Karen was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland where, from a young age, she excelled creatively. During school her mentors and peers knew her for her artistic ability and innovative concepts. She achieved the highest possible grades in both AS and A Level Art & Design and went on to receive an unconditional offer into University of Ulster, Belfast.
Karen took a year out of her studies to travel the world where she felt her experience of many cultures inspired her creatively saying “Every culture had its own perspective on beauty, I learnt there is no right or wrong way to look beautiful, its all about how make up makes each woman feel.” Upon returning from her travels Karen persued her dream job of working in make up, enrolling in a local Make Up School.
During this time Karen’s knowledge of make up grew with her skills in make up application and technique becoming more defined. Whilst assisting at Belfast Fashionweek she experienced first hand what its like to work under pressure and it was something she fell in love with “I was a bit apprehensive about working on such a high profile event and knew the standard that had to be reached and maintained every day but working in this environment made my passion grow even more and I had never been so sure this was the job for me.”
In September 2011 Karen fulfilled an all time dream of hers, to work with a high profile star. When Rihanna came to Belfast to shoot her new music video for “WFL” Karen was asked to be involved as part of the make up team. “At first I was in complete shock and thought someone had set me up but when I received the call sheet with locations, times and the ‘Def Jam’ record logo I couldn’t believe it. The experience was something I will never forget, working with such talent was a huge privilage and I am very proud of what I achieved. I made some great friends and its lovely to be able to experience that with someone else.”
When Karen isn’t working on such high profile events you can find her on the MAC counter in Belfast. Working for the biggest cosmetics company in the world is another notch to her belt. Working daily with other artists and some of the companies key trainers has seen her skills and techniques evolve. She says “My favourite applications are often created on counter, as well as off, for brides, formals and girls nights out. Working one to one with brides is such a fun experience for me. Right from the trial I build a relationship with them, I think its important to have her know her make up is tailored to her. Being part of her big day is lovely and their appreciation is hard matched.”
Karen doesn’t believe in being at the top of your game without hard work and this year has opened up her own Make Up Studio for freelance clients.