(Behind The Glam)

Few Makeup Artists On Earth Have The Aesthetic Range Of Hiromi Ueda

The cosmetic creative opens up to TZR.

Courtesy Of Armani Beauty
Armani Beauty global artist Hiromi Ueda

Iconic beauty moments aren’t born without the visionary artists that create them. In Behind The Glam, TZR gives you an inside look into the careers and inspirations of the industry’s top artists.

If you spend enough time around professional creatives, a few recurring themes start to emerge. There’s the drive, of course, that propels them to the top of their respective fields, pushing them to sharpen their skills and seek daring opportunities. You can’t discount inherent, born-with-it talent either, often a foundational piece of their lives from childhood. But when speaking with makeup artist Hiromi Ueda, just named the new Global Makeup Artist Ambassador for Armani Beauty, there’s clearly another critical component to artistic success: a intrinsic curiosity, not just for one particular form of art, but for virtually everything. For Ueda, discovering her passion for makeup — be it editorial, celebrity, runway, and beyond — was a natural conclusion she arrived at while exploring other facets of her creativity.

Truth be told, there isn’t an aspect of the fashion and beauty industries that Ueda and her brushes haven’t touched. She’s been around the world and back (a few times actually), working with some of the most legendary photographers, designers, models, and magazines in history. The fact that she’s still reaching new heights is just a testament to that inextinguishable curiosity — and a very solid sense of her own beauty philosophy.

Ahead, go behind the glam and get acquainted with the remarkable life and career of celebrated makeup artist Hiromi Ueda.

How She Got Started

It was Ueda’s lust for life that put her on the path toward artistry, but back in her college days, she simply wanted to shake things up. Around her third year of university in her native Japan where she was earning a degree in German literature, she decided to move to London to study English. “I was always interested in living in a different country,” she tells TZR, but at the time, that was the extent of what she knew she definitely wanted.

Upon arriving in London, she started to meet other students learning about fashion, makeup, or things like jewelry design. “Those people influenced me and I really wanted to do something more creative than German literature. I was looking for what I wanted to do,” Ueda explains. She tried a few different things, including a course on jewelry making herself, but didn’t love the lengthy waiting process required to bring those designs to life. “It takes such a long time,” she laughs, “but at the same time, for makeup, it takes maybe takes like 20 to 30 minutes. You see the results so soon and you can be brave, you can be makes mistakes — it’s only makeup so you can wipe it all off.” She was still figuring out exactly what she wanted to do for a living, but she decided to take the plunge and formally study makeup. That’s when all the pieces started snapping into place, a moment she realized, Oh, I love this, she says. She knew then what she wanted her life to look like.

Ueda working the Ame Kurogouchi show at Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2024.@hiromi_ueda

Ueda began asking around for friends with professional makeup artist connections, looking for an assistant role in any capacity. Getting started takes such a long time, she says, and jobs would only pop up every few months in the beginning. She continued making contacts, doing test shoots, and grinding for gigs. Now that she’s at the top of her game in every respect, though, she has an appreciation for the slow burn.

Rise To The Top

Near the beginning of her journey, Ueda was assisting makeup artist Alex Box. “She’s more known for creative makeup. She was doing more colorful, avant-garde [looks],” Ueda says. It was working under Box that Ueda got an up-close perspective on unbridled cosmetic creativity, explaining that she loved her approach to the industry as a whole, too. Naturally, this meant Ueda gravitated toward editorial and experimental makeup, generating some of the most notable cosmetic moments in recent memory.

“When I started doing makeup, I was mostly working in the fashion industry,” Ueda says. “I worked with lots of different photographers and I often, back in the day as well, [worked] a few times for Emporio Armani, and with people like Paolo Roversi, and for last few years, Giorgio Armani. It's nice to have this chance to work for all the shows and creating new looks for the campaign.” You’ve certainly seen her work, appearing on the catwalk at Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton, in Loewe and Gaultier campaigns, in every conceivable high-profile magazine, and on stars like Emma Stone, Gemma Chan, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and an almost incalculable number of others.

After working with Armani in so many different forms, she was named the brand’s Global Makeup Artist Ambassador in January 2024.

Her Beauty Philosophy

Really, her role with Armani is a match made in aesthetic heaven. “I'm over the moon and so excited about it,” she tells TZR, pleased to be partnered with the iconic brand is such a massive capacity. “Armani Beauty is all about natural skin and a natural enhancing of people’s individual beauty, which is pretty much my same beauty philosophy as well,” she adds. “I'm really happy to work with a company that has the same goals towards beauty.”

Though she can whip up a detailed, decadent, deliciously over-the-top editorial spread like no other, Ueda’s all-time beauty muses are aligned with her love for a more natural look, too. “I like the ‘90s supermodels,” she shares, a holdover from her youth spent watching them strut down the runways on Fashion TV. She lists favorites like Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington.

“I like to look at the inner beauty,” she says, summing up her philosophy toward creation in general. “I want to enhance people's inner beauty, same as Giorgio Armani. He famously said that beauty comes first from within — I really believe in and really responded to his idea.” It was an idea she says that was instilled in her from an early age growing up in Japan as well. “My mum often said, ‘don't just care about your appearance, you just have to polish your heart.’ I think I’m always trying to follow what she [told me].”