What’s Her Secret: Makeup Artist To The Stars Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury

Growing up with makeup legend Charlotte Tilbury as an aunt, Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury always knew she wanted to work in the fashion and beauty world. After school, she got a job at a Charlotte Tilbury counter and learned about her aunt’s company from the ground up. Now, the 26-year-old makeup artist is the company’s Creative Executive, a spokesperson for the brand, and an overall authority on all things beauty.

Here, we chat about her career path, she walks us through her personal beauty regimen, and gives us a peak into what products we can find in her beauty bag—we personally can’t wait to try the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, Lip Cheat, and the new Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray.

To start, could you tell our readers a bit about you and your background? 
I’m a makeup artist and Brand Ambassador for Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, and I also work in product development and content creation. I’ve been working with my aunt Charlotte for nine years now and I absolutely love it. No two days are the same! One day I’ll be shooting a campaign and dashing off to do a VIP’s makeup for a red carpet; the next I’ll be trailing a new product, like the amazing Hyaluronic Acid infused Airbrush Bronzer we just launched! I grew up in bohemian Ibiza, surrounded by artists and creatives, so I always knew I’d do something creative in fashion and beauty. It is such a magical island—everything from the colours, to the music, the food, the energy—it all feeds your creative spirit. Charlotte and I often come up with our best ideas when we’re home in Ibiza!

How did you get to where you are today? Walk us briefly through your career path. 
When I was growing up, Charlotte would come home to Ibiza with bags and bags full of makeup! She’d have been working for an amazing brand or she’d just be coming back from fashion week or an incredible shoot for Vogue, and my sister and I would always be so excited to see what new products she had.

After school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but because of Charlotte, I knew I wanted to work in fashion and beauty, so I went straight into an internship for Alice Temperley and then I worked full-time at the Charlotte Tilbury counter for two years. I learned so much! I was surrounded by all these incredibly talented and experienced makeup artists and I had to learn fast. Behind the scenes, Charlotte started asking me questions about what was selling well in-store, which products customers were asking for, and what was missing from the range. That was how I started working closely with Charlotte on product development and the brand side of things, and from there I started assisting backstage at shows, learning her techniques and assisting her on shoots.

What have been some highlights of your career thus far?
I feel like every day presents a new challenge and new highlight! When I first started out, I really suffered with anxiety, but with every live TV appearance, podcast recording, and VIP event—from creating makeup looks at the Golden Globes and Oscars, to making a celebrity feel incredible on their wedding day—my confidence grows! I feel so incredibly grateful for all the amazing opportunities and highlights I have experienced so far.

What do you love about your job? 
Working with clients before red carpet events is one of my favourite parts of my job. It’s like getting ready for a big night out with your friends! Makeup is a very intimate thing, so it is always a huge team effort with the client, the stylist, hair stylist, and all the amazing assistants.

I’m lucky enough to work with some of the world’s most beautiful women—from Olivia Palermo to Sienna Miller, Candice Swanepoel and Romee Strijd. I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but I always have so much fun with Irina Shayk. She has such an incredible sense of humour!

What’s a day-in-the-life like for you?
No two days are the same! Some days I’m up super early for a photoshoot, on others I’m flying around the world for an event—that’s the thing I love about my job! I think a lot of people are often surprised to learn how hands-on I am with product development. We have weekly meetings with Charlotte and our incredible New Product Development Team to find the most ground-breaking skincare formulas, trial products on models of every skin tone and type to ensure they work for everyone, and once we’re in love with a product, we start using them on celebrity clients. We always know we have a bestseller on our hands when VIPs are literally taking the samples out of our kits!

What sorts of challenges have you faced in this line of work and how have you dealt with them? 
When you’re working with family you definitely feel like you have a lot to prove, almost more to prove in some ways. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but they didn’t make it easy for me. I had to start where any other makeup artist would, and I had to work my way up and earn my role. I love working with my family. It’s the best part of my job and I’ve learned so much from being around my aunt, my Mum (Leah Tilbury—Charlotte Tilbury’s Director of Brand Creative) and my little sister Bella on shoots.

