ELLE Beauty Awards 2021: Namrata Soni On Her Journey, Future Of Makeup And More

Namrata Soni Interview

We’re celebrating all things makeup, skin, and hair with Namrata Soni, one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the industry. With two decades of experience, the renowned makeup artist’s work portfolio boasts of some of the biggest names in Bollywood and beyond. She also launched her own beauty brand in 2020 called Simply Nam with an aim to shift the conversation towards eco-friendly and sustainable beauty picks. Namrata spills the beans on all things beauty in this freewheeling chat:

ELLE: What goes behind designing and creating looks for your clients?

Namrata Soni: The first thing that I look for is the concept of the shoot. I always speak to the photographer and understand the kind of lighting he wants to do which plays a crucial role in the kind of makeup that I want and have to do. I also discuss it with the stylist and the creative director to understand what they want to highlight on the face. It helps me create a balance when I’m working.

Who says that you can’t do a dark eye and a dark lip but it all has to play in well together. It makes a huge difference if you communicate with your team and understand the model sitting on your chair – the features and skin type they have. In short, there’s a lot that goes behind creating those amazing and iconic looks.


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ELLE: What sparked your interest in makeup?

Namrata Soni: Growing up, I was a tom-boy and didn’t even know how to put an eyeliner! In college, I used to give my friends haircuts and that’s when my love for beauty started. When I started assisting Coleen Khan, the hairstylist in our city, she suggested a self-grooming course to me to see if I’d enjoy it. I did a five-day course with Marvie Beck and absolutely loved it. The next thing I remember is telling my mom that this is what I want to do for my future.

When I went to London to study at the Delamar Academy of Make-up & Hair, I was scared if I had made the right decision but honestly, I absolutely love every day of my career. 

ELLE: What is the best part about your job?

NS: The best part for me is that I get to work on different faces and create something which nobody has seen before.

ELLE: Could you share with us your favourite muse? 

NS: Without a doubt, Sonam Kapoor!


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ELLE: If you have to choose your favourite look, which one would it be?

NS:  There are so many but I would say the Cannes look that we did for Sonam Kapoor when she wore a nath is my pick. We kept it Indian and did an exaggerated winged eyeliner with berry lips. I think for me that embodied India on a sought-after international stage.

ELLE: What is one makeup trend that you hope makes a comeback?

NS: Trends keep coming and going; this season it could be the most beautiful red lip and the next season, there would be no red lip at all. However, I love the bushy eyebrow trend and another one, that I really hope makes a comeback, is natural skin. I’m quite unimpressed with everybody ‘caking’ up themselves. 

ELLE: One trend that you hope never comes back?

NS: It has to be darker outlined lips over a lipstick. 

ELLE: Where do you go for your makeup inspiration?

NS: My inspiration is Kevyn Aucoin, one of the biggest make-up artists in the world. I actually got into makeup because I came across some of his books at Higginbothams, a bookstore down South. It’s iconic — he created some of the most inspirational beauty looks and I still go back to his work for my references. 

ELLE: What do you hope to see LESS OF in the future of makeup?

NS: Heavy cakey makeup, too much foundation, exaggerated contour, and extremely dark or filled eyebrows. Makeup is supposed to accentuate natural beauty and people need to accept themselves for who they are.. For instance, if you have beautiful skin and a lovely face cut, don’t go for contouring just because it’s in trend. It should only be done to accentuate the facial features. 

ELLE: On the flip side, what do you hope to see MORE OF in beauty?

NS: I’d say clean beauty. I want to see people doing their research on what they’re using and putting on their skin. Every single one of us needs to take the responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. 

ELLE: What is your vision for your brand SimplyNam?

NS: I want to create a clean beauty line that works for women on a basic level. I hope to give people products that they will keep going back to like the cleansing towel and Biocellulose 3-Layer sheet masks. I’ve also launched a few shades of Simply Nam’s comfort-wear liquid lipsticks. Yes, these products may already be there in the market but I want to do it better. 

ELLE: How does it feel to be a part of EBA and how was your experience?

NS: I love ELLE. It’s my favourite magazine in India and the world over. To always be called back for something like this makes me happy because it makes me feel that my opinion matters and that is really important to me. 

Rapid Fire with Namrata Soni

Bold lip or bold eye… Bold lip 

Bright colours or neutrals… Bright colours

Blush or bronzer… Blush

Lipstick or lipgloss… Lipstick

Shimmer or Matte… Shimmer

Makeup brushes or sponges… Sponges 

- Digital Writer


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