they can’t “do a good smokey eye and a red lip” then they won’t be recommended for shows. I do love a strong look and the classic smokey eyes and red lips are clearly a crucial basis for many other looks.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory bespoke make up brush set
AOFM bespoke make up brush set.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory Make Up is Art
The AOFM bible: Make Up is Art. An inspiring collection of ideas intended for both professionals and beginners.

According to AOFM it usually takes about five years to get an agent, something which can be much quicker depending on a make up artist’s financial position. The sad truth is that like so many jobs it really does depend on whether you are secure, and in the case of make up artists it sounds like lots of people have hubbies who are willing to support them whilst they test and build up their portfolios.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory
Another AOFM make up artist with a fabulous tattoo.

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory

After our chat Jana and Jason lead us to their stunning top floor where we were able to enjoy the new pot plants on the balcony far above the bustle of Soho, whilst nibbling on tasty goodies and having our make up done professionally (though a bad idea at the same time, as I discovered) as their two delightful chihuahuas Lily and Lula raced around our feet in an attempt to feed off the canape scraps. Although Jana is keen to add to the chihuahua pack it doesn’t sound like this will be happening any time soon, what with the new concession opening in New York and exciting plans for an even bigger project which I am absolutely not allowed to mention. Watch this space folks…

AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory chihuahua
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory chihuahua
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory chihuahua
AOFM-photography by Amelia Gregory chihuahua
CHIHUAHUAS!

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4 Responses to “Introducing AOFM: the Academy of Freelance Make Up”

  1. [...] more about the article here. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← [...]

  2. [...] by the talented Lauren herself later on at the event. You can view my illustrated make-over at Amelia’s Magazine. AOFM's expert-designed brush kit Flicking through the gorgeous glossy make-up guide MakeUp Is [...]

  3. [...] by the talented Lauren herself later on at the event. You can view my illustrated make-over at Amelia’s Magazine. AOFM's expert-designed brush kit Flicking through the gorgeous glossy make-up guide MakeUp Is [...]

  4. grissely says:

    do they ask for ged or high school diploma??

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