I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves.”
Name: Gabriela Soares
Location: Waterloo Ontario
Occupation: Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist
Even as a little girl, Gabriela Soares always had a fascination with the idea that one could alter their physical appearance in ways that could make them look like a different person. She would watch in awe as her Brazilian mother changed her hair colour and her makeup style regularly. “Every time my mom would switch something up, it was like a part of her was reborn. The sense of confidence and excitement that a new lipstick, hair cut, highlights, etc. gave her has always stuck with me. I couldn’t get over how much someone could change themselves physically and how it impacted the way that they felt inside,” she says.
With this cosmetic fascination always looming in her mind, Gabriela naturally gravitated towards a love of barbie dolls:
"I was absolutely fascinated by barbies! So much so, in fact, that I now have a tattoo of one on my arm. How did Latina barbie look so different then blonde barbie when all that was changed was her hair and makeup? The same features on the same body, yet, a different barbie altogether. It’s kind of funny because I see the models that I work with and the clients that I have as my grown up barbie dolls and somehow I have the privilege to be able to change them into different and beautiful versions of themselves."
After completing a degree at the University of Waterloo, and finding herself rather bored and unmotivated, she enrolled in a makeup artistry program taught at Audrey Wilson’s Gemini Modelling Agency and never looked back.
"Gemini gave me the most wonderful introduction into the world of fashion shows, commercial print work, makeup, hair, etc. The makeup course that I took, taught by the amazing Sarah Davidson, awoke an incredible passion in me. I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves."
Following Gemini’s program, Gabriela enrolled and completed the challenging “Comprehensive Makeup Artist Program” at Complections International School of Makeup Artistry in the heart of downtown Toronto. From there, she was signed to Judy Inc. agency as a makeup and hair artist and immediately started working in the film, television and fashion industry.
"Those next few years were just incredible. I found myself in so many different and interesting places all of the time. One day I would be doing makeup for a music video for Nelly Furtado, the next day I was on set styling models for a Sears catalogue, then I was on a plane to Jamaica for a magazine shoot. Everyday was different and so very exciting! As my business grew, I learned so much and picked up more and more tools to add to my beauty toolbox".
Having met the love of her life and feeling the need to move back to Waterloo and settle down, Gabriela decided to attend Gina’s College of Hairstyling, get her hairstylist diploma and work in a more stable environment.
"Hairstyling is a whole other beast to battle. Having seven years of makeup industry experience under my belt, going back to school and starting a career from scratch was incredibly challenging. I am proud to say that I did it and had a lot of great experiences while doing it!"
Gabriela Soares is now working as a part-time film, television, commercial and fashion makeup artist and as a stylist at the prestigious So Chiq Salon in Waterloo.
"My life has really never been better and I have never felt happier. I love going into the salon, being surrounded by so many talented stylists and creating such incredible relationships with my clients. I love giving them confidence to try new things and change up their looks. I am constantly challenged and because of that, I learn and grow everyday".
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski