It is not an everyday occurrence that one gets to meet …and pick the mind of a world renowned makeup artist. CIIN had the utmost pleasure of meeting and sitting for an exclusive interview with famed Lebanese makeup artist Fady Kataya, on the occasion of launching his first book; Papier De Poudre in Amman. Immaculately dressed in a white shirt and black denim pants, with a SEP Jordan shawl draped over his shoulders, Kataya is not what you’d expect out of a famous makeup artist. Down to earth, calm and with his smile at the ready, Kataya had the patience to sit with everyone and answer their questions while posing to take pics and selfies with everyone present.
Papier De Poudre is a long overdue dream of Kataya’s and a culmination of eight years of hard work and perseverance as Kataya narrates the history of makeup from the early rise of civilisation until today. The name Papier De Poudre is inspired by the face powder; the one beauty product that was used at the beginning of the Twentieth century and was able to transcend the times and is still in use by makeup experts till this day. Kataya was able to transfer his rich history and experience in theatre and costume design onto the pages of this stunning portrayal of the history of makeup through a series of photographs depicting different eras across time. The book also includes invaluable advice and a bilingual tutorial yet it is not simply a book about makeup; it is a masterpiece in culture, beauty, fashion and the visual photographic arts.
The book also includes a forward that is dedicated to the late Yehya Saade, the genius director and Kataya’s longtime friend who passed away tragically in 2010. Kataya describes Saade as his “companion on the creative journey, his source of inspiration, and the mastermind behind all his artistic work”. We had the honour of chatting with Kataya about his book among many other things….
1 || We know everything about Fady Kataya and we have been following your successes closely but we would like to go back to the very beginning…what made you go into this field?
I have been interested in makeup since I was very young; I’ve always had the ambition to work in television and cinema…I always thought I would be doing photoshoots, yet unfortunately the Arab world didn’t offer much of what I wanted back then, and thankfully life took me along the path that was intended for me I guess. I started working with great celebrities at the very beginning of my career and this exposure was the much needed push for me.
2 || You were still able to fulfil your dream of doing photoshoots…what can you tell us about that?
Yes they were an important part of my growth. I was very experimental with the makeup looks I applied and my bravery is what sets me apart from other makeup artists. I was able to showcase my makeup artistry in photoshoots such as music videos and photography.
3 || What was the main message behind your book?
I wanted the women to know that they can transform themselves into any look that they fancied and not be caged in by the norms of our society. I also want women to know that they can utilise makeup to feel more confident and to step out of their comfort zones by experimenting with different looks without having to resort to major plastic surgery.
4 || If a women insists on changing one thing …what would you tell her?
I am not against plastic surgery but I am against going overboard with it as some women do these days. I know women want to look their best and it’s ok to want to fix any obvious facial problems but makeup can also help you do all that. But please don’t go to a plastic surgeon and request that you be changed to resemble a certain celebrity….this a major no no!
5 || Yehya Saade was an obvious influence and inspiration for you please tell us more about him.
I met Yehya when we were both still young and we were working on a play together; we became very close. We had a lot in common; I loved doing makeup and creating beautiful looks and he loved directing and also creating beautiful moments. We had this beautiful synergy and telepathy if you like. Later on we met David Abdullah the photographer and we started working together as a team to create new and inventive things.
6 || The book covers historical periods and countless wonderful images…do you have any favourite parts?
Whenever I open the book I fall in love with it all over again. It is not your average step-by-step makeup book…it is ART. The beautiful marriage of art, design, photography and fashion makes it very hard for me to choose a favourite era or even an image. Every page feels like a child to me…
7 || Did you face any obstacles during the making of the book?
Yes, and that’s why it took me this long to launch. Finding the right faces for the historical eras was challenging, it was also difficult to find the right person for the job, whether in terms of writing, designing and layout ..until I settled on Yehya’s siblings. Over the World; their Dubai-based company came to my rescue…
8 || You come here a lot for workshops and such, what do think of the Jordanian audience?
I always feel right at home here; people here always make me feel so welcome. It truly feels like my second home…
9 || What would you like to leave as a legacy?
You know people always tell me that I am down to earth, and many times upon meeting me people are shocked to learn that I am Fady Kataya…they expect to find an older guy with an attitude. My answer to those people is that at the end of the day I am a normal person doing the thing that I love and I am thankful and grateful to have gotten to where I am today.
10 || One piece of advice for women?
I want to tell them you are beautiful, love yourselves, and have confidence in yourselves. Aim to love yourselves first before attempting to make people love and appreciate you.
11 || What’s next for Fady Kataya?
We are now working on establishing an academy; I am deeply invested in properly mentoring up and coming makeup artists. We have a new branch of my salon opening in Muscat Oman in November; this will be our first branch in the Arab world.
12 || What’s your favourite makeup tip?
Don’t overdo it first and foremost….less is more….. Secondly, there are no makeup rules; I always tell my students that there are no musts in makeup. Eyeliner can be easily skipped, your eyelashes do not have to be super long, or your eyebrows super thick. Each woman is different and unique and what works for you does not necessarily work for anyone else …Don’t be afraid to show your true colors …and try to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.