I had the pleasure of working with the extremely talented Make up artist, Servullo Mendez on an editorial recently. Based on the uniqueness of his first name alone I knew he would be sitting on my interview seat, but beyond that even before I spoke to him, he had a special and mysterious aura around him that made you want to get to know him.
This isn’t really very surprising as with his career taking him to live in some of the most exciting cities like NYC, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, he really has a tale to tell. Servullo has worked on advertising projects with commercial giants such as H & M and his artistry has graced the covers of high-readership magazines such as Glamour and Draft Magazine. He is now currently represented by Nude agency.
Here is how our interview session went-
MFSL- I have to ask, what does your name mean, Servullo?
Servullo- It’s a name entirely related to giving- that is being ‘of service’.
MFSL- You are the hair stylist for the shoot today but what comes first for you as an artist- the hair or the make up?
Servullo- The make up comes first, I can do hair when required, but I don’t consider myself a hair dresser at all.
MFSL- What sparked your interest in make up to make you want to do it as a career?
Servullo- I am fascinated by transformation and beauty. Also growing up I was inspired by the aesthetics of certain pop icons and women in general.
MFSL- Who are your pop icons?
Servullo- Well, I’m from the eighties so women like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. The eighties was a time when make up was very visible in a creative and unique way. There were no boundaries and men work make up as well, because it wasn’t about sexuality, it was a form of expression. Today things are different and I would love to come back to the make up ethos of the eighties. I would re-interpret it to make it contemporary and relevant.
MFSL- Speaking of pop icons, make up and expression- what do you think of Lady Gaga’s look? From her various videos, projects et al, it looks like she’s prone to use make up to transform and make a bold statement.
Servullo- Lady Gaga doesn’t inspire me. I think she is just the result of an amalgamation of a lot of things that have already been done. Also, I find her ugly and can’t understand why people compare her to women like Madonna and other woman from that generation.
MFSL- How about those who would argue that she is using make up to experiment and transform?
Servullo- That’s just it. I don’t think she is experimenting with beauty, taking it forward or doing it any favours as an art form. For e.g. I think Pat McGrath experiments with beauty and I think her work is amazing. Beauty and make up doesn’t have to be about putting on a lot of make up that gives you a clownish effect. I would love to see her experiment with her natural hair colour and bring out her interesting Italian and Jewish features.
MFSL- As a make up artist, do you ever look at sites like Style.com to get ideas for your work? How much do the shows inspire your work?
Servullo- Well, I can appreciate them but if I am looking at the make up of a show, that means that look has already been done, so it doesn’t inspire me. I get my inspiration from going to museums, looking at people on the street, travelling to various places. For e.g., I’ve just come back from Croatia, and I’d never been there before and just being there, seeing new faces and how they wear their clothes, hearing a different language- that’s inspiring.
MFSL- So you take a more organic approach.
Servullo- Yes, and digital technology has also made it easier for me to go back into time to see videos I loved a while ago, so I’ll go on YouTube to see Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’ video…
MFSL (gives a loud squeel) I LOVE HER, and that song. Sorry my voice went so high!
Servullo- So do I, I saw her perform live in Berlin a few weeks ago, her vocals were incredible. Watching her perform is inspiring for me and makes me remember things like the dress she wore in, ‘Girls just want to have fun., which can make me want to use flashy colour in an upcoming project. So music is a great reference point for me.
MFSL- The ‘Girls just want to have fun’ is one of my favourite videos, the part where she is bare feet, holding her red tulle underskirt and kicking her legs as she dances on the streets- her careless abandon is so special and not really seen in today’s carefully choreographed artists.
Servullo- I agree.
MFSL- What are your beauty tips?
Servullo- Lots of sleep and moisture, moisture, moisture- which can include water and moisturizer. When you live in a predominantly cold city like Berlin, moisture is especially important to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy. And I really believe the most important thing is to be happy, it makes you age differently and creates softer lines. (Laughs)
MFSL- Finally, who is your favourite model of all time?
Servullo- I like Kate Moss, but my favourite model of all time is Karen Elson.
MFSL (looking dubious) Okaaaaaaay, interesting…
Servullo- I really, really like her- she has beautiful, translucent pale skin that contrasts with her fiery, red hair. For me she is make up paradise and has a great British look. She also sings now and I saw one of her performances which was great.