ith the dab of a sponge and the swipe of a brush, senior Elizaveta Serebryakova showcases her artistic skill, but not on the traditional canvas. Her canvas of choice: a face. Serebryakova uses makeup to shape and mold a face to look new and different than before while adding her own special touch. Click on the video below to hear her thoughts and watch Serebryakova do a model’s makeup.
The following is from El Estoque’s March 2017 issue.
By Ananya Bhat and Himani Yalamaddi
he watched her mother put on makeup every day, witnessing the transformation. After a swipe of eyeliner and lipstick, her mother would look almost unrecognizable.Curious about this power to “change her face,” senior Elizaveta Serebryakova took matters into her own hands. The 9-year-old Serebryakova stole her mother’s makeup, eager to try it out for herself.
When her mother finally found her missing eyeshadows and lipsticks smeared across young Serebryakova’s chubby little cheeks, she didn’t scold her. Instead, she offered to help, and did Serebryakova’s makeup for her.
Of course, it didn’t turn out as expected. The dramatic shadows and dark colors contrasted with Serebryakova’s then-pre-teen face and seemed off to her. Still, her interest in makeup only increased. When Serebryakova turned 14, she maintained a daily, simple makeup routine, consisting of mostly foundation and mascara.
During the early days of her makeup journey, she made the same mistakes as most beginners do: inconsistent blending, messy eyeliner and smudged pigments.
But with almost daily practice Serebryakova began to improve. After approximately a year of serious perseverance, she found herself able to do eyeliner with ease, which she considers the moment she found herself truly improving.
The time and effort that Serebryakova put into refining her makeup skills — understanding the art and smoothing out her technique ó led her to realize that makeup is just as technically and artistically demanding as traditionally recognized arts.
“Your face is your paper and you draw whatever you want to,” Serebryakova said. “You can change your face, you can change how you look, you can make yourself look older, or younger, or more fresher, or I don’t know — anything.”
Serebryakova took an even bigger step in trying to improve her abilities in 2016 by taking a masterclass with Russian makeup artist Irina Svetlichnaya in Kazakhstan, the country in which she was born.
Svetlichnaya’s private, 10-day class was rigorous, requiring Serebryakova to implement difficult makeup techniques on people of all races, ages and face shapes. She was introduced to new styles of makeup, from more natural looks to complex wedding makeup. The extensive practice she received working a range of techniques on a variety of models helped her gain the confidence to start pursuing makeup professionally.
Her first time doing another person’s makeup was just earlier that year, when a few students asked Serebryakova if she could do their makeup for an upcoming school dance. She reluctantly agreed, but stuck to what she knew, deciding on a more natural look consisting of neutral tones. She recalls painstakingly applying eyeshadow and fake eyelashes, worried what the girl would think of the end result. But as Serebryakova turned the girl towards a mirror to show her the finished look, she breathed a sigh of relief when the girl told Serebryakova that she loved it.
“It was really stressful for me because I didn’t know how it was going to turn out for her,” Serebryakova said. “I [was]like, God bless I can breathe right now.”
Within a week of returning to the U.S. from Kazakhstan, she received a message from someone asking her to do her makeup — one of many new clients. Though she is still learning to be comfortable with getting paid for her work, she no longer feels as nervous when doing other people’s makeup. A few months ago, Serebryakova took a chance and changed her major from her long-time passion, fashion design, to cosmetology. The sudden shift was met with concern from her parents, but her considerable skill set and evident love for makeup led them to embrace the change.
Serebryakova maintains that her love for makeup was a result of her own interest and passion for it —uninfluenced by pressures from anyone or anything. Although makeup is a major part of Serebryakova’s life, she doesn’t think that it has to be for everyone.
“I put on makeup just because I like to do that. I like to change my face, I like to emphasize my eyes or lips during the day or night,” Serebryakova said. “I feel like it’s really important for people in general to understand that makeup is a choice, not a requirement.”