By Olivia Morley - OMD4 Makeup & FX
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Recent Posts

Western Canada Fashion Week - Collections
Western Canada Fashion Week - Fantasy Night
Western Canada Fashion Week - Global Collections
How To: Sultry Evening Out


Featured Articles
How To
MUAMAG Articals
Product Reviews
Rocky Mountain Entertainment Agency
Set Life
Special Events
powered by

Making Faces 2.0

Q&A with Debra Kelly - Makeup Artist

Debra Kelly: The Artist Behind the Makeup

Makeup artist (MUA) Debra Kelly may have started out as a nurse, but this Aussie has moved on from the operating theatre to the stage at an amateur dramatics society in Brunei, the runway with Behind the Curtain in Calgary and the pages of Elléments Fashion Magazine. 


While you won’t find Debra in front of the lens (she’s a wee bit camera shy), it is her creative work that is often front and centre.  Whether it’s an outstanding makeup concept or an exquisite paper dress, your jaw is sure to drop.

Her work has attracted much attention and she will be one of the featured artists at Grandeur, a showcase event hosted by RAW on March 5, 2015 in Calgary alongside fellow MUA Sandra Makarewicz and other talented artists.

In 2014 her makeup work could be seen in both the November issue and Swimsuit Edition of Elléments Fashion Magazine and seeing her work published was an experience to remember.

“When I found out it would be published, I was like, ‘Woo Hoo,’ that was the fun part and when I actually saw it in print I was like, ‘Wow’.  Then I thought ‘Is this it?  Have I made it?  Is this the real deal?’  It was Who Hoo and surreal all at the same time,” she said.

There is no doubt that Debra is in high demand these days, but it wasn’t always that way.

Models: Kendal Shae and Genevieve Ellen Reibmayr-Little; MUA: Debra Kelly; Hair: Jason Mellor; Photographer: Vanessa DeZutter
Seen in Elléments Fashion Magazine November 2014 issue

In the Beginning ...

Debra and her family (that’s hubby and three kids), move around a lot because of her husband’s job and have gone from Australia to Holland to Brunei where her professional makeup career really started, before landing in Calgary, Canada.

Despite gaining experience in Brunei, Debra found herself with few industry contacts once she moved
to Calgary. 

She said: “I did the ‘ole creep on Facebook and looked at pages for photographers and models just to try and make connections.  For my first marathon photoshoot I messaged models saying, ‘I like the look of your face, can you model for me?’”

To start with she did a lot of free work just to build up her portfolio and meet other people in the industry.  She also took advantage of some educational funding to gain international certification as an MUA from Artists Within Makeup Academy.

She has worked on photoshoots, television, stage, fashion runways and charity events like a Mother's Day makeover for kids dealing with cancer and has sometimes worked with local celebrities.

“I’ve had a few high-profile people in my chair, but I don’t treat them any different than the girl next door.  They are my canvas and I’m going to do what I can to make them feel good.  Then again if I had Kylie Minogue in my chair, I’d probably be shakin’ in my boots.”

Hot Off the Presses
Model: Bradley Swayze
HMUA: Debra Kelly
Stylist: Ivan Jimenez
Photographer: Ateliê Coquille

And then there's the paper dresses

“I go off on tangents sometimes and get all crafty just to keep my hands busy and then I think how I can use them in a photoshoot.  That’s where my paper dresses came from.  I never thought in a million years that people would respond to them.” 

On one such occasion Calgary-based fashion designer Erikka Moojelsky, aka Miss Neïd of Neïd Studio, approached her about doing the makeup for a personal glamour shoot.  Initially she was going to sit on stacks of fashion magazines for the shoot wearing one of Debra’s paper dresses, then it was decided that Debra would make a dress using pages from fashion magazines with folding help from Miss Neïd.  The result speaks for itself.

Model: Erikka Moojelsky; Makeup and Dress Design: Debra Kelly; Hair: Jason Mellor; Photographer: Randy Porter

Debra’s biggest inspiration is British photographer Kirsty Mitchell, in particular her Wonderland project which began as distraction from overwhelming grief after the death of her mother, but turned into a journey of healing lasting five years.

