The Illamafia

DIMUAA Student Winner Lea’s Time at Illamasqua

The Distinction In Make-up Artistry Awards – Student Winner Lea Toussaint on her two-week internship

After I graduated from my make-up school in Paris I felt like I needed to challenge myself and go further with my newly acquired knowledge and skills. When I received an email from Illamasqua saying that the Distinction In Make Up Artistry Awards 2014 applications were open, I saw a great opportunity and thought, Let’s do it!

Three months after I had put in my application, I received an email saying that I had been selected as a Finalist in the student category! The next thing I knew I was here in London ready to do a live makeover in front of an audience, including top judges (Alex Box, Julian Kynaston, Jayne Demuro and Julie Dartnal) who inspired me during my school years. Needless to say I was pretty nervous but this was a truly amazing experience. A week after the live competition I got a call from Spob (Illamasqua’s Head of Professional development) telling me that I had won – Wooo! Spob informed me of my prize, £1,000 in cash, £250 worth of Illamasqua make-up and a two-week internship at the Illamasqua Head Office.

The winning look:

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The two-week internship at Illamasqua HQ was my chance to see how everything works – from the creation of a collection to the actual launch.

Part of my internship involved working within each of the different departments. One of them being events, with Josephine O’Brien (Events Manager), together we attended an exclusive launch event at Selfridges, Oxford Street. I helped Josephine set-up drinks and nibbles to offer to customers and I helped prep the model for the live demonstration. The live demo was done using the new ‘To Be Alive’ collection products that are a perfect mix of blue tones and aquatic reflections. I love how the eye palette offers different textures.

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I also got to spend a day in the Illamasqua Flagship store on Beak Street in London as a make-up artist. This was a first for me as there are no Illamasqua stores in France at the moment. The store was amazing, everything is so sleek and glamorous: the team, the window displays and the products! I also got to be a model for the Educator at the school, Tonee Roberio, who was teaching a cut crease class. Tonee is amazing and talented, he sat me down picked up his brush and was done three minutes later (I’m not even kidding!). Overall this day was really interesting as I got to see what Illamasqua’s Colour Creatives do every day and how they use all the products. I also picked up a few tricks on the way!

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I spent a couple of days with the Visual Merchandising team preparing the stores for the To Be Alive launch. I painted masks for the new stand and then helped with shipping the equipment needed to launch the collection.


I also participated in sending gifts to bloggers with PR and tweeted with the social media team.

For the last two days I was back working with Josephine again. We headed back to Selfridges Oxford Street but this time to prep an entire team of dancers for the Selfridges ‘Work It’ launch event.  The make up was all about the 90’s with strong brows with ombre or glamorous red lips. That was a lot of fun! The Illamasqua team are funny and talented and I’m glad I got to work with them!

To top the week off I had the chance to meet Alex Box for the second time. Alex’s work has been such an inspiration for me and she surprised me with an awesome trophy! I felt a little bit embarrassed and shy, I mean you don’t meet one of your top 3 favourite make-up artists every day!


These two weeks have really been great as I discovered a city, a brand and a fabulous team! I just want to thank everybody who has been working with me and Josephine who took care of me and made me feel home!

Thank you Illamasqua!

Lea xxx

Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert