Academy News
October Academy Student of the Month: Kiki October 11, 2013 By Jha Villanueva

If I was to pick a random one from a list - Kiki would be one of those that stand out. And stand out he does, introducing our first student of the month feature Ahmed “Kiki” Ismail. Fresh from besting his peers in an “Aging Makeup” class competition seen below, we recently had a chance to get to know more about our beloved Kiki.

October Academy Student of the Month: Kiki

October 11, 2013 By Jha Villanueva

If I was to pick a random one from a list - Kiki would be one of those that stand out. And stand out he does, introducing our first student of the month feature Ahmed “Kiki” Ismail. Fresh from besting his peers in an “Aging Makeup” class competition seen below, we recently had a chance to get to know more about our beloved Kiki.

Academy: First of all, how did you come up with that nickname -  Kiki?

Kiki: It wasn't me who actually came up with the nickname, it was my friends. It’s a term of endearment for me because I smile all the time and they think I am sweet and it stuck ever since. When I came to the states, everyone had difficulties pronouncing my real named (Ahmed) so I figured, I would make it easier for everyone and go by my nickname, which is close to my heart. Also it always reminds me of how much my friends mean to me (it wasn't because of the song which I really love and it came later on - everyone I know posted it on my Facebook wall).

Academy: Tell us about your background before attending MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy and why did you decide to attend the New York campus?

Kiki: My background was mainly corporate. I was a  PR & Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. I gained a lot of experience and I was passionate about it. It was all about giving back to the community and the best way to ensure the sustainability of our environment which I believe should be at the core of any successful project not only corporations.

As for attending MAKE UP FOR EVER NY, I got to learn about the school through friends and decided to check it for myself. I was very much impressed with the method of teaching and the work the academy was doing to promote and advance artistic practices of make up. Of course New York is the city of dreams and where dreams come true. I’ve always wanted to come to New York to explore the intense and diverse artistic scenes, fashion, art and design. I wanted to experience it all, be inspired by the city and all that it had to offer.

Academy: Have you always wanted to become a makeup artist or have any past interest in the arts?

Kiki:  I’ve always had an interest in the arts. I had started painting and sketching ever since I was in school. I’ve also dabbled in water, oil colors and charcoal until maybe a few years ago. My interest in fashion and styling took me to fashion design courses where I studied fashion sketching and illustration. Unfortunately I never continued with that, but the idea of using fashion and accessories to create a particular look or character remained with me. My introduction to make Up came mainly from Hollywood glamour and camp aesthetic. I was fascinated by how you can create an entirely new character or personality. Whether to 'reveal' a character, 'change' it, 'exaggerate' it, and so on. The possibilities of these transformations were very exciting for me and I decided to try my hand at it.

Academy: It was a bold move coming to New York all by yourself, how have you been finding it so far?

Kiki: Well I am still living this experience, which was really hard at the start. I was a bit overwhelmed and homesick because of whatever was and is still happening back in Egypt. But after a while, I realized that it has been always been my dream to come here. I was determined to make it happen and now I love it! I am enjoying the museums, the parks, the people, and how different they are, I feel that New York is a true metropolis.

Academy: How would you describe your makeup style?

Kiki: Less is more. My style is about simplicity and beauty. I believe that every individual already has a good foundation and this is what you should try to bring out. But I am also interested in exploring different styles and looks.

Academy: As an artist, sometimes the hardest things is finding new inspiration for your work. Where do you go for that?

Kiki: Not the internet! Sometimes things just happen and you get inspired. but if I’m stuck,  I will go and see art and things in their real forms. I walk around staring at people’s faces, go to museums and read books.

Academy: There are a million and one MAKE UP FOR EVER products, what are your top 5?

Kiki: (1)The new brushes I just love them all (2) HD foundation (3) Aqua Black (4)  Rouge Artist Lipstick # 42 (5) HD Concealer

Academy: What are your future plans after graduating from the academy?

Kiki:I would love to work for MAKE UP FOR EVER and continue to become part of the tribe - anywhere in the world is fine with me.

Academy: If you can assist any established makeup artist, who would it be and what is it about them you admire the most?

Kiki:  I don't have anyone  particular in mind right now. But I believe if you work with anyone hard enough and with interest and passion, you are bound to learn something.

Academy:  Describe, in one word, how your experience at the academy has been so far?

Kiki: Fabulous!

Thank you so much Kiki for granting us this interview. We wish you all the best in your burgeoning makeup artistry career. We are all confident you will continue to shine moving forward and hopefully all your tribe intentions will come to fruition. We cannot wait to see bigger and better things.