“She is a one-stop-shop," she said.  "And if I could do anything half as good as that woman, I’d be wow.  She does set, costumes, concept and then shoots it.  She is stunning.”

Cheaper than paying for a shrink

Debra has big plans for the future which began recently with the launch of a makeup school of her own.  She wrote a two-volume course that combines the flexibility of an online certification, with the hands-on, real-world experience of an in-person class.  

Those studying the program cover theory and hygiene before learning about different applications and make their way through a workbook designed to help them evolve as an artist.  Answers can’t just be found with a quick dirty Google search.  Her students will have to go out into the field to learn about the products and observe others.

“I’m not saying I want world domination, but if I can inspire even a few makeup artists a year, that’s enough for me.”

Her kids may not always be happy with Mum keeping so busy and while spending time with her family is a priority, Debra has no plans to slow down.

“I think it’s good for them to see Mummy working.  They won’t see me at home 24/ 7 washing and ironing.  I want to be a role model.  I’d go crazy staying at home.  Doing what I do is like my therapy when I get irritated and antsy.  Sometimes I just need to head upstairs, pull out the glue gun and start making something. 

It’s cheaper than psychiatrist bills.”

Models: Brett Henderson, Katie, Mattea Henderson, Claire Marie Roberts; MUA and Dress Design: Debra Kelly; Hair: Jason Mellor; Photo: Red Dot Photography
  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, the Amazing Debra Kelly created them all.

6 Comments to Q&A with Debra Kelly - Makeup Artist:

Comments RSS
Nicole Bates on January 20, 2015 8:48 PM
Amazing blog!
Reply to comment

Heaton on August 16, 2016 4:52 PM
J'etais devant le parterre de roses ou je lui avais fait l'aveu de mon amour, ou j'avais recu d'elle une promesse, mais, aussi, ou je l'avais tenue pendant une minute dans mes bras, ou elle avait eu l'eclair d'un vertige.
Reply to comment

Van Raalte on August 28, 2016 6:27 PM
Bientot les terres arables degagerent leurs odeurs lourdes, et puis s'insinua la senteur des sablons, d'une rudesse sauvage, enfin brusquement il y eut l'envahissement des bouffees chaudes qui venaient de la cour de la ferme41. boutique bio en ligne La theorie de la regression, qui vient d'entrer dans le domaine des discussions ouvertes, est alleguee a chaque page, au moyen d'un fait, dans l'oeuvre historique de Taine et dans l'oeuvre scientifique de Darwin: il serait tres possible que M.
Reply to comment

Hutchison on September 1, 2016 4:30 AM
Il se remettoit par degres, seul avec moi, de cette timidite souffrante qui est la veritable cause de son humeur, et il me parloit avec esprit et malignite sur les personnes qu'il connoissoit, lorsque Leonce entra. boutique bio en ligne Detestant la duchesse, sans cesse il reproduisait les traits d'une rivale qui commencait a l'effrayer, de Diane de Poitiers, qui devait plus tard regner sous le nom de son amant, second fils de Francois Ier.
Reply to comment

Q&A with Debra Kelly - Makeup Artist on August 6, 2017 12:23 PM
tirage en ligne gratuit du tarot de marseille tarot en ligne 100 gratuit tirage carte tarot professionnel tarot jeux de cartes gratuit mac tarot de marseille gratuit en ligne denis lapierre i tarot en ligne tirage tarot divinatoire gratuit amour tirage du tarot de marseille gratuit boule de cristal tarot de marseille gratuit amour argent travail tirage tarot semaine rtl tirage tarot amour marie claire interpretation tirage tarot 3 cartes tirage de tarot gratuit et immediat marie claire tirage tarot carte diable signification des cartes de tarot divinatoire tirage carte tarot en ligne jouer au tarot gratuit seul tarot de marseille en croix gratuit en ligne tarot divinatoire gratuite en ligne tirage tarot marseille gratuit de qualite carte de tarot divination tirage tarot marseille gratuit marie claire
Reply to comment

essaywriting on October 28, 2017 4:35 AM
Q&A with debra kelly mekeup artist work has attracted much attention and she will be one of the featured artist. I am getting with this omd4makeup blog for the more published was an experience to remember.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment