Expert Talks: Aakriti Kochar spills her beauty beans

Dynamic, focused, confident and full of passion, Aakriti Kochar is one of the top names in Delhi today for bridal makeup. She has successfully carved out a niche for her style in the beauty industry at a time when faces were painted and not sculpted.

Aakriti’s reputation of influence and perfection precedes her, which is why she was roped in as a Beauty and Makeup Expert by Oriflame back in 2012, when she was still relatively new in the business.

Every top blogger swears by her immense talent. She has worked with the biggest celebrities in the film industry and her boundless enthusiasm demonstrates that this is just the beginning!

We were lucky enough to get an opportunity for a quick tete-e-tete with Kochar about herself, her forthcoming projects, and of course, exclusive makeup tips and tricks for our readers…

Tell us a little about your background… Were beauty and makeup always your passion, even as a child? What is the first instance you remember when you realised that you want to go along this path?

It does come as a surprise to many that while growing up I was a complete tomboy. I was always hanging out with my brothers rather than my sisters, I had more guy friends. I would always we wearing t-shirts and shorts and my hair was cropped really short.

It was only in senior school that my interest in fashion grew. I became more conscious of my clothes and my overall appearance. By the time I entered college, I was transformed from a tomboy into a trendy girl. But it was only until after I finished my graduation in Mass Communication & Journalism from Amity University that I realised I want to pursue makeup. I still remember I had overheard someone in the faculty room talking about this course for Fashion & Media Makeup in Pearl Academy and in a couple of weeks, I gave my interview and enrolled for the same. Since then I believe that the things we are passionate about are not random, they are our calling!

How difficult is it to establish yourself as a MUA in this over-saturated industry? What was the kind of struggles you faced? What do you think worked in your favour (except for your immense talent of course)?

Luckily, when I started my practice in 2009, the industry had just started growing. So, I got amazing opportunities to work with best of brands, makeup artists, fashion events and designers. I am always keen to learn because as an artist, you can never be completely satisfied with your work. I still look at my old portfolios and find mistakes which I can improve upon now. In the last 5 years, our industry has seen a boom with every second person becoming a makeup artist. It makes me happy to see how appealing our work looks to everyone but then again, each field has its own challenges and at the end, only a handful with talent and real passion survive.

In your previous press releases and interviews, we’ve seen you talk about how your style in makeup artistry is “modern and contemporary”. What is it that you mean by “modern make-up”?

During my early interviews, I used to use the term “modern makeup” very often. It was my own attempt to show that our Indian industry was finally evolving and moving towards a subtle and more contemporary style, and we (I speak for myself and my fellow makeup artist friends), the incoming flux of fresh talent were going to bring that change.

You’ve been in this industry for quite a while now. How do you think makeup styles have emerged from when you first became an artist? What looks do you think are the top-picks of 2018?

My biggest challenge was to stick to my own subtle style of makeup when I had just started working. At that time, there were very few known labels in the makeup industry, and they were all following the same old style of painting faces white, with colourful eyes and big bouffant hairstyles. I swear, I did not see a second look on anyone. While assisting some senior artists in the beginning, I was often told I will not survive in the industry for very long if I keep it subtle, but I am glad I was able to prove them wrong.

My personal favourite look for 2018 will be fresh shimmery eyes with wispy lashes and a nude eyeliner on the waterline. This is an appropriate summer look. Team this up with lightly-tied, textured hair with some loose strands around the face to add to the softness. Other than this, my absolute love for kajal never fades. One can team up gold eyes and false lashes with kajal or heavy smoky eyes with kajal. It is always a hit!

Which is that one look which you think stands evergreen and suits everyone, regardless of their skin tone, face structure, attire etc.?

Smokey eye is an evergreen look and it suits everyone. There are of course variations in terms of colour and intensity which depends on the shape of eyes one has. It goes with western as well as Indian outfits and never disappoints. The fun part is you can always pick up a different colour (like navy blue, emerald green, metallic silver, gold, rose, etc.) and smoke it up with lots of kajal and it will be a new look every time!

Who is your favourite MUA in the industry? Name a few celebrities you’ve loved working with, or look forward to partnering with.

My makeup guru is Mickey Contractor. I had the honour of seeing him work first hand when I was associated with MAC at the very start of my career. I am a complete stalker as far as he is concerned. Even now every time I come up face-to-face with him, I have a total fan girl moment.

As for celebrities, I have worked with Lisa Haydon, Neha Dhupia, Prachi Desai, Yami Gautam, Sayani Gupta, Ira Dubey, Isha Shervaani, Vidyut Jamwal, Arjan Bajwa, Shikar Dhawan (Cricketer), Vijender Singh (Boxer), Leander Peas (Tennis Player), John Galliano (International Designer). I love them all.

You’re an expert in bridal, fashion and advertising make-up… We’ve also heard you say that whereas colour is the fun element, make-up for you is all about looking natural while enhancing one’s features at the same time– Keeping this philosophy in mind, how do the strokes and techniques change in the three different domains you excel in?

These three areas are very different from each other… If I describe it simply– advertising is the minimalistic, almost-real makeup and hair look, fashion is also minimalistic but edgier than advertising, and bridal is the most defined out of all three. However, our scope of experimentation lies more in Fashion & Bridal compared to Advertising.

You are known to conduct a lot of courses on make-up and hairstyling. Tell us about that… What is the styling mantra that you swear by? You’ve also been an ambassador for Oriflame since 2012. Which are some of your favourite products from that brand?

Yes, other than shoots and bridal projects, I also conduct makeup classes for one’s self and professional learning. The fun part is that it helps me revise my basics of makeup and hairstyling with the most honest questions asked by my students who are all so enthusiastic about learning this art. Teaching has definitely made me more patient and I believe teaching is nothing but more learning.

I have been with Oriflame for 6 years now and it has been a privilege to understand the psyche of consumer and product designing. I absolutely love their skin care segment which is such a wide range of quality products that there’s a product that fits every skin type and every skin need.

-By Anushree Kanoi

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