We caught up with Cătălina Hotin, a beauty guru known for her unconventional makeup looks. Cătălina spoke to RM about where she pulls inspiration from, her favorite looks, and what products she loves. She’s a beauty force to be reckoned with; a brilliant mind articulated in one of the most expressive ways, through makeup.

Iuliana: Hey Cătălina! How are you? Excided to interview you today! Let’s start off by telling our readers about yourself.
Hello, I’m just trying to survive this pandemic, what about you?
My name is Cătălina and I’m from Eastern Europe, I love playing with makeup, taking pictures and posting them on my Instagram so I can look back at them just like in a diary, every day is a new chance for me to express my creativity, to play with color and to enjoy this process.

Iuliana: What originally inspired your passion for makeup? What was the turning point in your life when you decided to be a makeup artist?
I was initially drawn to makeup from a very young age because I was always in love with drawing and reproducing images that I would see in cartoons on TV/books. It started with a tiny red lipstick when I was about 4-5 years old and blue eyeshadow stolen from my mom’s makeup bag, it continued throughout middle school and high school but without actually wearing makeup outside that much. I would experiment with eyeshadow and re-create make up tutorials I would see on YouTube in the golden days when we had Michelle Phan, Panacea81 and Petrilude. It wasn’t until two years ago when I really started to ask myself what I want from makeup, I was finding myself stuck in a place of doing the same eyeshadow look every single day and feeling like I wasn’t using and taking advantage of my collection. I spent so much money on makeup that I wasn’t actually using, it felt very strange. During that time, I would also see so many incredible and creative artists on Instagram posting their makeup looks and I believe that was the driving factor of me starting to do the same thing. This was definitely the turning point in my creative journey, the fact that I started posting on Instagram has allowed me to try so many new things that I never thought I would. I wouldn’t call myself a makeup artist because I’m definitely not professionally trained and I mostly do makeup on myself rather than on other people. I feel like I haven’t had enough to be able to own this title.

Iuliana: Do you have a favorite brand that dominates your makeup kit?
I try to look at makeup more as colors, textures and not as much as brand specific. What dominates my collection is a lot of color, specifically face paints and colorful eyeshadows, they allow me to create whatever I have going on in my mind. When it comes to face makeup I like to wear and work with a lot of cream products because I have dry skin, Milk Makeup is a great brand to go for if you are into cream blushes and dewy skin.

Iuliana: Say you could only use 3 items/products for a job. What would those be? What few things could you create a whole look with and be happy with the results?
Depending on the job I think you are more inclined to gravitate towards a certain color combination/scheme. The MUFE Flash Palette is a product you can carry around and do so much with, you can mix blush/contour shades and even foundation. It can also be used as cream shadow or eyeliner. If you use a cream product that means you will need to set it with powder so I would probably get a translucent powder like the RCMA one even though I’m not a big fan of powder/baking for myself. The third product would be mascara, no amount of fake lashes can ever compare to mascara to me.

Iuliana: What have been some highlights of your makeup journey?
I think one highlight is the journey in itself, being able to look back at my posts and see how I have evolved in the past year and a half, seeing how I moved on from a certain makeup technique to another and how I have experimented with different mediums and textures. Another highlight has been being featured on the Allure website and seeing the constant love and support from my Instagram community.

Iuliana: Where do you get your inspiration from? Any particular artists that have influenced you?
I think inspiration comes from literally everything that surrounds you, to me what works very well are color combinations I see both in nature or in physical/digital paintings.
Val Garland, Erin Parsons, Alex Box, Lisa Eldridge and Violette are some of my favorite makeup artists. I know I can always look back at their work and be certain that something will inspired me. I respect all these women so much for how fierce and hardworking they are and for how they were able to create so many memorable and iconic makeup looks over the years, they all have a slightly different approach to makeup and something unique that makes them so special in my eyes.

Iuliana: Tell us about your creative process.
I like to sit down at my desk and produce a simple makeup look, take pictures of it and then build on top of it to make it as different as I possibly can from the first look. I take pictures of it again once I am done. I just like to keep challenging myself to transform my makeup looks, to add or wipe off but never truly start from scratch. I find it so beautiful to know that I am building on top of something as opposed to cleansing my face and starting all over again. This has allowed be to grow and understand that a makeup look can be very simple but it can be the initial step and the foundation of a complex piece of artwork later on. Simple makeup is the hardest to do because you truly embrace yourself and your facial features, you enhance your beauty and you’re happy with the way you look.

Iuliana: How would you describe your aesthetic? What is your signature look and what sets you apart from other makeup artists?
Even though my makeup looks are pretty different, I feel like they all have this underlying theme of glowing skin, glossy lips, fluffy brows and a very bold eye makeup with graphic liner or colorful lashes.
A while ago I used to do more full face painting looks and I would like to go back to that at some point. My signature look for Instagram always changes so I don’t think I can give a concrete answer to that, but for every day makeup I think I would stick to glossy skin and lips, a lot of lipliner, a lot of blush and mascara/maybe some simple eyeliner.

Iuliana: From your point of view, what do you think are some of the keys to being a successful makeup artist?
I think just with anything in life, you have to keep pushing yourself to break your own boundaries, to break your shell and be free to express yourself the way you’ve always wanted to. Always be nice and considerate to other people, do good whenever you can and support others, if you are inspired by someone to create something or you reproduce a makeup, you always have to credit them! The love you give to other people and other artists is the love you will always get back. You respect yourself in your field by understanding and respecting the work of the people around you. What you do and create is the product of everyone around you and I think it’s very important to understand that even though makeup on yourself can be very isolating, it’s actually a way for you to start a conversation and learn more, not only about yourself but about other people that see makeup in the same way that you do.

Iuliana: What advice would you give to someone at the beginning of their makeup career?
Never feel scared to try something!
Never tell yourself that you can’t wear a certain makeup look!
Never believe that you can’t wear eyeliner or eyeshadow because some employee told you it doesn’t fit your face!
Embrace your beautiful features and use makeup to enhance and celebrate who you are, you do this for yourself and no one else.
When it comes to doing makeup on other people I think it’s a similar approach, it’s very important to make your client feel comfortable while at the same time finding a balance between that and your creative nature.
You do not need every single makeup item out there. You can always mix and adapt/use try products in a multipurpose way. Think of makeup as colors and finishes rather than brands and promotion.

Follow Cătălina on Instagram here.

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