Malia Thompson is a makeup artist from Beverly Hills, California where she lives with her two adorable Bengal kittens and boyfriend Tom.
As a freelance artist and educator for luxury brands she loves to travel and recently, feeling the need for some creative inspiration she decided to take off for Paris where makeup is a way of life!
France has had a love affair with makeup for centuries – in the days of Louis XIV, the Sun King, men and women wore a heavy white makeup consisting of mercury, lead, egg whites, and vinegar. It was not a good brand – the mercury was poisonous and caused scars and blemishes and to hide them small shaped patches of black velvet were applied – diamonds, stars and moons – known as beauty spots. It is said that puppy urine would be rubbed vigorously to whiten the teeth – certainly not to freshen the breath though, and bloodletting using leeches was a regular beauty treatment to improve health and the complexion.
Luckily for Malia, she had a good friend in Paris already, Elo de Guglielmo of Moshi Moshi studios, who happily put her up and introduced her to Parisian life with style.
Malia’s skills were much in demand and whilst in Paris she couldn’t resist getting involved in the world of fashion and make up. Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture and Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2013-14. Runways for Tsumori Chisato, JC de Castelbajac, Claudine Ivari, Rue du Mail (Martine Sitbon), and Béatrice de Mulder Ferrant. Malia enthuses “I got to do makeup on Jessica Stam (the Marc Jacobs Stam Bag is named after her) for the Rue du Mail show!”
We asked her how working in two great cities compares – LA versus Paris: “Working in Paris was totally different! At home in LA, I work more on web, TV, red carpet/event, FX/character, movies, brand education and bridal. I’ve never worked on runway/high fashion…it was a different world and wow was it fast paced!”
What about women in LA versus women in Paris – how do they compare? “Women in Paris have a very different attitude towards beauty than we do in the states. In the US, the looks are more dramatic. We definitely use more color products. The Parisiennes can’t be bothered…they throw on a fabulous coat and handbag, toss their hair in a top-knot and add some mascara. They are classic and modern at the same time…it really seems effortless for them”.
After six months in Paris, Malia travelled on to London but not before she got to witness the awakening of spring in Paris. A visa delay meant she had to stay on but she says she didn’t mind at all since “I got to see Paris wake up from winter. I don’t get to see much season change in Southern California, so it was absolutely breath-taking to watch spring unfold. I couldn’t ask for a prettier setting than Paris in the spring time…”
Malia told us that she misses Paris every single day. “I’m not joking when I say I cried when I left. I love that city with all my heart and soul. I made a promise to myself to find a way to get back there a few months a year; it’s my focus right now. It’s so strange, because I grew up having this love affair with London and I’ve travelled here many times. I originally just went to Paris for a change of scenery and to try learning another language. I had a friend there, so it made sense. But, I fell head-over-heels in love and as I sit here in London, now, I just pine for my beautiful City of Lights“.
Malia says her friends in Paris are all creative types and they showed her a side of the city many people might not ever get to see. She was invited to openings and gallery parties and introduced to artists and Parisians in the fashion world. One of her contacts got her into Fashion Week and the Mr. Bones Charity opening at the Kiehl’s boutique in Bastille. Amèlie du Petit Thouars invited her to stay at her family’s beautiful Chateau and taste wine. She spent time in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Champagne, Brittany and Normandy and enthuses “I felt welcomed from day one. Paris couldn’t have better ambassadors than these wonderful friends…”
It was also an opportunity to experiment with different brands and we asked Malia what were her favourites and she doesn’t hesitate: “Caudelie, YSL, Nuxe, Guerlain, T. LeClerc, Makeup Forever, Kure Bazaar, Studio 78 Paris and Paul & Joe. Also, the Serge Lutens Boutique is not to be missed! A stunningly beautiful shop with a great display and lovely fragrances and makeup” (find it at the Jardins du Palais Royale arcade
Malia says she will be back, first of all she loved the people and says “Paris gets a bad rap as a rude city, it’s totally not true. Parisians are fun, friendly and really inclusive. Second, the architecture. Paris has the most beautiful, timeless bones. There is always some new little detail to notice”
We were pretty sure we knew the answer to our next question as to whether Malia would return to Paris and we’re not surprised when she says “Oh, yes!! There is no doubt in my mind that I’ve found a second home. I will actually be back for one week in August. It will be heart-breaking to finally go back to LA, but I know Paris will make a little place for me anytime I’m ready. The sooner, the better!”
Malia blogs at MUA in Paris