Content created in partnership with Honest rum
Kiekie Stanners is one of the most recognisable and influential names in the local fashion industry. For more than a decade she has worked closely with brands such as Kate Sylvester and Zambesi, designing the makeup directions for their campaigns and runway shows; travelled overseas (in the before times) to work on international fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and New York; and worked with incredible wāhine from Lorde to Parris Goebel on internationally acclaimed fashion editorials. Her most recent work was with the faces (and bodies) of the Royal NZ Ballet in a campaign collaboration with M.A.C.
Finding beauty in the everyday is key to Kiekie’s career success, and she seeks inspiration in music, culture and drinks with friends.
You have a long and successful career in the beauty industry, but when and where did your love of beauty and makeup begin?
My love of beauty started with video clips, especially anything ‘80s when I was young - like any Prince video that featured one of his female muses. I remember asking my mum to give me some kohl eyeliner flicks, and became a little bit obsessed with how cool I felt when I first wore eyeliner.
You’ve painted the faces of so many people, but what about your own - what are some of your favourite products?
I hate to admit it but my own beauty routine takes a backseat to my job, but I will always try and wear-test new products and skincare on myself to ensure I have a genuine understanding of the formulation.
Currently some of my favourite products are the M.A.C Lightful C+ Coral Grass Softening Lotion Spray. I drenched my face in this lotion multiple times a day during lockdowns and my skin has never looked more loved or radiant. I’ve recently fallen in love with Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base as a hydrating primer – it’s silky to touch so foundation sits incredibly smooth on the skin. Of course as a makeup artist I will forever swear by the original micellar water BioDerma Sensibio for removing my makeup at the end of the day, and I carry Caudalie Beauty Elixir in my handbag as the scent reminds me of being in Paris.
How would you describe your relationship with fashion, and what do you love most about it?
I have forever been obsessed with fashion and styling - ever since I was very young I was particularly fussy about how I was dressed. I was a total brat to my mum, having to change my outfit multiple times a day if it didn’t ‘feel’ right.
Fashion gets a bad rep, it can be seen as something that is frivolous or elitist but I think it’s totally the opposite. It’s a way to present yourself and your own personal styling statement. I love how fashion makes you feel something, that’s the whole point right? It’s empowering the same way as wearing a red lip.
You’ve also worked closely with pretty much every New Zealand fashion brand. How would you describe your style, and how you ‘get dressed’ each day?
I’ve always been a huge advocate for NZ fashion, and would always try and only wear NZ designers when overseas.
I guess my personal style could be described as glam, and a bit rock ‘n’roll. I was wearing black long before I was a makeup artist, but obviously it became my uniform for multiple years at M.A.C Cosmetics.
I have definitely got a lot more casual in my everyday style since lockdowns, but I’m not mad at that.
What’s your favourite beauty ‘trend’ for winter?
I am totally embracing the idea of ‘blurred beauty’. I desperately feel that with winter approaching, the overall mood is one of needing to hibernate and slow down. So to follow that same mood, I am loving to wear a softer, more delicate style of beauty. Anything harsh, heavy, or aggressive doesn’t feel right this season, and who has the energy to execute full perfection with makeup at the moment?
Blurred beauty speaks to the idea of lips that have a diffused lip line in soft romantic shades, blush that sits seamlessly on the cheeks (and doesn’t look like applied makeup) and a wash of shadow over the eyes in a monochromatic tone.
For the first time ever I am also strangely drawn to pinks and peaches, especially the range of Powder Kiss products from M.A.C in lipsticks and eyeshadows.
What do you think is unique about makeup artistry as a creative expression?
I am inherently creative, and makeup is just one of those outlets. I love to see beauty in everything that I do, so being a makeup artist is an ideal outlet to really bring ‘beauty’ to life on every face I work on. This doesn’t always mean a whole lot of makeup - it’s training your eye to see details and bring magic to every face you work on.
On top of that, you are working on a real canvas - the connection that you must bring to your client to make them feel their best is part of the process too. A makeup artist is only as good as the energy they bring to their clients.
You’re a big music fan. How does music influence your work?
Music and culture are probably the single biggest influences on my creative direction, but also the most powerful motivator. If I’m working on runway show direction, I have to know the soundtrack as it plays such an important part in the storytelling and helps me understand the character I’m creating.
But also, on those days when your schedule is getting tough, you need a little help from a pumping soundtrack to keep your creative energy up to know you are executing your best work at all times.
What are you into lately?
My Spotify playlist has been as eclectic as trying to navigate the ups and downs of the last year. I’ve swung dramatically into a nostalgic soundtrack of Motley Crue/Prince, listened to lots of soothing soul like Stevie Wonder/Donna Summer, then come back to some new Jorja Smith to chill out to.
What’s the best concert you’ve attended?
I’ve always had a rule that no matter what your life circumstance at the time, you should always find the money and time to get to concerts.
Never did I think I’d see Axl, Slash and Duff get back together for a Guns N’ Roses tour at Western Springs Stadium so that was absolutely my teenage dream come to life. Seeing Robert Plant play at the Rose Bowl in L.A was super cool, as was sneaking backstage at the previous GNR NZ tour to eat cheese with Axl Rose.
Most recently I saw Teeks perform in the beautiful Hokianga and that was one of the most magic, electric experiences ever.
How do you like to serve drinks to guests when you’re entertaining? Do you do pre-dinner cocktails, try and match the meal or play by your own rules?
I will be honest, I am an entertainer but most definitely not a chef. I much prefer to mix drinks for guests with a platter, as opposed to the pressure of cooking. So early-evening, easy cocktails are definitely how I entertain friends. And absolutely by my own rules - I always hope that my friends enjoy spirit mixers as much as I do!
How did you discover Honest rum?
I discovered Honest through a friend and was instantly attracted to the beautiful design of the bottle. I first tried it straight on the rocks, and it is such an easy rum to drink clean - dangerously so. It has been my autumn evening drink ever since.
What memories do you associate with rum?
I have some great, hazy memories of nights out, drinking *cheap* rum and cokes up at the old Naval & Family bar that used to be on Karangahape Road, watching my favourite rock ‘n’ roll bands of that time. I think I may have seen The White Stripes up there on one of these nights, and just the smell of a rum and coke reminds me of that era, and the dark dingy interior of that bar.
What’s your favourite way to drink Honest rum?
I love a Dark and Stormy cocktail, and Honest rum is perfect mixed with ginger beer. Lots of ice, 1 part Honest Rum with 2 parts Phoenix Ginger Beer and a splash of lime. I know the addition of lime is a crime to some people, but I love it.
Content created in partnership with Honest rum