Paris Hilton’s Abu Dhabi make-up artist’s secrets

Paris Hilton’s Abu Dhabi make-up artist Melissa Shafiq interview

Paris Hilton’s Abu Dhabi make-up artist’s secrets
Paris Hilton’s Abu Dhabi make-up artist’s secrets Image #2

A-List makeup artist Melissa Shafiq is bringing the best and latest techniques in high-end fashion to Marquee in Eastern Mangroves Promenade, drawing on her experience working with high profile clients at London, Paris, Milan and New York Fashion Weeks, Britain’s Next Top Model and Chanel, to name a few. We sat down with the fabulous artist to squeeze some insider secrets.

Tell us a bit about your decade-long career, and don’t be modest!
I initially graduated from the Academy of Freelance Makeup. My first ever shoot was for OK! Magazine. Soon after, I was selected to assist a number of well-known makeup artists backstage at London Fashion Week, and from there I steadily built up my reputation. While I continue to travel internationally with work (I don’t think there’s a continent I haven’t been to) my home is now in Dubai, so I am very much focused on this region and I’m looking forward to bringing the latest techniques in high-end fashion, bridal, evening and glamour makeup looks to the Middle East.

Can you tell us about the celebrities you have worked with – have you had any particularly memorable moments?
I have had the privilege of working with quite a few. I did American rapper, singer/songwriter and actor Aloe Blacc’s makeup at an event in Geneva last year, and he was great fun to be around. Rita Ora was also lovely, and I’ve worked for Tom Ford many times so I have a soft spot for him. The most recent was Paris Hilton – she was actually very sweet, fun, and surprisingly down-to-earth. She invited the team to join her at Legends [the new nightclub at The Sheraton Abu Dhabi] where she was DJing, so we all managed to let our hair down for a couple of hours after work.

Working on the top Fashion Weeks across the globe must have been seriously exciting. Can you tell us more about working on runway fashion looks?
I have worked at Fashion Weeks in London, Milan, Paris and New York – it is seriously exciting, but seriously draining too. It’s actually not as glamorous as you might think. Time is the major limiting factor so you tend to apply pretty consistent looks to the models, and this all happens in the space of about five minutes – it can be exhausting. Juan Betancourt and Jade Thompson – a previous winner of Britain’s Next Top Model – have been among my favourite models to work with.

What kind of looks will be available to your clients at Marquee?
Whilst standard packages are available, we always offer a personalised makeup experience tailored to the client’s wants, needs and time available. Party and evening makeup have been the most popular recently, with the Kim Kardashian look proving a firm favourite among some of the local clientele. But we also have clients popping in for things as simple as a quick touch-up, contour and highlight, or smoky eye. Basically, we have something for everyone.

What’s in your makeup bag?
I appreciate good makeup, so I can be quite fussy. Currently in my core makeup bag is; Anastasia Brow Gel, Tom Ford concealer, Dior Show Iconic mascara, Guerlain Terracotta bronzing powder and Tom Ford translucent powder. Two essential lip colours I usually have on me are True Coral and Pink Dusk from Tom Ford.

Are there any tips of the trade you can share with us?
The first thing every woman should know is how to perfectly colour match her foundation – that’s the key starting point and something few get right. I recommend using only yellow or neutral based colours. Instead of matching it to your jawline, it’s best if you match it to your chest. Always test your colour match outside in natural light. And apply the foundation with a brush but blend with your fingertips for a tinted moisturiser effect.

And a quick tip for a sun-kissed look… sweep bronzer on your temples, along the sides of the face, and right under the cheekbones in a number three movement. But keep the bronzer away from the centre of your face to keep it brighter and ensure the contrast remains.
There are just two tips – I can’t give away all my secrets!
Mesmerising makeup with Melissa is available at Marquee Eastern Mangroves Promenade Thu-Sat, 3pm-10pm. For bookings and enquires visit or call (02 449 4044).

On the menu

Eyes without lashes Dhs150
Eyes with lashes Dhs250
Day look without lashes Dhs350
Day look with lashes Dhs450
Evening look with lashes Dhs550
Party without lashes Dhs650
Party with lashes Dhs750
Bridal with trial Dhs3,000

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