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Courtesy of Aimee Twist

Aimee Twist, the make-up artist bringing sexy 90s glamour back

The born and raised Londoner talks to us about growing up, working with Gabriette, and being inspired by Pamela Anderson

The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopaedia 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.

Whether it’s the skinny brow, tramp stamp or black stretchy headband, beauty trends from previous decades have a habit of coming back around and reemerging on all your favourite beauty it girls. The 90s smoky eye is one look that has stood the test of time, remaining a symbol of sultry glamour and confidence. It’s also a look that make-up artist Aimee Twist has not only perfected, but given new life to. 

Bold, glamorous and trashy, Twist’s make-up is full of the characteristics that made 90s beauty so fun: frosted lipstick, pastel-coloured eyeshadow, pencilled-in brows, as well as the smoky eye. And yet the looks never feel dated. From celestial eyes full of shimmer to bold matte white eyeshadow across the face, the make-up is always fresh, modern and at the forefront of today’s beauty landscape.

A self-described “proper Londoner”, Twist grew up in the west London borough of Hounslow. “My dad was born in Hammersmith and my mum in New Zealand,” Twist says. “But we traced our family all the way back to England, so I’m pretty much as English as they come, unfortunately.”

After struggling to adapt to school, and realising her childhood dreams of becoming a WAG were slowly fading, Twist began to hone her skills in beauty. Noting her mother as her original beauty inspiration, her first introduction to glamour came from within her own house. “She would always leave lipstick marks on the rim of her glass and I would put on red lipstick and try to copy her. I thought it was the most glamorous thing ever,” she says.

Similar to many make-up artists, Twist had a stint at a beauty counter before venturing into her editorial make-up career. Since then, she has gone on to work on shoots for Vogue, Clash, Metal, and Harper’s Bazaar. Earlier this year, she was also enlisted by iconic Y2K fashion label Juicy Couture to transport model and muse Gabriette back to the early 2000s for the AW campaign – something she thinks of as a career highlight. “It was such a moment for me, she’s a face I’d been wanting to paint for ages and she was just as great in person.”

Below we spoke to Twist about getting her start, her beauty inspirations, and her desire to communicate with her cat.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?

Aimee Twist: I come from a working-class background, raised in a council flat. I’m an only child, so it was just me and my mum. I always loved beauty and fashion, and I used to sketch out clothes when I was little. Careers in anything creative were not the norm where I grew up and I struggled a lot at school, being a bit of a dreamer and not very academic – my biggest ambition at that time was probably to be a WAG.

How did you get into your career?

Aimee Twist: I actually started out working in customer services after quitting college at 16, but I hated working in an office and eventually left to start doing make-up. I did a short course and went straight into working on a make-up counter and was able to develop my skills working on different people. In between that, I started testing with other creatives and realised that’s what I really wanted to do. After three years working on a counter I went freelance, and have been doing that ever since. 

What are you trying to communicate through your work?

Aimee Twist: I think I’m trying to create a space where beauty has no rules. I am constantly inspired by my memories and things that I’ve learned through pop culture, music and film. I’ve always been someone who’s changed up my look and now that I work on models, I get to create all these different characters with them, which I love.

Which fictional character do you most relate to?

Aimee Twist: I’d like to say someone really cool, but my best friend says I’m Tinkerbell – always trying to get out of trouble by being cute and a little bit sassy. But her heart’s in the right place!

Who is your beauty icon of all time?

Aimee Twist: I honestly have so many: Marilyn Monroe, Priscilla Presley, Debbie Harry, Bianca Jagger, Grace Jones. But it’s always been Pamela Anderson for me. I’ve been making my hair big and doing that smoky eye for as long as I can remember really, even when the 90s wasn’t cool.

What does beauty mean to you?

Aimee Twist: Being confident in however you carry yourself, and not caring what other people think.

When do you feel most beautiful?

Aimee Twist: When I’ve just had my hair done, I’ve had a big blowout and I am walking down the street like a 5”2 supermodel.

Are you optimistic about the future?

Aimee Twist: Overall, yes, we are doing a lot to make change for future generations, but sometimes it’s hard considering what’s going on in the world.

What is the future of beauty?

Aimee Twist: I hope the idea of excess is on its way out, that beauty products become more interchangeable and this constant roll of new brands slows down. Sadly everything seems to be speeding up, so who knows what's coming next.

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 be trying to invent?

Aimee Twist: An elixir that reverses all signs of aging, an eyelash curler that doesn’t scare the living daylights of out of people, a machine that gives you a bouncy blow dry in seconds, a self-shaving razor that doesn’t cut you, and an undetectable foundation that’s glowy, looks like skin, and doesn’t need to be powdered.

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

Aimee Twist: The ability understand to animals – I just want to know what my cat is saying to me.

Would you rather live forever as an old person or live your life in reverse?

Aimee Twist: Live my life in reverse, for sure! I ache enough as it is, I dread to think what I’ll be like as an old person.

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