By Carlos Aparicio
Kat Sumners is a revolutionary make-up artist and style guru that has taken her talent to a whole new level, working all over the world with highly popular publications (such as US Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Emirates Woman and GTQ), celebrities, important figures such as Nelson Mandela and photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Lorenzo Agius, David Bellamere and director Stephan Gaghan. Enjoy this exclusive Q&A with Kat and get to know the genius behind the art.
Kat recently created a custom “Event” look for Women’s Mafia Founder Marcy Clark for her presenting duties at the GLAAD OUTAuction. We sat down with Kat to talk about how she created that look and where she gets her inspiration.
Women’s Mafia: What is your favorite part of your work?
Kat Sumners: Constantly working with different people and always learning and growing is definitely a plus of being a makeup artist. I also love discovering new techniques. There is no way you could ever know everything about makeup artistry. You have to completely love the industry and live it. I love that every day is completely different from the next.
WM: How did you create Marcy’s look for the GLAAD event? Is that a signature look of yours?
KS: When I did Marcy’s look for the event, my focus with her makeup and ultimate goal was to enhance her face in a way that she hadn’t seen before but still recognized herself. I don’t like to accessorize people, I like to enhance them.
I didn’t want her to feel like she had a mask on and I wanted her to feel ten times more beautiful than she already was.
WM: Did you always know that this was what you wanted to be?
KS: I was brought up by my grandparents and as a little girl, I loved the smell of my grandmother’s lipstick. I was constantly told off for climbing onto her commode to look in the mirror and play with her makeup. My grandfather was an artist and I used to watch him oil paint for hours. I was totally fascinated and very influenced by his artistic world. He was my absolute hero. I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps and have a career in the arts. I guess I ended up painting faces instead of flat canvasses.
WM: Where do you find your inspiration?
KS: I buy A LOT of fashion magazines. I try to take something I’ve seen, read about or heard about and throw my own twist into the overall makeup look. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk through the city and just look around and see what inspires me. You have to adopt trends to fit into a person’s makeup personality and be versatile.
For the last fourteen years I have been working mainly on makeup but I also work on the hair. I have been blessed to work with many amazing photographers and stylists. I am very optimistic and I have unconditional love for beauty.
WM: We understand that you have lived in worked all over the world (The Middle East, U.S., U.K, Holland, Greece, South Africa…), where do you feel most home?
KS: At the moment I travel between Dubai and New York City. A lot of my work is in Dubai and I have my agency Bareface, who represent me over there and I travel there at least every 6 – 8 weeks right now. But my heart and my flat are right here in Manhattan.
WM: If you could work with any person, in your field, alive or dead who would it be and why?
KS: Mario Testino because he makes everyone he photographs looks the best they ever will.
More about Kat Sumners – Her Official Biography
Kat Sumners, born in Belgium, boasts an impressive portfolio of work as both a make up artist and hair stylist. Her 13-year career has included assignments in the U.S, United Kingdom, Holland, Greece, Belgium, South Africa and, most recently, the Middle East. Her vast repertoire includes fashion editorial shoots for US Vogue (1 cover), Grazia, O Magazine, L’Officiel (4 covers), Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, FHM, Unfair, Men’s Health, Wedding (3 covers), VIVA (1 cover), Bride (2 covers), Ya Hala (4 covers), Jumana (1 cover), Visitor (1 cover), GTQ (1 cover), M Magazine, Emirates Woman, Society and Insider. Kat is also sought-after for her work in both television and print campaigns. A few of the campaigns she has worked on include Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Rolex, Oil of Olay, Dove, Brut, Lipton Tea, Colgate, Adidas, Wonderbra, Toyota, Nissan, Nokia, Emirates Airlines, Coca Cola, Landrover, Atlantis Hotels, Harrods of London, Nescafe, Gillette and Pepsi, amongst others.
Her career highlights undoubtedly comprise of the work she has done with top New York photographers such as Fadil Berisha (on the Rolex campaign), Vanity Fair’s Annie Liebovitz (for US Vogue: cover and editorial) and celebrity photographer Lorenzo Agius. Other notable assignments include working alongside such luminaries as distinguished French fashion photographer David Bellamere (for Unfair magazine: cover), Alexa Singer (Oil of Olay campaign) and Giorgio Armani on his fashion show for the recent prestigious opening of the Armani Hotel, Dubai. She recently worked on the prestigious advertising campaign for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Association with award winning British photographer Simon Stock. Kat has also assisted Linda Cantello, one of the world’s most respected and experienced make-up artists, who has worked in high-luxury advertising campaigns (Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy, Cerruti, Ungaro and collaborated with top photographers (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier) as well as with the best fashion and beauty publications.
In November 2003, Kat also had the rare opportunity to groom Nelson Mandela for this appearance at the launch of his AIDS charity 46664 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kat also supports numerous charitable causes by offering her professional services on a complimentary basis, the most recent example being ‘The Gansta*r Project’ (in conjunction with MyLife Charity), which aims to prevent impoverished youths being recruited into the notorious street gangs of the Cape Flats, in Cape Town, South Africa. Kat is a passionate, engaging and focused professional who brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Her portfolio showcases her versatility as an artist and highlights her talent in high fashion and editorial work, as well as her aptitude for television commercials, feature films and special effects.