Her team has worked with such high-profile stars as the premier Bollywood Badshah himself, Shahrukh Khan, to leading ladies of the industry like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sunny Leone. But Batool doesn’t define herself as only an artist to the stars. Her specialization in bridal makeup makes for a well-rounded artist who’s able to effortlessly create magical eye-catching looks for a variety of clientele.
The Aerogram recently caught up with the glam queen herself, Kanwal Batool, to pick her brain on beauty, Bollywood, and everything in between. Read on to find out the one beauty tip she’ll never forget, which Bollywood actress’s look she finds most alluring, and how celebrities are like brides.
Where did you learn to apply makeup?
While in school, I took up jobs at MAC Cosmetics and Chanel and discovered that makeup was a great form of artistic expression, very reminiscent of the watercolor painting I did while growing up. However, not only did my opportunities at MAC and Chanel help me build my clientele, but it made me realize that makeup can’t be taught to someone — it’s truly in the hands of the artist, and when one is passionate about it, it comes naturally.
What was your inspiration to become involved in the beauty business, and how did you bring your dream to life?
I’ve had self-confidence issues my whole life, mainly because I’m the biggest critic of myself. And, while I’m not a medical doctor where I save people’s lives, I feel that in the field I’m in, I get to heal women by giving them the power of feeling great about themselves on the outside which gives a boost to their self-confidence.
What is the main objective of Kanwal Batool, the brand in a larger sense?
Kanwal Batool’s main objective is for clients to remember the beautiful experience of working with me, thus my logo: “KB EXPERIENCE.” I go above and beyond just what my job title specifies to make sure my clients are satisfied not only with the makeup but the overall finished touch.
As a freelancer, how did you go about promoting yourself?
Network, network, network! In this industry, it’s all about who you know and of course what your talent can bring to the table. I think it was a mix of my hard work, dedication and just being in the right place at the right time.
Your work has landed you key TV appearances. Can you tell us more?
I’ve had the opportunity to do beauty segments on South Asian channels as well as being interviewed as a bridal makeup artist for a very popular Punjabi show, called Shaadi Mubarak. It was a great experience that allowed me to be recognized in the South Asian community as a trusted artist.
Your experience goes beyond bridal looks — you’ve worked side-by-side with celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and many more. How did all that happen?
These opportunities came about through production companies but they definitely built my self-confidence as an artist. Working with celebrities is challenging as well as rewarding.
How does working with a celebrity differ from working with a bride?
Celebrities all have very high expectations — like brides — but what makes them different is the role they play in each film. At the end of the day, we are all working professionals who love what we do.
Describe your ideal client.
An ideal client of KB is a professional working woman who knows what she wants when it comes to her physical appearance but just needs the help of KB to achieve it.
Which Bollywood star would you love to work with if given the chance?
I would love to work with Madhuri Dixit because I grew up watching her movies. She is extremely gorgeous and maintains such a beautiful physique at her age. She has that same glow and radiance on her that she had about 10+ years ago — every woman’s dream!
What colors/looks are trending now and how can our readers replicate them with basic products to update and avoid spending a fortune on all new makeup?
I think when it comes to makeup, a little goes a long way, the only difference is how it is applied on the skin. The trends nowadays are au naturel, where the more natural the makeup appears, the greater it looks. The trick is to make it look like you have nothing on and look flawless!
As a renowned makeup artist, you’re always giving others beauty advice. What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve attended many seminars with many prominent makeup artists, where I’ve received tons and tons of tips. However, the one that I will never forget is the application of foundation. The best application is with one’s fingers for a silky application, because sponges tend to absorb foundation and it doesn’t glide on smoothly.
What do you think is the challenge when venturing into the celebrity/bridal industry as a stylist?
I think the biggest challenge is getting into the industry because most often than not, you don’t know where to begin as it’s such a large industry, so it can be extremely confusing. But never give up because networking goes a long way.
If you hadn’t gained entry in the celebrity/bridal industry, where do you think you might have taken your career as a stylist or otherwise?
I would probably be doing special effects makeup; I’ve always had an interest in that.
What’s your own personal beauty routine?
I’m so busy dolling up my beautiful clients; I have no time for myself! Honestly, I don’t wear much makeup, pretty ironic for a makeup artist, I know, but when I do it’s mostly bronzer, eyeliner and mascara. I think that’s why I have good skin, because I exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week and do a face mask every Friday night that cools my skin. I also try not to use too much products on my face mainly because of the harsh chemicals, but use products that are mostly organic.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists out there?
Don’t go into the makeup industry for the money. Do it because you are truly passionate about it and always follow your heart.
Is there any specific person you attribute your success to?
My mother has been the only one who has supported me throughout my journey of becoming an artist and has helped shaped the person I am today. When others discouraged me, she stood by me, believed in me and never doubted my ability. For all of that and more, I can only say, thank you, mom.
What’s next for Kanwal Batool?
I’m actually really excited to announce that I’m going to be starting a teaching academy for those that want to learn makeup starting from the basics to advance. You can find out more on my Facebook page!
Ashley Kooblall is a NYC-based online writer/editor whose work has been featured in YourTango, Women’s Health, and DISFunkshion Magazine. In her spare time she can be found in the nearest Barnes & Noble scoping out the latest books, preferably South Asian historical fiction. Follow her on Twitter @akooblall.