As a freelance make-up artist, Sarah London Bergman has made many of her customers happy by making them either look beautiful or hideous. While shooting her vintage street style in Kensington Market, we had an interesting talk with Bergman about her love of beauty and the macabre.
Sarah: "My style is influenced by Kimono fabrics, Polynesian pop and early fetish magazines that were once illegal to sell. To this day, when you look at those vintage photos, they're still very racy. I have a morbid fascination with fashion and visual culture. I also have a love for b-movies, monster archetypes and wholesome images from the mid-century. That mixture is both ironic and strange. They kind of turn things on its head in a playful way."
TorontoVerve: "You told me that, as a make-up artist, you prefer doing make-up on movie corpses rather than fashion models. Why is that?"
Sarah: "(Laughs) Don't get me wrong -- I love super-high fashion and pin-up beauty. I often get asked to do pin-up looks, but I really enjoy creepy, organic and morbid special-effects techniques. It sounds counter-intuitive, but when I do special-effects looks, I get to be more impressionistic with my colour palette -- especially when working on zombies. For me, there's less pressure in horror than in fashion."
TorontoVerve: "Who are your fashion role models?"
Sarah: "Living or dead?"
Sarah: "I would say Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill's Tura Santana. She was a human representation of those really mean fetish babes in vintage magazines, but she was real. It's rare when those illustrations become reality. She was one of those mean and scary women who was empowering. I always thought that she was this badass babe who had these crazy curves, which she often used as weapons. She was a warrior. She also wore these slanted and wild eyebrows as if they were warpaint."
TorontoVerve: "How do you think pin-up culture has stood the test of time?"
Sarah: "I think that pin-up is increasing in popularity because of the internet and social media. The 50's revival seems to come in vogue more and more every decade since the 70's. We're inundated with pin-up images only because they're more accessible now."
TorontoVerve: "Are you a fan of Bettie Page?"
Sarah: "Bettie Page had a magnificent presence in front of the camera, but so did so many other women. I understand her celebrity. She had a lot of charisma, but she's also a bit of a walking cliché. There were so many other interesting women in that genre around her time and after. I think Bettie's great, but her cult is a bit excessive."
TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"
Sarah: "I recently realized that I'm more of a Type-B. I really enjoy relaxing and sleeping in. Sometimes having a Type-A personality can be damaging. For instance, some people in my industry work extremely hard and have no work-life balance. I find my friends and my recreational time precious. I work really hard, but I also find time to gratify myself and there's nothing wrong with that."
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Check out her incredible work at SarahLondonMakeUp.com.