Arts & Culture Fashion Lifestyle

Interview: Acclaimed Makeup Artist Maida Khan

As a highly accomplished makeup artist, Ms. Maida Khan has worked with some of the biggest brands in the industry, such as Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel, and has been featured in top publications like Oprah Magazine. Working with luxury brands and meeting their expectations can be a challenge as there is always high pressure to represent the brand and introduce new products to clients while catering to their individual needs, and she is at the top of their list. 

Ms. Khan is a sought-after make-up artist, having also worked on various live events and award-winning films, such as Sweet Yoyo, where she was the key makeup artist for the main performers, who went on to win awards for Best Performance. Working on set with actors requires analyzing the script, character breakdown, and continuity to set them up for their roles and achieve significant awards.

She has also worked with finalists for Miss Universe Canada and designed makeup looks for Air Canada staff that went on to win awards in the airline industry. She has also provided masterclasses with Kolentine Academy.

Below, you’ll find our full interview with Ms. Khan. 

Can you discuss some of the major events you’ve participated in?

I’m happy to discuss some of the events. It was an honor to be invited by some of the top brands in the industry: when I worked at the Luminato Festival, which is Toronto’s international arts festival, I promoted YSL Beauty and demonstrated the Touche Eclat pen, which is their number-one-selling product, six sold every minute around the world. It was a pleasure because the event received tremendous media attention including top fashion publications in Canada such as BizBash and Fashion Ecstasy.

At Giorgio Armani Events, I Demonstrated signature looks for Armani VIP clients. And I Consulted with clients and met any needs, especially with foundation matching using their top-selling foundation Luminous Silk which is highly used by celebrities on red carpets. 

You’ve accomplished so much during your career. When you were starting out, did you expect this level of success?

Never! When I was starting out I was only doing makeup part-time on weekends and I was still trying to figure out what part of the fashion industry I was going to navigate my career in. I had started with a background in fashion design, then went into fashion merchandising and styling only to find out my real niche was Makeup Artistry. Once I quit everything else and focused my attention on building a business in Makeup Artistry, I began to then see all the opportunities coming in. Seeing how much passion and drive and skills I had with makeup only continued to lead me to my success.

As a makeup artist, you’ve done live events but also award-winning films such as Sweet Yoyo, which went on to win the Short Film at both the Short Stack Film Festival 2018 and Wular International Film Festival 2018. It also garnered the Award of Merit at the Awareness film festival 2018, the Award of Distinction at the Canada Short Film Festival 2019, Best Performance at the Family Writing & Film Festival 2018, and had several official selections.  You were the key Makeup Artist for the lead actors, who won Best Performance.  Can you discuss working on set with actors and setting them up for a role that achieves such significant awards? 

A lot goes into the process of character makeup. This is where you need to read the script to do a breakdown and analyze the characters and their roles being played scene by scene. There are always changes happening along the way, but following through with continuity plays a heavy part when getting actors ready. It’s also important to make the actor feel comfortable with you as you tend to work closely for several days with that person. Having an actor feel at ease in my chair will always help them perform at their best.

How did you decide on specific areas to specialize in, and what are the challenges of working in film and TV vs. doing a live show? 

When I first started out, the best way for me to build my business was to specialize in bridal makeup. The bridal industry is a lucrative industry that never stops.  Once I built myself up in that area, I began to expand my creativity and was able to express that in fashion editorial shoots where my work got published in magazines such as Imirage, Hola Spain, and Oprah Magazine

One of the most significant publications in the world chose your work, can you discuss what it was like being chosen for Oprah magazine? 

It was a great honor to be rated #34 in the Top 80 Do it Yourself Creative Halloween Looks for Oprah Magazine, which has a total audience of over 10 million. Oprah is an icon, and I grew up watching her. I’m always so inspired by her growth and success. O Magazine is one of the top women’s magazines in the US, and my work getting published in it was definitely a highlight in my career. 

Tell us about working with finalists for Miss Universe Canada. What was the environment like?

I designed makeup looks for Kathy Loshtik, one of the top 20 contestants, and Ruth Richards, one of the top 12 finalists for the preliminary pageant photo shoot. The final round of the top 5 of selecting Miss Universe Canada was covered by top media outlets like the Toronto Sun, ET Canada, and E-Talk Daily. It was so much fun seeing who was going to make the cut. The girls were all beautiful and amazing!

How did you get involved with make-up Air Canada air and ground staff, which ended up winning awards for Best Airline Staff in Canada and Best Airline Staff in North America at the 2021 Skytrax Awards, which is a significant award as these are considered similar to the Oscars of the aviation industry in terms of peak achievements?

I had the pleasure of being selected as the National Artist through Director Mahana Syed at Glow College to design looks for Air Canada staff that aligned with the Air Canada uniform standards. My team and I trained over one thousand ground and air staff on the necessary techniques to achieve the airline’s brand image, covering Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. It was so much fun meeting and training the wonderful staff of Air Canada, everyone was so warm and welcoming.

Can you talk about your masterclasses with Kolentine Academy, which has been the winner of Best Bridal Makeup Studio for four years?  This was a significant academy to be invited to because these awards were given by two different distinguished institutions such as the World Health & Wellness Congress Awards, and also the Indian Salon Wellness Awards in partnership with Franchise India.  

Kolentine Academy was founded by multi-award-winning international and Bollywood film makeup artist Ritu Kolentine, who invited me to provide the masterclasses. Ritu is highly regarded in India’s entertainment industry and has worked with some of the biggest Bollywood film stars, and as you mentioned, her makeup studio has won Best Bridal MakeUp studio awards from well-respected organizations in the beauty industry. 

It was an honor being invited by the academy to develop an Introduction to the Special FX program. One of my favorite areas of makeup over the past six years has grown to be Special FX. To be able to lesson plan and educate the Kolentine Academy students on some of my favorite techniques used in Film and TV was so much fun. Knowing that they are not only now certified as international artists through a Canadian College but also certified to work in India’s film industry feels like a great accomplishment. Working with Ritu and her talented team was an unforgettable experience for me.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, do you have a lot of projects you’re looking forward to? 

I’m currently working on a thriller film project which has my hand messy with lots of Special FX. It’s going to be exciting to see once released in the future. I also have another film project coming up in spring with a South Asian Production and I’m very excited about that as I’ve wanted to get into more South Asian Films, being a person of color myself. 

I’m also looking forward to some business trips to the middle east to develop some masterclasses with some new affiliates. Definitely lots of fun projects ahead to unfold. 2023 is going to be busy and successful. I can feel it!