Global Estonians: professional make-up artist Gerda Miller (London)

Gerda is a professional make-up artist, who has her own outstanding style and look. Tartu-born and East-London-based, she loves art and films. I met Gerda when she had just finished preparations for her second exhibition called “One Side of the Story“, in collaboration with photographer Heikki Leis, and found some coffee and cake time. Smiling, pink-haired, inked, cute combined with creepy, always wearing perfect make-up, dedicated and ambitious – Gerda answered some of my style & make-up and London-related questions.

Gerda, what are your memories of the fashion world from the time when you were still an easily influenced teenager?

When I was a teenager, I mainly had time for hip-hop and rap music. So I was wearing baggie jeans and tight tops with hoodies, and did lot of booty-shake.. Hehee..

Nice! Can I mention – I did that too? A lot! And what is fashion for you now?

Fashion is something that is really personal and represents you and your personality. You can tell a lot about a person by taking a look at what they are wearing. Whether they wear something unique or they are just trying to follow the “fashion” (current trends).

Where are you right now?

Right now I live in London, and I’d like to think that I’m half way on my life-journey…

What made you to leave Estonia and why come to London?

I came to London to have a bit of a change of environment and to study as well, but ended up just working straight away, which has actually benefited me more.  I’ve now been here for two and half years. I contemplated three options in my head: London, New York or Paris. For New York you need a visa and for Paris you need to speak French – which unfortunately I still don’t. So I was left with the London option and so far I’m happy with that choice.

How do you make your living and what has been your greatest success so far?

I work as a makeup artist for a company called Make Up Store and also for a club Cirque Du Soir. I would have to say that my best experience so far was a photo shoot with a well-known company called Yamaha Audio & Visual and also Elite Model Management, with known photographer Damon Baker, where I was an assistant makeup artist.

What’s been the defining moment of your life so far?

Moving to London would be one of them, and of course my exhibition.

And what is your current state of mind?

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol.

You started on your own, and have been progressing ever since. Tell us, what does success mean to you?

Being able to do what you love on your own terms and time, without worrying about material things.

What would you like to achieve in 10 years’ time?

Being a successful artist (and read the previous answer)… Oh, I have big plans… But right now they sit in my diary and wait for the right moment.

Define: what is the job of an artist, in your opinion?

To create something that people can relate to. Sometimes you do art for others, but it still has to come from inside and reflect your personality or place and time in life.

As a make-up artist, explain to us how do you see this profession?

As a make-up artist, I always try to relate to one’s personality. In my works I try to show people that make-up isn’t just a toolkit to make people beautiful, it is also an art form… An art form, which helps me to express myself, or bring something out in my clients or models – life that they have been afraid of, or not opened up enough to express. People and life as a whole inspire me, and I try to insert this in my work.

What kind of life advice would you give to our readers?

Try to be the best you can, every day! Trust yourself and find your own way.

You have a lot of self-confidence! To contradict – what is your greatest fear?

Fear of fearing things that are not worth fearing.

As a movie lover, what is your favourite movie?

“Beetlejuice” – I’m a big fan of Tim Burton’s movies anyway, but that one was just too good and too weird. If you haven’t seen it, you have missed out on a good movie! And for a short-movie it would have to be Tim Burton’s “Vincent” – it’s a really nice combination of cartoon, darkness and poetry.

If your life could be a movie, which one would it be?

I can’t think of putting myself in someone else’s shoes, so I think documentary of my own life, because I think I’ve lived an interesting and fulfilled life with ups and downs.

Is there anything special you miss about Estonia?

I would have to say my family for sure! And that beautiful landscape we have over there… it is priceless! But I try to visit in every 3-4 months…

I cannot leave you without asking an essential “style people question” – what is your favorite magazine and why?

L.O.V.E. Magazine – It is the most artistic out of all the fashion magazines.

Do you believe in love?

I do, I even believe in love at first sight. I’m a hopeless romantic.


Photos by Andres Raudjalg

Julia’s interview with Gerda was first published by Julia’s blog

Additional reporting from London by Silver Tambur

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