Ashely Gomila is a beauty pro with dozens years of experience, possessing an intuitive sense of where beauty and fashion meet. Ashley began her career as a budding hair stylist in New Orleans and swiftly switched gears. She is now a professional makeup artist to musicians, celebrities, models and is a contributor to cover designs and editorial shoots. Her many credits include Vogue, Vogue Italia, Zink, Fault, Maxim, Lovecat, and Galore Magazine. Currently, Ashley is working freelance in Los Angeles and holds the position as Beauty Editor of Astonish Magazine. When she is not traveling with clients or for photo shoots, Ashley divides her time between Los Angeles and New York.
How old were you when you became obsessed with make up?
I was initially inspired to become a makeup artist around the age of 9. I became enamored with the makeup for Whitney Houston in “Its Not Right But It’s Okay” music video. From that point on, I was pretty obsessed with doing makeup and trying to recreate that look. Ironically enough, last year I was hired by Whitney’s camp to recreate that makeup look for her hologram. It was a surreal experience and proved to me that everything can come full circle if you stay dedicated and put in the hard work.
When did you decide “okay, this is it, I’m going to be a professional make up artist?” Who were some of your mentors or inspirations when you got started?
Being from New Orleans, I was inspired mostly by local makeup artists Kevyn Aucoin and Glenn Mosley. Kevyn and Glenn are both iconic artist to me – they don’t settle for less than perfection. Francois Nars is another artist that has inspired me throughout my entire career. He is brilliant and bold; he really knows the industry inside and out which is key if you’re going to make it in this field.
What were the early days of your career like? Did you have to test a lot in the beginning to build your book?
I was really fortunate, I hit the ground running booking campaigns and print jobs. I didn’t even actually “test” until I moved to Los Angeles about 4 years into my career. Testing is an excellent networking tool and I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented people.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently in your journey as a make up artist? Any decisions you made when you were younger you would not make today, knowing what you have learned so far?
My hardest career decisions are usually deciding between bookings. Since my clients are mostly musicians, I have done a good amount of touring. Deciding to go on tour is always tough because leaving for such a long period alienates your existing clientele. It’s also difficult to know how and when to seek agency representation. Knowing the industry really helps a lot with all of the ‘what if’s’.
How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?
Working with high level photographers used to make me really anxious because every photographer prefers a certain type of set etiquette. They either want you on set to fly in for quick touch ups or they prefer a completely clear set. Usually when working with a new photography team, I introduce myself and I ask if there are any specific set do’s & don’ts. In the industry it’s really rare that a photographer won’t be completely upfront with their preferred working method. For me, taking just a couple minutes to figure out those details is very important.
What skills did you learn early on that you still use today?
Keep your brushes clean at all times! Do not ever skip that step, I see it happen on set by other artists and it appalls me.
Tell us what a dream job is for you?
My ultimate dream job was to do the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Ive always looked at that particular publication as a staple in American culture and being that I work with so many music artists it’s been at the top of my career goals list. The opportunity to shoot the cover came to me in November of last year when I shot with Bruce Weber for Green Day. I’m still on an amazing high from it!
Kit must haves?
My Smith Cosmetic brushes! I’m a clean-freak and the handles are anti-bacterial, so I love that about them and they stay fluffy forever. I cannot live without my Beauty Blenders either- they apply and blend foundation flawlessly. Last but not least, my Kevyn Aucoin eyelash curler. This eyelash curler is my favorite because it curves the lashes upwards instead of bending them like other curlers. It instantly changes the eye and makes the lashes so much more alluring.
What advice for young make up artists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?
Do not over apply makeup. Skin needs to breathe! “Mask makeup” is so wrong for so many reasons. A person’s true beauty is within so makeup should just be minor tools to accentuate his/her natural features.
What is your favorite quote?
Less is more! When it comes to makeup application, less is more, especially for eyebrows and foundation.