Meet The Pro Makeup Artist Changing The Way We Think About Ageing

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When I first decided to start creating makeup tutorials on YouTube one of my well-meaning friends asked: “But aren’t you too old?” It was a valid question given there are millions of young girls blogging about beauty but far fewer over 40s. Despite this I decided to go makeup free and stream my 49-year-old face online for the world to see. Given that we live in a youth-obsessed world that seems to judge beauty based on a set of unrealistic and in most cases unattainable standards it may have seemed a tad foolish. Fortunately, for me my experience has been mostly positive but I know that’s not the case for everyone. That’s why when I heard about Dove’s cool new campaign to change negative perceptions of ageing I knew I wanted to be part of it. In fact, Dove has just released a short film (below), How Old Are You? to inspire women to celebrate themselves at every age.

The film shows young girls proudly stating their age while women seem to recoil at the idea of revealing their age. Answering ‘that’ question seems to make most women feel unhappy and we want YOU to help us change that (see how below).

Someone who doesn’t let age get in the way of anything she does is professional makeup artist, Leisa Welch. Here, the 50-year-old Auckland-based makeup pro tells us why being surrounded by young beautiful women every day actually makes her feel better about ageing.


Above: Pro makeup artist Leisa Welch on the job.


How do you feel about ageing? I’d be lying if I said it was easy all the time because let’s face it it’s not. People ask me how I cope working with beautiful models every day and that’s when I realise I’m content with who I am. I guess working in this industry has also given me an insight into what goes into creating one perfect image. These images are not designed to make us feel bad, they are inspiration images. Don’t get me wrong, models are gorgeous, genetically blessed creatures who make up a tiny percentage of our population but it takes a team of creatives to bring together one perfect picture. Understanding this has made me far more content with who I am and how I look.

Do you ever compare yourself with the models you work with? God no! Maybe when I was younger but not now. It’s a waste of time wishing to be something you’re not. Besides, even the most stunning models have hang ups and insecurities – we are not alone!

What is the best thing about makeup? I love h0w makeup can transform us into anything we want to be. Makeup can make us feel a million bucks, make our confidence soar, make us feel like a superwoman.

Above: Makeup by Leisa Welch – image Leisa Welch Instagram.

How has makeup changed over the years? I’d like to say that these days makeup is far more natural than ever before but a new breed of makeup “wearer” encouraged by bloggers and Youtubers has emerged. These gorgeous young women enjoy nothing more than to have fun with makeup – no subtle makeup for them – and they go for the full face glam 24/7 and they love it. Although this isn’t my style I love that they are passionate and obsessive about makeup.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever been given? Be happy and confident – there is nothing more attractive. I also think it’s important that we understand it’s not just physical characteristics that make someone beautiful. Our role models need to be smart, confident people who are beautiful for all the right reasons.

When did you start feeling comfortable about your own looks? Hey I think it’s fair to say it’s always a work in progress. Some days while I’m doing the makeup on the skin of some stunning 18-year-old model I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and shudder. Then I remember I have a few years on her and need to give myself a break.  Surrounding myself with positive people who make me laugh is a must though.   

Above: Makeup by Leisa Welch – image Leisa Welch Instagram.

What do you think about New Zealand’s culture of beauty? Like most Western societies I think we are too obsessed with youth, however, I’m really loving seeing women in their 70’s and 80’s modelling for big fashion campaigns. I truly believe women need to be celebrated whatever their age.

What would you say to your teenage self about beauty? Wear sunscreen, enjoy your foundation free years and don’t pluck your eyebrows.


By asking women How Old Are You? Dove invites women to consider how they feel when they reveal their age and the impact this has on them every day. Watch the film here and join the conversation at #BeautyAtEveryAge #DoveNZ. Visit Dove’s Facebook page here for more information. *According to new global research conducted by Dove, only 10 percent of women are proud to reveal how old they are and will often conceal their real age. Dove is committed to a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. #BeautifulAtEveryAge

Main image: Leisa Welch with one of her many celebrity clients, supermodel Elle Macpherson.