Limerick make-up artist transforms into celebrities

Make-up artist Maria Malone-Guerbaa transforming herself into Freddie Mercury
A LIMERICK-BORN make-up artist is making headlines around the world for her ability to transform herself into any celebrity - through the deft use of her make-up brush.

A LIMERICK-BORN make-up artist is making headlines around the world for her ability to transform herself into any celebrity - through the deft use of her make-up brush.

From Nelson Mandela to Wayne Rooney and Angelina Jolie, make-up artist Maria Malone-Guerbaa has taken face painting to a whole new level.

Pictures of her artwork quickly went viral on Facebook and her work has attracted the attention of the International Make Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS), who invited her to be a guest speaker this summer.

The 40-year-old Limerick native, who now lives in London with her husband Billy and their two children, does not rely on any prosthetic materials and only uses paint to create her ‘faces.’

“I wanted to see how far I could get being an illusionist without using prosthetics, so I got a kick when I went to do face painting and someone asked if the nose was glued on,” she says.

“And I could say no it’s all paint, and then people asked for tutorial so then I started doing those. That made it even more popular because people could see that I was just drawing it on.”

After finishing school she applied to Limerick College of Art, but turned down her place. “I felt at the time that there wasn’t anywhere for me to go with what I wanted to do, I didn’t want to be a standard artist. I loved special effects, particularly body and face art.

“I went to find out about it, but there was literally nowhere in Limerick or Ireland that specialized in that kind up of make-up art.”

She moved to London, where she met her husband three weeks later. They opened a cafe in the city and eventually had two children. When she turned 33 she enrolled in Christine Blundell’s make-up academy, based in Camden.

Word of her talents spread and she was soon working on BBC’s “Switch” and Channel Four production “Horrible Histories.”

“I had to do the make up for one of Henry VIII’s wives, Katherine Howard. It was after she was beheaded so I had to make her look like she was dead, and as though she has been decapitated.”

“The famous faces are my favorite because they’ve made me very popular. They went viral on Facebook which was a shock. People were messaging me from around the world; it was mad.

“Then the make-up world and face painting world started talking to me, and people in Miami called the World Face and Body Painting Association,” she said.

“Morgan Freeman and Elvis went viral and then I decided to do more and more famous faces. They take me about four hours to do as they are very detailed, and I literally use the smallest brush – an eyeliner brush”.