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Raphael Oliver: the passion for makeup and education that led him to international recognition

Photos: André Keke - @andrekekestudio
Team Hooks
Design and Marketing Director: Matheus Lopes @mathlopes
Fashion director and writer: Matheus Hooks @directorhooks

Since childhood, Raphael Oliver has felt a fascination for feminine beauty and the world of makeup. Influenced by his uncles, he began exploring photography as a hobby but soon realized that something was missing to make his images shine even brighter: makeup. Determined to improve his skills, he started studying on his own, analyzing magazine covers and makeup catalogs, and ventured into doing the first makeovers on close friends.

Throughout his professional journey, Raphael Oliver worked in advertising and photography, but makeup has always been present in his life.

It was in a beauty salon that he had his starting point as a professional makeup artist, and with dedication and passion, he became a master of the art of makeup, exploring techniques of light and shadow, colors, textures, and effects, being internationally recognized as one of the greatest experts in the field.

With the launch of the R.O Master Class in 2017, Raphael Oliver was able to bring his knowledge and makeup techniques to people from different parts of the world, further expanding his recognition as an educator and beauty market specialist. In 2021, he took an important step in his career by launching the online training program "Master of Makeup," a comprehensive program that prepares professionals in makeup techniques, career development, photography, and marketing, further solidifying the Raphael Oliver Academy and spreading his knowledge worldwide.

In an interview, Raphael Oliver shares his story of how he discovered his passion for makeup and photography, his learning process, and how makeup has become such an integral part of his professional life.

1. How did you become interested in makeup and photography?

I remember being around 15 years old and admiring the covers of cosmetics catalogs. Those photos of beautiful, well-made-up faces always radiating happiness and satisfaction intrigued me. Having two photographer uncles in my maternal family, I started taking photos of my friends as a kind of play, and that's where my journey in what would later become my profession began.

2. When did you realize that makeup was the missing element in your photographs?

I realized that, like a painting, photography captures a moment in someone's life, and for a good photo, at least a bit of makeup was necessary. Powder to reduce shine, mascara, blush, lipstick, and eyeliner were the first products I acquired to start doing makeup on my friends and clients. It became clear to me the power of makeup in transforming and enhancing their beauty. Gradually, my interest in makeup grew even more than my interest in photography.

3. How did you start studying makeup and doing your first makeups?

I started by trying to replicate the makeup styles I saw on magazine covers, using the few products I had. Even this small step was important in gaining experience with makeup. When I moved to the capital of Tocantins, Palmas, in 2010, to study Marketing, I started working at a photography studio, where I did makeup for clients. Some of them were pregnant women who just wanted to capture the moment, sometimes with little or no preparation. I did their makeup to help, knowing that it would make a difference in the photo shoot.
Over time, encouraged by friends, I did a test at a beauty salon to work as a freelance makeup artist on weekends, and that's when I truly started my career as a makeup artist. Some time later, I took my first beginner makeup course at a makeup school in São Paulo, where I learned about products and their correct application, as well as color theory and other topics. From there, I began my journey as a self-taught artist in search of my personal style. After a few years, I honed the style I do today, which is a more dramatic social makeup, something I enjoy and chose to pursue.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced throughout your journey as a makeup artist and educator?

Well, in the early days of my career, I had a lot of doubts. At that time, there was very little discussion about the makeup artist career as a whole (and, in fact, there is still very little today). I heard and saw a lot of focus solely on makeup techniques, but not much about how to become a successful entrepreneurial professional, gain recognition, and have sustainable income.
My challenge, like that of many makeup artists, was knowing how to work in a way that attracts clients. Basically, I asked myself, "Okay, I have the makeup technique, but now what?" "How do I attract clients and make money in this profession?" The answer came after many years of study and experience. Today, something I advocate for is that makeup artists study and take an interest in everything that encompasses the career, not just the technique.

5. How did you become a master in professional makeup? Share the pivotal moment in your career.

In the beginning, it happened somewhat by chance. I would always post the results of the makeups I did on my clients on social media, and that started to catch the attention of people in my city, state, and later on, from other parts of Brazil. As a result, I began receiving messages from people interested in learning from me. My first contact with education was through a course I taught in Belo Horizonte - MG, at the invitation of a local makeup school. From there, a spark ignited in my heart, showing me that I had a purpose in the educational field. Years later, when I was hired to teach my first masterclass in Dubai, I knew for sure that I had chosen the right path and that all the work I had done had been worthwhile.

6. How did the idea of creating the Raphael Oliver Academy come about? And what courses are offered by the Academy?

For about 8 years, I worked serving clients in other people's beauty salons and also in my own salon. During that time, I balanced my passion for education on alternate days. However, I realized that I wanted to focus primarily on the educational field.
In 2018, I sold my beauty salon in Palmas - TO and decided to move to São Paulo - SP to be more accessible to my students, who came from different states in Brazil and some countries in Latin America.
With the pandemic, my partner and I decided to create the Raphael Oliver Online Academy to offer online courses to people worldwide who couldn't come to me but needed professional makeup content like what I provide.
We created the "Master of Makeup" training program, which is a comprehensive method that teaches everything from products, customer service, color theory, advanced makeup techniques, marketing, career, and photography. It's a complete method to transform makeup artists into successful entrepreneurs. Currently, we have students from over 16 countries in the academy, and our courses are offered in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. In addition to the "Master of Makeup," we offer career mentoring and a specialization in water-resistant, sweat-proof, and friction-resistant makeup. We are now working on expanding the courses offered, creating new opportunities for makeup artists worldwide to study with us.

7. What sets the academy apart from other makeup schools?

I believe our biggest differentiator is the fact that I am an educator with 13 years of experience in makeup, photography, and marketing. Our course offers a comprehensive view of the profession, going beyond the technical knowledge of makeup and guiding students in structuring their careers. Another important point is that through my travels around the world, I have gained a lot of knowledge and broadened my perception of makeup from different countries and cultures, bringing the best to my work. We can say that we offer an international makeup approach aligned with the best industry practices. Additionally, our courses are highly versatile, covering bridal makeup, colorful looks, cut creases, eyeliner techniques, makeup for dark skin, and much more. Students can find absolutely everything in a single platform.

8. Besides discipline, what do you believe is the secret to your success as a makeup artist and educator?

The makeup world is highly dynamic; everything changes rapidly. New trends emerge all the time, and I am restless. I am always experimenting with new techniques, new products, challenging myself, and surprising my audience. Therefore, I believe the secret to my success lies in being an up-to-date professional, studying, and constantly seeking improvement. That is the foundation of my success.

9. Leave a message for our readers.

Well, I will share a piece of advice I would give to myself if I could go back in time when I was starting out: Study! Seek knowledge wherever you can find it. Do not settle for the status quo! You can write a different story for yourself, even if nobody is watching, even if nobody believes. If it makes sense to you, pursue it, do not be afraid, take risks, pay the price. Be strong, and you will see that it is possible to achieve your dreams.

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Jul 13, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Wow!!! Am inspired your story is amazing 🔥❤️❤️💯🙏💯

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