Athena Paginton 25 London
Categories: Make-up Artist

Posted: 7th November 2017

Athena Paginton is part of the new-wave cohort of visionary make up artists in London, along with the likes of Isamaya Ffrench, who are elevating the craft of make-up and stopping us all in our tracks. After all, who said make-up had to be about making something pretty or palatable?

From the ghoulish to the absurdist via the surreal and extra-terrestrial, Athena is using the human body as a canvas for experimentation, transformation, mutation, expression and defiance- and, challenging all our misinformed preconceptions of what a make-up artist should be. Athena is an accomplished illustrator too, a skill that’s easily visible in her more intricate work- a flame-licked face, a rainbow glitter mask and even- a human lizard hybrid-look. Her experimentation began at school when she started using peers as canvases in art class, and the obsession stuck.

Athena’s work is firm two-fingers up at the boring, standardised beauty ideals perpetuated by dull campaigns and staid beauty imagery that we’re all still being force feed (how, it’s 2017?!). Closer to theatre than your local make-up counter, Athena’s ability to transmute her subjects has us, and the fashion industry, firmly under her spell.

At 25 she’s already done cover work for Wonderland Magazine, where she was tasked with shooting Hollie May Saker in Spain in less than 24 hours. Athena’s also worked her sorcery for Dazed, Buffalo magazine and Wallpaper Magazine. Most recently Athena worked on her first beauty campaign- the ground-breaking ASOS Go Play campaign, starring, amongst others, Instagram star Jazelle AKA @uglyworldwide who for some many people optimises progress within the beauty industry. Jazelle is one of the many alt Instagram stars who’ve amassed mega followings for their refusal to comply with beauty norms- her shaved head and eyebrows, braces and androgynous looks mean she’s an apt beauty icon for this generation, and perfect model for artists like Athena.

Beyond her work as a beauty-artist, Athena is also spreading the message that beauty can be pain free. A passionate animal rights activist, Athena’s entire make up-kit is entirely cruelty free and she uses her social media to spread the good word, as well as share her own work.

In and around all of those commitments, Athena has also managed to establish Weathergurlz, ​an​ ​art-direction​ ​company​ with photographer​ ​Michèle​ ​Côté.​ It’s a project that ​focuses​ ​on​ maintaining ​high standards health​ ​and​ ​wellbeing within​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​industries. The duo also curate “The Forecast” a monthly podcast, bi-annual​ ​Weathergurlz​ ​zine,​ ​and wellbeing​ ​workshops. It’s not only Athena’s prolific creative output that’s inspiring, it’s also that all of her work is skewered by the desire to make the creative industries a more inclusive, more positive place.

Tell us about yourself and what you do: I am a Make-up Artist/Illustrator, and I am campaigning for animal rights!Where does your interest in beauty and make-up stem from? My interest in make-up began in school when I started painting onto my peers instead of paper!What kind of topics inspire your work? My work is heavily influenced by activism and using my platform to raise awareness for those who don’t have a voice. It is very important for me to take responsibility of my privilege and use it to the best of my ability in order to help others. Topics that I talk about varies from animal cruelty, mental health, equality, race, gender, sexuality and environmental issues.How does living in London influence you as a creative? Living in London helps influence me as I know that when I have an idea, within a short matter of time, it will become a reality. Thoughts turn into actions! Being in London means you are surrounded by like-minded people, along with the space and opportunity to create.What's in your personal beauty bag? Eyelash curlers and brow gel!What was your first magazine cover? Wonderland - for their 10th Anniversary Issue with Hollie-May Saker. We flew out to Spain and shot 24 images, the cover, we didn’t sleep... and flew back the next day after shooting the sun rising!Tell us about the Weather Gurlz... Weathergurlz is an art-direction company I co-own with photographer Michèle Côté. Our approach focuses on health and wellbeing within the creative industries, allowing every client to experience the highest level of care. We believe that supporting one another is necessary, as a result we have built a safe space within the industry for creatives to explore their potential, and share knowledge on the different platforms we hold. Including: ‘The Forecast’ a monthly podcast, in which we talk about topical issues. Bi-annual Weathergurlz zine, and Wellbeing workshops.What would be your dream collab? Pamela Anderson. She is my one and only collab, and she will continue to be my only answer to this question until it manifests! She’s an intelligent, courageous, woman who is fighting for animal rights, she inspires me daily to keep doing what I’m doing and working hard toward changing laws against animal cruelty.What’s keeping you busy right now?I’m currently working on a very big top secret project with one of my best friends - Sam Carder. All I can tell you is that it’s regarding animal cruelty, and it’s a topic that has moved us in a way we didn’t know it would, we are extremely emotionally connected and involved and I am doing all I can to put my very best into this project! Watch this space!!!How would your friends describe you in a sentence? I asked my best friend Brad, and he said: If Athena had no arms, she’d still give you a hand. What's the first thing you do when you get up? Eat my weight in oats.When are you happiest? When I’m present, surrounded by my best friends, having a lol, and creating!Who do you admire? Anybody who is able to allow themselves to be vulnerable.What’s your best advice? Live your truth, own your truth.What could you not live without?Dogs. Gosh their tiny teeth just keep me living... good lord Book club recommendation? A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle.Song to be playing as you enter the club? Mary J Blige - Family AffairTime you laughed the hardest? Any moment I’m with my sister, Ffrench!! All we do is lol. She makes me laugh like no other!!! Couple of times... I’ve actually wet myself.What's your signature dish? My vegan sweet potato satay and citrus home-made curry! Though I make a pretty mean pho too.One item of clothing that best sums you up? My bright orange Von Dutch vest.Biggest lie you were told/that you told as a kid?That being quiet about how you truly feel is bad, or that you have to hide your truest self. I’ve learnt that being open and vulnerable is one of the most beautiful things in the world, and that shame kills. Spread love, not hate.What's next? Painting Lil Kim and being able to meet Mary J and tell her how fucking incredible and beautiful she is! AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Erin Corrain-Alexis. Artist and Shoe Maker.
Why: She is to me, what defines a strong powerful woman.
Contact Athena Paginton