Turns out Charlotte isn't the only Tilbury with serious makeup talent! We chatted with her niece, Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury, just as she was wrapping up London Fashion Week. Find out about this gorgeous soul's deep love for cosmetics, her relationship with her famous aunt and, of course, what she counts as her fave Charlotte Tilbury products! —Noa Nichol
Hi Sofia! Tell us a bit about yourself to start. Where does your love of beauty/cosmetics stem from?
Hi VITA! I’m Sofia Tilbury, I’m a makeup artist and creative executive at Charlotte Tilbury Beauty! I have always loved beauty and cosmetics, but I guess my love for them really stems from when I was growing up. From a young age I really wanted to be an artist, which started from spending lots of time in Ibiza with my grandfather Baba (Lance Tilbury), who is a painter. We were surrounded by lots of artists, so I think I was just constantly soaking up the creative passion of everyone around me. I went to Millfield School where photography and art were my favourite subjects. For my projects, I used to recreate my aunt’s makeup looks on the girls in my dorm and then we’d take photos. It was the perfect way to combine all my passions like creating, painting and capturing an image. I just loved it, and it’s so funny how these skills are now what I use every day on my Instagram and in my job!
How did your career as a MUA begin (and tips for those wanting to launch on a similar path)?
I didn’t go to university as I was eager to start working right away. When you want a creative career, I feel like you really learn by doing. After school, I first did an internship with Alice Temperley, and then Charlotte took me under her wing. I started interning, assisting backstage at shows, learning her techniques and helping her on shoots. From here, Charlotte pointed me toward the shop floor of Selfridges and said, “This is where you have to start!” I worked full-time at the Charlotte Tilbury counter for two years when the brand first launched there, and I learnt so much. I was really fortunate to have the opportunities I had, but my family made me work. My tips for those wanting to launch their career on a similar path would be WATCH, DO and stay as CURIOUS as you can. I started out by watching Charlotte—observing all her techniques and soaking up her tips and tricks—so I do think assisting someone is essential!
Tell us about your recent participation in LFW! Any favourite shows/looks?
This year was my first ever London Fashion Week leading shows (I have assisted Charlotte backstage since I was 18) and I was lucky enough to lead the makeup direction for three incredible shows: Olivia Rubin, Agent Provocateur and Alice Temperley. I also assisted Charlotte at Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief show. Every look I created was so different—it really gave me the opportunity to showcase my range of skills as a makeup artist! I worked closely with each designer to make sure I really captured their vision for the makeup, as well as creating a look that complemented and enhanced their designs. From the confident, seductive and hypnotising look at Agent Provocateur, to the dreamy, ethereal look for Temperley London using the naturally beautiful, complexion-enhancing power of Pillow Talk and the pastel pop painted eye at Olivia Rubin, they were all SO much fun to create! What I loved most about each look was that they were all super-wearable and easy to recreate for everyday life. I can’t wait for next season already!
How does your famous aunt, Charlotte, inspire/support you?
I love working with my aunt Charlotte; she is a huge inspiration to me, and I’ve learnt so much from being around her, she’s a walking beauty bible! She has been the biggest support to me since I started my career, teaching me everything she’s learnt during her incredible 27 -year career! She is very encouraging of me ,too, constantly reassuring me to keep going—she always says, "Dare to dream it, dare to believe it, dare to do it!" That’s a mantra that really resonates with me! Since I’ve worked with Charlotte, I’ve grown so much—not only as an artist but personally, too. Since I was a child, I’ve suffered with anxiety and it has taken me a really long time to get to a place where I feel like my confidence is constantly growing. Last year I was too anxious to do celebrity makeup and now I do it all the time! Earlier this year I also went on my first solo trip to Dubai and Kuwait to create content at Charlotte’s Beauty Wonderlands. That kind of thing used to be unimaginable! I love seeing myself grow and as I work to build up my confidence, and I want to show others that it’s possible to do the same; just believe in yourself and realise your potential.
We gotta know ... as her niece, and a pro MUA, what's your absolute fave CT product to work with?
That’s really difficult; I feel like my favourite product changes every time we launch a new one! We’ve always got something new coming up that I absolutely love! Lips are my favourite part of any makeup look and I’m a real lip liner girl, so I never apply lipstick without Charlotte’s amazing Lip Cheat lip liner. Hot Gossip is my go-to shade—I’ve been through so many! You can just resize and reshape the appearance of your lips instantly. It has a really creamy texture, so it doesn’t pull on the lips like other lip liners sometimes do. I am also obsessed with the new Instant Eye Palette in Starry Eyes to Hypnotise, a palette close to my heart and one of my favourite products to help create each year. I love the new shades: they are so versatile, so easy to use and so perfect for the holiday season. The LOVE GLOW look is my favourite in the palette, the romantic, sunset-terracotta tones work with any eye colour and any skin tone to create the most seductive, pinky-bronze sensational gaze that makes every eye colour pop. All you need to add is a soft feline flick and mascara—it’s what I like to call maximum glow with minimal effort!