THREE make-up artists from Gwent were among the regional winners at the national Make Up Awards, held in Manchester last week.

At a glamorous awards ceremony, 14 prizes were awarded to overall UK winners in categories like Bridal Make Up Specialist of the Year and Make Up Team of the Year, and there were also regional winners announced in each category.

­— 'Shocked and honoured'

Among the Gwent-based professionals to be named best in Wales was Sara Szpak, regional winner in the Creative Make Up Artist of the Year category.

She started her own business after studying make-up at Coleg Gwent, where she learned everything from party make-up to special effects.

South Wales Argus: An example of Sara Szpak's work.An example of Sara Szpak's work.


Ms Szpak, who lives in Newport, focuses mainly on weddings, proms and photoshoots, but also works on film sets and gives make-up lessons.

"I love working with photographers on photoshoots, helping them to realise their fashion and special-effects ideas," she said. "I love fantasy and makeover themes, using prosthetics and special effects if needed.

"I've been lucky enough to be published many times in magazines and to meet people who now feel like my family."

She said she was "totally shocked and very honoured" to hear about her place in the finals, but the trip to Manchester was not without its own challenges.

"On the day of the ceremony, I worked on a wedding so I had to do my makeup in the car while my partner drove," she said. "Ladies, I would not recommend this."

She added: "We had a great evening eating, making friends, meeting others from my industry and celebrating [our] success."

Ms Szpak plans to expand her business in the future and offer mentoring classes to new make-up artists.

­— 'Embrace your uniqueness'

Also scooping a regional award was Molly Hull MUA, a Pontypool-based make-up artist whose business was named Wales' Make Up Salon of the Year.

South Wales Argus: Pontypool-based Molly Hull MUA.Pontypool-based Molly Hull MUA.

She has been a make-up artist for three years, doing all make-up looks as well as semi-permanent lashes, and has built up a strong social media presence, with nearly 100,000 Instagram followers.

Unfortunately, Ms Hull wasn't able to attend the Manchester ceremony, but said she was looking forward to celebrating when she received her award.

"I couldn’t quite believe [that I'd won]," she added. "Considering I don’t have a huge team, it’s literally just me and my little business starting from my outbuilding."

She added: "I'm so passionate about making people feel confident in their skin and embrace their uniqueness, that’s what I mainly use my platform for.

"So I feel like that’s why people will come from far and wide just to my little studio."

­— 'Every woman deserves to feel their best'

Caerphilly-based Makeup by Amy Elizabeth, owned by Amy Elizabeth Hopkins, was named the regional winner in the Freelance Make Up Artist of the Year category.

South Wales Argus: Amy Elizabeth Hopkins.Amy Elizabeth Hopkins.

"My first makeup client was a childhood friend," she said. "After trusting me as a teenager to do her makeup for a first date, she insisted I were to be the one do her wedding makeup.

"My business blossomed from then onwards."

Mrs Hopkins has worked with Spectrum Collections and Gok Wan, and may be about to work on a new reality TV show being made in Wales.

She mainly works with bridal and occasion make-up, but also offers eyelash extensions, lash-lifting, and brow treatments.

"I’m not one to be financially motivated," she said. "My sole motivation is making my clients feel their most beautiful and confident. I absolutely love what I do and feel so so blessed."

Mrs Hopkins was unable to attend the Manchester ceremony because so many of her clients wanted their make-up done before going to the Spice Girls concert in Cardiff.

She said her ambition was to work at London Fashion Week, adding: "I love making people feel their best and most confident. Every woman deserves it."