Home Beauty Up Close & Personal With Celebrity Makeup Artist – Kaniz Ali

Up Close & Personal With Celebrity Makeup Artist – Kaniz Ali

by Nashmia Amir Butt

International celebrity makeup artist, Kaniz Ali, is someone whose work we have seen and have been in awe of. We had the pleasure of working with her for this issue's cover shoot and here is what we got to know about her!

Grazia: Kaniz, can you tell us how and when you realized you wanted to be a makeup artist? Did you train to hone your skills or has it all come naturally to you?
Kaniz Ali: Makeup is something that has been in me since I was a child. I just loved playing around with everyone’s makeup products since I was a little girl. As I grew older, in my teen years, many people noticed my talent and always asked me to do their makeup for different occasions. I was self-taught, it was a natural talent I acquired through time. Then I started getting noticed by many people from the Asian Fashion / Beauty /Music industry.

Grazia: Was this always the career you wanted to choose or was there something else you were pursuing before becoming a makeup artist?
Kaniz Ali: Interestingly I worked in an international law firm based in Central London, and that is when I got spotted by many artists and people in UK Asian fashion industry who started booking me to do makeup on them up for various different projects and events. Many people had noticed my skills and said I should really look into pursuing a career in makeup and styling full-time. Back then, becoming a makeup artist was far from easy as there was no social media, Facebook/ Instagram, and being in the fashion industry was a huge taboo. Nevertheless, I took the step to leave the law firm in 2009 and start my career full-time as a makeup artist – 12 years later Alhamdullilah I haven’t looked back.

Grazia: Tell us about your journey to fame. How did you get recognized? You have worked your magic on many celebrities including Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Amy Jackson, Parineeti Chopra, Urvashi Rautela, and the list is endless! You have also won quite a handful of awards, tell us how that feels?
Kaniz Ali: It definitely does feel incredible especially to represent Muslim women. It shows Muslim women who wear the hijab can make it to the top! It is indeed tough but it can be done with sheer dedication and hard work. It’s always amazing to be recognized for your hard work.
We, as beauty professionals, work very very long hours behind the scenes which no one really gets to see and with me, it’s not only the makeup, I am also booked to creatively direct each celebrity’s campaign, as well as provide concepts/styling and manage the team along with the main the star. So you can imagine I’ve got my hands full but at the same time, it is very very rewarding. I think the best advice I can give to anyone is to work to your full potential, do not compete with others, do what you are capable of and do it to the best of your capabilities and you will definitely get recognized!
I think a huge part, about me, is I never compete with anyone – I am my own competition! I love outdoing my own work *laughing out loud*. and Alhamdullilah that’s my secret!
I was also recognized by the CEO of Asiana International Magazine who was super impressed with the hours I put in, my continuous creative ideas to better the brand and I think for my crazy OCD ways *laughing out loud* for being a perfectionist, making sure everything is at it’s best. After each celebrity campaign, the star and team would always give him excellent feedback which meant he booked me for the following covers. Feeling very blessed

Kaniz Ali getting actress Sadia Khan ready to go on set.

BTS of current shoot with actress Armeena Khan

Grazia: Tell us the 3 most important things one must keep in mind before coming in to get their makeup done – tips for skin care to make the life of a makeup artist simpler in order for the makeup to turn out the way you want it to.
Kaniz Ali: You must definitely look after your skin, so good sleep, high consumption of drinking water, cleansing, and toning daily. One must also go for regular facials. I also can not emphasize the importance of a good moisturizer. It is imperative to moisturize our skin every single day.

Grazia: What would you say is your signature style?
Kaniz Ali: That’s a good question! I actually create different looks all the time especially with eye makeup, I work around my clients’ preferences but the most favorite my clients opt for is my signature glossy skin look I create with smokey eyes and nude lips. The other look which is also a huge hit is my signature gold glitter eyes with red lips which my clients tend to adore.

Grazia: Is there a particular celebrity you look forward to working on in the future?
Kaniz Ali: Aaaaah yes! Alia Butt would be a great person to makeup and style!

Grazia: As trends evolve, what do you do to keep yourself in the game? Do you tend to go with the trends or do you believe in embracing your signature style?
Kaniz Ali: I do a mixture of both. I stick with my signature style but I do also move with the times by incorporating a few styles when the time is right. For example, when contouring was introduced it was a total gamechanger and an absolute must to include in my style as I think it’s a fantastic technique when done correctly.

On the ground {Syrian Refugee Camp}

Grazia: You are dedicated to helping humanity, and we see that you are deeply involved with a lot of causes. Would you like to share some details with us? What causes have you chosen to work for? How do you feel?
Kaniz Ali: Yes Alhamdullilah I am very blessed to have been able to work on many causes i.e., providing aid directly on the ground to the the Syrian Refugees in camps on the borders of Lebanon, providing aid to Syrian Refugees in Jordan, providing aid to Rohingya Refugees in camps on the borders of Bangladesh, providing aid on the ground to the less fortunate in Bangladesh, providing aid on the ground to the displaced in the war-torn country Iraq, working with the Palestinians in Palestine and currently building a mosque for the less fortunate in Ghana.
I am a huge believer in giving back. I always say Allah SWT has blessed us with the ability to give back. It is so important to do whatever is within our means big or small, every bit counts.
Do it whilst you have time, have good health, do not prolong anything only to look back and regret not taking the opportunity when it was given to you. Take every opportunity as a blessing and even if at the time it doesn’t seem possible make it possible!
Personally for me, even though I have the craziest schedule during the year with making up brides all year round, training students at my Kanizmakeup Training Academy in London, making up and styling celebrities back to back, beauty editorials, working on international covers back to back, I still always make time to fly out 3/4 times a year on the ground to provide aid to the less fortunate. I work very closely with helping widows, orphans, and the elderly in less fortunate countries and war-torn countries which I have been doing consecutively for the past 8 years even throughout the pandemic.
It is something I recommend to everyone! If you get an opportunity that comes your way to provide aid or work on the ground with widows and orphans, please do it. It is something that will change your heart forever, for the good.
You help their worldly life and they in return help your afterlife. It’s truly a blessing!

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