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Charlie Murray
Photography Lucie Crewdson

Make-up artist Charlie Murray isn’t afraid of colouring outside the lines

We speak to Murray about her path into the industry, why she relates to Chandler Bing, and working with Madonna

The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopedia of creatives and emerging talent from across the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty. From supermodels to digital artists to make-up prodigies transforming themselves in their bedrooms, these are the beauty influencers of tomorrow who embody everything Dazed Beauty is about. Discover them here.

“I do it because it’s the only thing I’ve ever felt passionate about. It’s the only thing that doesn’t feel like a chore to me,” says Charlie Murray on the reason she became a make-up artist. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever really been good at. Although it can be fucking hard work sometimes, I just love it.”

Murray always knew that make-up was her passion but it wasn’t until her mid-20s, after dropping out of university three times, that she finally pursued her dream of earning a living doing something she loved. Growing up in a small town in Lancashire, she was encouraged to go to school, get a job, earn some money, and settle down. “I was never taught that you can actually earn a living doing something you love and that it doesn’t have to feel like work,” she explains.

Fast forward to today and Murray spends her days assisting some of the best make-up artists in the industry from Inge Grognard to Daniel Sallstrom on shows including Vetements, Mowalola, Balenciaga, and Ashish. When she's not backstage at the runway, Murray is Matty Bovan’s go-to make-up artist, creating joyful colourful looks on the fashion maverick for red carpets and editorials including in Dazed.

We speak to Murray about her path into the industry, why she relates so much to Chandler Bing and working with Madonna.

What’s your earliest beauty related memory?

Charlie Murray: Sneaking into my mum’s make-up bag and playing with her make-up. I used to sit on her bed and watch her apply her make-up every morning. She had this concealer stick (Rimmel, I think) that was super thick and pale. I was so little I thought it was lipstick and put it all over my lips while she was out of the room. I remember feeling really confused and like, this can’t be right can it?

How did you get into being a make-up artist?

Charlie Murray: Lots of my friends were working in fashion and I was interested in the industry. Some of them are photographers and stylists who pointed me in the right direction and gave me contacts in the industry. I actually did three shoots and a music video before I even trained in make-up. I look back at those photos now like, ‘girl, WTF were you doing.’

What’s been your career highlight so far?

Charlie Murray: I worked on the Madonna music video for “Medellín”. I didn’t talk to her but we were in the same room and that’s good enough for me. I’m still pinching myself.

Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words.

Charlie Murray: All Fur Coat.

What does beauty mean to you?

Charlie Murray: I see beauty in my friends and family all the time. Mostly when they’re being their authentic selves. Being free. I am very lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful souls.

What’s your favourite smell?

Charlie Murray: My cat’s head. I just want to breathe her in.

Which fictional character do you most relate to and why?

Charlie Murray: Chandler from Friends. I’m always dropping things.

What is your favourite beauty look of all time?

Charlie Murray: I love the 20s, a dark lip and a finger wave. There’s something really sexy and mysterious about that period. I’d love to be transported to a dark, dingy, smoky, speakeasy.

As a warning to the other members of the resistance, your head is to be mounted above the gates of the city. How would you do your make-up that morning?

Charlie Murray: A killer sharp liquid eyeliner and a perfect red lip with a pointed cupid's bow. Probably Russian Red by MAC. And statement earrings.

If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?

Charlie Murray: To read minds and feel feelings. Kind of like E.T and Elliot. I feel I’m quite an intuitive person but I think we could all do with feeling how each other truly feel from time to time.

You’ve opted to be cryogenically frozen in hopes of continuing the human race. When you’re awoken it’ll be your responsibility to kick-start the breeding. How will you wear your hair on your first date?

Charlie Murray: A side parting and a short slick 1920s finger wave.

It’s the year 2100. You’re the owner of the largest beauty tech company in the world, what five products or treatments will you dedicate your resources trying to invent?

Charlie Murray: 1) Nail polish that changes colour as your mood changes. Like a 90s mood ring
2) A programmable hairstyling machine to style your hair as you wish colour, cut and style
3) Anti-ageing pills that actually work
4) The ultimate hangover cure
5) Permanent mascara

You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?

Charlie Murray: A mermaid. I’m a Pisces and I’m obsessed with baths. So I could have a permanent bath essentially.

When do you feel most beautiful?

Charlie Murray: The word ‘beautiful’ is so weird to me. I don’t know if I’ve ever thought ‘I am beautiful’ or ‘I look beautiful today.’ In our society we’re taught to play down our achievements and successes. We’re taught not to be vain and self-absorbed. Not to brag. Although, my boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful every day. So that’s nice.