RSVP Magazine

RSVP’s Women of Style: Aisling Kelly

In the latest instalment of the series,  makeup artist, Aisling Kelly talks life, career and style with RSVP’s Blathin de Paor 



Your path into the industry…

I spent a big chunk of my childhood studying the costumes and makeup of performers I saw on tv and in films. I’ve always been a creative person – makeup is just a tool for me to express my creativity through. I naturally got into practicing fun makeup looks on myself and my friends, and at the age of fifteen I really began to notice editorial looks by artists like Pat McGrath, Alex Box and Val Garland, whose work I would see in Vogue and obsess over. I started to build up a kit, and during my 5th Year in secondary school found myself working on student films and photoshoots. I then went onto study Design for Stage and Screen in IADT, where I specialise in Character/Makeup Design. I’m currently in my fourth and final year but have managed to gain some valuable contacts outside college and have built up a large body of work in beauty, fashion editorials, TV and film on the side. Coming from a design background has helped me to realise my own style of makeup, and enables me to bring my own ideas and understanding of design to the table. Once I graduate, I hope to work full time as a makeup artist and creative director for fashion and film.

Your greatest achievement…

As I’m only 21 years old, I feel the best is yet to come. I try to push myself creatively in everything I do, and my aim after everything I work on is to feel like I’ve achieved something great. 2015 has been a big year for me – my work has been recognised and published both in Ireland and internationally and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most exciting creatives in the country. As well as that, I’m now represented by an exciting creative agency (Not Another) which is a big deal for someone who is still a student. My following online has been growing recently too, and as much as I hate to use Instagram to measure success, I’m not gonna lie, seeing a photo of my work posted on the Anastasia Beverly Hills account (which has more than 6 million followers) has definitely been a highlight.




Your style…

My style continues to evolve and is difficult to define but there are certain staples that will always exist in my wardrobe. I tend to wear a lot of black, when working as well as when I go on a night out, but my trick to keep it fresh is to mix up textures. I own a lot of black micro-mesh, chiffon, leather, sequinned and wool materials. I also love wearing vintage clothing and always try to root out some vintage shops when I travel. Because of this, I have a big collection of vintage flannel shirts and lots of vintage headscarves – which I love to tie around my hair to dress up an otherwise messy bun on days where I feel like wearing my hair up. I rarely wear heels and the majority of the time I’m in trainers or Dr Marten’s. My favourite all-rounder shoes are my black patent 3-eye Dr Marten shoes, my black Adidas Superstars or my new Rihanna for Puma creepers. I often go straight from college to work to a nightclub so comfort is definitely my priority.


Your style icons…

I don’t really have any specific style icons but am very observant and often take influence from people I see on the street. I will often be walking through town and will see someone wearing an interesting outfit and will subconsciously take note of what caught my eye – whether it’s an unusual shoe/sock combination or a certain colour scheme that works well. I’m very influenced by music and often find myself dressing a certain way depending on what I was listening to as I was getting dressed. Oddly enough, as a designer, I also tend to subconsciously take inspiration from whatever I’m researching at the time. In the past I’ve found myself dressing similarly to a certain style of a person/group of people according to what project I was working on. At the moment I’m looking into the Mexican-American ‘chola’ subculture. So far, my nail extensions have gotten longer and my earrings have gotten bigger. Who knows what influence I’ll come across next.


Your favourite piece…

My favourite pieces of clothing change with the seasons, but there are certain things I wear all year round. I own a particular vintage flannel that I wear constantly. The muted colours work well with so many outfits and the material is a soft but heavy cotton that is super cosy. It’s also rare that you’ll see me without my rings on. I own four beautiful mood rings that hardly ever leave my fingers. Even though they’re now tarnished, I love them to bits and would be devastated if I ever misplaced them. I also inherited a gorgeous gold ring inlaid with two Amethyst stones which are my birth stones, on my 21st birthday this year. It belonged to my great grandmother and fits me perfectly. I only wear it on special occasions as it’s irreplaceable but it’s definitely one of my favourite pieces I own.



Your skincare routine…

I begin the day by cleansing my skin and generously massaging moisturiser into my face and neck. I then prime my skin and apply whatever makeup I’m wearing that day. At the end of the day I use a micellar water to remove makeup and then apply a night cream. I gently exfoliate my face and body three times a week and I try to do a face mask once a fortnight. The most important part of my skincare routine is, without a doubt, removing my makeup correctly at the end of the day, no matter what! I also drink a lot of water, and rarely drink fizzy or caffeinated drinks. I find that when I do, my skin suffers. Diet and skincare go hand in hand, and listening to your body’s reaction to different foods is so important.


