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Paulina Siembor: Vogue Italia’s First LGBTQIA+ Article
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Written by: Olivia Espie-Peters, 19th July 2021

Makeup artist and GlamCandy tutor, Paulina Siembor, changed the face of Vogue this year after being commissioned for a shoot celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community in Vogue Italia.

On Representation, Identity, And Change: How 20 Photographers Are Reckoning With LGBTQ+ History Month, was published in March and is the first of its kind to be published by the global fashion powerhouse – a hugely progressive move for both the LGBTQIA+ and fashion communities.

The concept for the shoot, dreamt up and photographed by Italian photographer Emanuele Centi, was heavily inspired by greek mythology, titled Studies for Portrait of Eurydice. Centi was enamoured by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Eurydice (the muse), decides to escape the “fatal gaze” of the artist (Orpheus) to follow their own path. This particular myth is interpreted by the photographer as a reflection of the concept of identity, equality and “finding ones own tuning”.

Paulina’s services were recommended to Centi after seeking out a range of Scottish models, and reached out to her via social media. Paulina was commissioned for the job in early 2020 and preparations were soon under way. She said, “I’m very proud to have had such an amazing opportunity and to get experience of such an unusual photoshoot style is brilliant.”

Working alongside Centi, photography assistant Fabio Scalici, hairstylist Michael Purvis and stylist Jack Shanks, Paulina spent a number of weeks planning her ideas for the shoot and communicating with the team via Zoom to curate an entirely genderless makeup look – in keeping with the genderless hair and fashion of the rest of the shoot. She said, “I found it quite challenging because Emanuele’s photography style is quite overexposed, so finding a look that would stand out in the photos was difficult.”

Experimenting with a range of colours, styles, and putting focus on different parts of the face using face charts, Paulina was able to conduct her own overexposure test and discovered that the eyebrows and lips were the standout features. She said, “It’s good that after 16 years as a makeup artist I know a bit about photography, because finding something that stood out in this photography style would have been much harder. It was a different experience to anything I’ve ever done before.”

After weeks of working with the team to design the perfect makeup style, Paulina opted for a brushed up eyebrow look using bold hair-strokes and poison lips in soft pinks and plums for each model. The genderless style of the shoot meant every model was to look the same, however ensuring the makeup, hair and fashion gelled together was a challenge Paulina was new to.

She said, “There is no room for mistakes on shoots like these, everything and everyone has to work together. Matching hair with makeup and clothes was challenging, and if something didn’t work – we’d have to reshoot all of those photos.

“I had to be much more disciplined than I ever have been on a shoot, I had to make sure everything was prepared, organised and have the team constantly checking the progress to make sure it was perfect.”

On the two day shoot, Paulina pulled in 12+ hour days, working tirelessly to perfectly execute the models looks. Not only was it a high-fashion editorial shoot – one of the biggest and most important jobs she has ever worked on, but it was imperative to her that she was able to follow the brief and showcase her best work.

She said, “It was all about teamwork, it wasn’t like other editorial shoots I’ve done in the past where I was left to it and the team waits for the final look. This time the team were so involved due to the overexposure of the photographs – so it had to look perfect.

“It was such a fast-paced shoot, I had to work closely with the stylist because there were so many different outfits but with the same makeup – so I had to be constantly on my toes to make sure the looks were consistent.”

Paulina was delighted to have been commissioned to work on a shoot celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, especially for the very first pride article across all Vogue platforms. She said, “It was amazing to be part of a project where I can show that makeup is for everyone – no matter your gender identity.

“I’m so proud to be a part of breaking fashion boundaries and making an impact in the industry.”

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