AOFM: The Interview


We’re constantly on the look out for new and exciting concepts and when it comes to beauty, nothing excites us more than a fresh and novel concept coming to Dubai. Recently, we discovered the opening of London-based AOFM (The Academy of Freelance Makeup) in Dubai. Dedicated to helping those interested in the field of makeup hone and develop their talent and skills, AOFM’s opening in Dubai means that the city now has a new beauty hub. Intrigued by the team’s move to Dubai and their entrepreneurial journey, we sat down with Jana to discuss all things makeup.




Photo: Courtesy of AOFM


THE AOFM Journey


Jana: My interest in beauty and fashion first sparked at the age of 14, when I got my first job in a hairdressing salon near where I grew up. I remember watching how women would transform in both their look and confidence as they had their hair and makeup done in the salon. I soon relocated to Australia with my family, where I was then scouted and went on to enjoy a successful modelling career and get a real taste of the fashion industry.

I was exposed to makeup artistry and immediately felt that this is where I wanted to be. To progress my career further, I travelled to London in 1999 and trained at the London College of Fashion as a makeup artist. I worked multiple seasons of London Fashion Week and for countless high-profile magazines as both a freelance hair and makeup artist. Having gained a wealth of insider knowledge, I was keen to impart what I had learned to the next generation by teaching and helping aspiring makeup artists who needed professional experience and guidance to navigate the fashion industry.

I spearheaded the opening of AOFM with my business partner, Co-Founder and Operations Manager, Jason Mallet in 2006 – the first academy in the industry to be wholly owned and operated by freelance artists. I’m very proud of what AOFM has gone on to achieve and look forward to growing more in the future.


The Many Sources of Inspiration


Jana: With decades of experience in the makeup and beauty industry at AOFM we have seen how quickly things can change, and that it’s becoming more and more important for successful makeup artists to develop as many skills as possible and to gain maximum experience with on a variety of projects. As a result, we began to offer courses in nail and hair design as well as traditional makeup courses.

When considering what type of new courses of workshops to create and offer our students we take inspiration from the world around us – be it fashion or beauty trends, lifestyle changes or pop culture. In this industry, it’s important to open your eyes to the various cultures and worlds around you, to ensure you aren’t closing yourself off from learning about new and exciting trends. The world of beauty and fashion has begun to evolve and become less exclusive and more positively inclusive, we believe this is an exciting time for artists to also develop.



Photo: Courtesy of AOFM


An Usual Day in Team AOFM’s Life


Jana: We try to give our AOFM artists as an exciting life as possible, whether that includes a day or week of workshops or courses to brush up on their skills or hone in on some new talents or trends, we want our graduates to be the best in the business. When they aren’t training we endeavour to send our artists to as many exciting entertainment, editorial or fashion shoots, catwalks or events as we can. We hope to give them some great experiences that they can learn from and also cherish forever.

The industry can be glamorous but it’s a lot of hard work, if you are taking part in New York fashion week, you can expect call times from as early as 3am and often work 12-18hour four or five days in a row. It’s not for everyone but our artists love the buzz of being part of such an exciting event and creating looks, which will be admired, and photographs for years to come.


5 Years From Now


Jana: We have just launched our new academy in Dubai – it’s our first in the Middle East and we hope to continue to grow our presence through out the region.

Our in-depth online course is also an important for us, in the next 5 years we hope to keep seeing growth and that it continuing’s to go from strength to strength.

We’ve worked so hard to build AOFM and create the success it is today, so it is a balance of continuing to grow and also maintain our successful academies in London and New York – so lots of work to do!


The Insider Tip for Aspiring Makeup Artists


Jana: Try to get as much experience as possible, it can be hard, especially in the beginning- but building a strong portfolio and investing in an accredited course like ours will make the world of difference in a few years.

Be nice to everyone you meet – as everyone in this industry remembers a face, and people are always open to helping or offering new opportunities so it’s always worth asking!

Now more than ever investing in new courses and learning new tricks of the trade will make a big difference too as bookers will constantly be looking for artists who can offer a variety of skills.



Photo: Courtesy of AOFM



Follow AOFM: @aofmakeup