Your favourite products…

Bioderma Sensibio Solution Micellaire for Sensitive Skin is the best. For years, you could only buy this product in France or Spain but thankfully it launched in Ireland this year. This is a makeup remover water that always leaves my skin feeling fresh. Another product I couldn’t live without is the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. I use this on my lips every day and also on small cuts – its healing powers are incredible. My favourite exfoliator is the MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and I love my Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Masque. Some of my favourite makeup products are MAC’s Skinfinish Powder in ‘Soft and Gentle’, Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, Illamasqua Precision Gel Eyeliner and DUO Adhesive Lash Glue.


Your ‘me’ time…

The nature of my career and college course means I generally work a 7-day week. I’m lucky enough to be really busy with work all the time but it means that my ‘days off’ usually become the days where I respond to and send lots of emails and catch up with laundry and other boring ‘housekeeping’. Because I’m used to being on-the-go I sometimes feel guilty if I end up alone with no work to do – so as often as can I try to meet up with a friend, go out with my boyfriend or spend time with my family. Working on sustaining the important relationships in my life is a priority and a necessity to anyone who wants to keep their sanity intact. But in the rare event that I have some relaxing time alone, I usually watch a film or read a book – usually accompanied by my cat, Biggie, and a plate of cheese and crackers.


Your hobbies…

I love listening to vinyl and have been collecting records since I was a teenager. I’m lucky enough to have inherited some rare records by some of my favourite musicians, like David Bowie and the Velvet Underground, and also collect newer genres and artists like Burial, Rodhad, Jamie XX and more. Whenever I travel I try to find record stores and look for artists who are residents in whatever country I am in. My record collection is a strange conglomeration of genres from Punk to Hip-Hop to Techno but there is definitely something for everyone and my friends and I regularly enjoy listening to each other’s records together. I love reading too and collect books on fashion, music and art as well as biographies of designers, musicians and actors I admire. As well as this, I’m a film enthusiast and try to watch a range of films – old and new – as often as possible. My favourite director at the moment is Wes Anderson.


Your favourite restaurant…

My boyfriend and I love trying out new restaurants so it’s hard for me to narrow the list to one favourite. A few that have stood out to me in Dublin are Chez Max on Palace Street, Taco Taco, almost every restaurant on South William Street (especially The South William, Metro Cafe, Pygmalion and Zaragoza) and Yamamori Izakaya on George’s Street. Crackbird, Camden Rotisserie and Neon are definitely up there too. We’re lucky to have such a great selection of gorgeous food here. Some of my favourite outside of Dublin are Out of the Blue in Dingle, The Bird in Berlin, Pizzeria Tivoli on Rue La Fayette in Paris and Hash House A Go Go in Vegas.

Your favourite holiday destination…

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot this year, and so far have been to Madrid, Berlin, Paris, London, Las Vegas, and Lanzarote as well as different parts of Kerry. My favourite place by far is Berlin. I’m a city girl at heart and this incredible city truly changed my life. The locals there are just a different kind of human – truly happy to be alive and totally free-minded and accepting of everyone. The nightlife is obviously out of this world, but the city itself is beautiful and so full of rich culture and history. I could see myself living there, for sure.


Your stress-busting tip…

Going out with my friends to places like Pygmalion, The Twisted Pepper, Hangar and District 8 is my number one escape from stress. We also regularly go to musical festivals like Longitude, Beatyard, Forbidden Fruit and Metropolis and dance our worries away. If I’ve had a particularly stressful day I love breathing in the fresh-sea air on any of the piers in Dun Laoghaire, and a walk around Marlay Park is the perfect place to clear my head.


Your style…

I love collecting artwork and try to frame as many photos, drawings, paintings and prints as possible. I also love antique mirrors and old objects and furniture in general. My ‘home style’ tends to be lots of pretty things stacked on or hanging from other pretty things. I have hundreds of books and magazines, most of which are boxed up in the attic or piled under my bed but the ones that are on display on my bookshelves tend to be about fashion, art or music. I also have a room dedicated entirely to my collection of makeup, which has been converted into a ‘studio’ of sorts and is where lots of my makeovers take place.


Your favourite piece…

I inherited an old piano from my great grandmother that stands proudly in my dining room. It’s out of tune and sounds really haunting to play but that’s why I love it. I was also given a beautiful antique mirror from my aunt, which I have leaning against the wall in my bedroom. I’m a little bit afraid of commitment when it comes to mounting heavy objects on the wall as I like to change my room around every couple of months so for now, it lives happily on the floor held up by some of my favourite books. I also have a corkboard with some of my favourite photographs of my friends and I pinned onto it, as well as train tickets, concert tickets and other keepsakes that mean a lot to me.

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