Interview: Elton J Fernandez, India’s Most Wanted Makeup Artist on his Personal Brand

Interview with Elton J Fernandez Makeup Artist
Photo by Rohan Hande

After leaving a 6-year corporate gig with Google, Elton J Fernandez has transformed himself into one of the most recognizable brands in the Indian beauty industry.

Awarded “Best Makeup Artist” at the Vogue Beauty Awards in Mumbai this year, and spokesperson for Maybelline in India, Elton works with some of Bollywood’s most familiar faces along with a slew of high profile clientele.

Over the years, his personal brand has built an impressive social following, with over 32K followers on Instagram hungry for his often star-studded snaps, and on YouTube, where 38K subscribers tune in regularly for his makeup tutorials.


 

Branding in Asia’s Nazhath Faheema recently talked with Elton about how he developed a star personal brand in India’s billion dollar beauty industry.


Before you worked at Google. Can you talk about the transition from a desk job to renowned makeup artist?

I don’t know how I survived the 6 years in a corporate job. I felt largely unproductive, and not at peace. Then, I stumbled upon my makeup artist friend Sachin Dakoji, who introduced me to the human canvas. I used to paint acrylic and oil as a hobby, so working with a talking canvas excited me beyond expectation. It just slowly drew me in because I started to enjoy. In any little time I had,  I would pick up a brush or paint someone’s face to see them smile with happiness.

How does one become India’s most sought after celebrity makeup artist? What is the ‘X’ factor that makes you a star brand in this field?


 

One fine day, I decided that I have had enough. I just upped and moved to Bombay with some savings in my account. A few years later, I paid off my debt and began a fantastic journey. It was filled with hopes, ambition, superstress, lots of patience and hardwork. I think it is my thirst for knowledge, my unending ambition to live an independent wholesome life that made me polish my brand along the way.

How do you stand out in an industry that is abundant with flamboyance?

I do not pay too much attention to what people think or say or expect of me. I focus on surrounding myself with people and things that inspire and motivate me. Often these things are transient and change, but I embrace the fact that change is the only real constant.

I think I am pretty flamboyant myself, but I celebrate life and my work in modest balance. I focus on making my work inspirational and aspirational.

If you were asked to create a tagline or a jingle for your personal brand, what would it be?

Replicable, Relatable, Urban & Contemporary.

Earlier this month, you posted a snap on instagram saying, “I have some incredible news in the pipeline to share with your friends and viewers”. can you tell us something about it? Perhaps, a hint?   

I have a very exciting collaboration coming up. Please do stay tuned.

Coming from the beauty industry how do you see the fanaticism in India for skin lightening?

Unnecessary. All we need do is allow for time to spin her glorious truth over us. Everything evolves. Nature fixes everything, one way or the other.

Any advice for budding makeup artists around the world?

Dream. Believe. Project. Be humble and  celebrate other people’s happiness; no matter how different from your own. Break rules and question everything.

With @aditiraohydari on set – behind the scenes today?

A photo posted by EltonJFernandez (@eltonjfernandez) on


Main photo by Rohan Hande. rohanhande.com

Nazhath Faheema

Nazhath Faheema

Nazhath Faheema is a digital branding and marketing enthusiast based in Singapore.

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