What’s it really like to be a makeup artist to the stars? 
Working with Charlotte is incredible. In my opinion, she is the best makeup artist in the world and has taught me everything about working with clients for big red-carpet events or backstage at a fashion show or on the set of a cover shoot. It’s the best training you can get! She always says “Give someone the right makeup and they can conquer the world!” and I can really feel that magic in everything we do! When you have someone in your makeup chair, it is all about making them feel confident and beautiful. I love that feeling of having someone sit in your chair and transforming them from one mood to another in minutes.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your aunt? 
Charlotte is a walking beauty bible! She has been working in this industry for 28 years so she’s my ultimate inspiration! Charlotte’s not just skilled with makeup, she is also a powerfully confident woman and she has taught me so much about self-belief and positive visualisation. She always tells me to reach for the stars and truly believe in myself, no matter what!

What is your personal beauty regimen? 
I spend a huge amount of time on my skincare! Charlotte always says you can’t have a beautiful painting without a beautiful canvas! I love Charlotte’s Goddess Cleansing Ritual for removing my makeup and deeply cleansing my skin; I use the Instant Magic Dry Facial Sheet Mask before makeup to flood the skin with peptides and moisture; and I never, ever skip Magic Cream! Magic Cream is the best moisturiser out there for hydrating your skin and giving you that Tilbury glow. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, Bionymph Peptide, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Camellia oil, and you can literally see results in 28 seconds!

We’ve also just launched an incredible new supercharged serum—Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, which has changed my skin and shrunk my pores! Plus, a new light-textured version of Magic Cream—Magic Cream Light. I have combination skin, so when I’m feeling oilier, I love to seal in my Magic Serum with Magic Cream Light. It has an SPF20 and Urban Pollution Defense, so it shields the skin, while also delivering lotion-like moisture with a satin-matte finish. It’s the perfect moisturizer for humid climates and summer weather!

If we were to look in your beauty bag, what would we find?
Honestly, nothing but Charlotte Tilbury products! I truly believe all our products are must-haves. I am completely obsessed with Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder—it glides on like silk and is blended with Rose Wax and Almond Oil, so it actually hydrates your skin while you wear it. Everywhere I go, makeup artists RAVE about it! It’s the one product I always slip into a celebrity’s clutch bag before a red-carpet event, and you’ll find it not just in my makeup bag but in every pocket of everything I wear! It was the inspiration for Charlotte’s incredible new Airbrush Bronzer, which creates the same, skin-perfecting, pore-blurring effect.

I’m a lip liner girl so I always have a Lip Cheat with me. I never apply lipstick without it. My favourites are Hot Gossip and Supersize Me to reshape the appearance of your lips instantly.

Then, I’m absolutely OBSESSED with Charlotte’s new Love Filter Lipstick in Mrs. Kisses. It’s the perfect peachy pink for everyday.

Magic Cream is also always in my handbag. I have a tiny little travel-sized pot that I use whenever my skin is dry—whether it is for priming my skin for a makeup tutorial or hydrating my arms and legs before a night out.

Finally, you’ll always find Magic Away Concealer in my beauty bag. It’s my skin saviour. I wear it every day. It has incredible stretch and coverage so when I’m tired it just blurs out all the imperfections and lifts your confidence straight away.

What’s next for you? 
I can’t wait to get back to creating gorgeous makeup looks and spreading Charlotte Tilbury magic all around the world! While we’ve been working from home during this time, we’ve been thinking of so many innovative ways to reach out to people. We had the beauty industry’s first ever virtual press launch for Magic Serum and followed it with the virtual launch of Airbrush Bronzer and Magic Cream Light, I’ve been working with our amazing artistry team to bring how-to’s and application tips to people on Instagram live, and all of my content has been geared towards happiness, confidence and selfcare. As we start to move forward, I hope we can all hold on to that energy and positivity—makeup and skincare is all about making you feel like you can achieve anything! When you look good, you feel good.

Tags: charlotte tilbury, interview, top story, topstory, what's her secret?

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