“I was probably a cat in my past life.”
Name: Corina Louise Smith
Place of birth: London, England
Do: Makeup Artist. Co-founder of SMACK Ibiza. Yoga Teacher
What are three words that best describe how you like to live your life?
Freely. Honestly. Compassionately.
What’s the most demanding thing about being a makeup artist?
Being your own boss. As a MUA you have to keep your finger on the pulse and stay aware of the trends. That takes motivation and inspiration. Despite the amount of time I’ve dedicated myself to being a MUA, I’m never complacent and I’m always appreciative for the work and recommendations I receive. Keeping my kit fresh and clean can also be demanding, but it’s essential to the work.
How did you get your start in makeup?
I initially completed a beauty therapy course as a stepping stone to get into the makeup world. A friend of mine was working for a production company and after six months of badgering them, they hired me to assist on my first professional job: Craig David’s music video for his track Seven Days. I assisted a well-known makeup artist on that shoot; we connected immediately and I started working with him on further jobs. He introduced me to his agency, Naked Artists, and things just snowballed from there. Naked took me on and I started assisting makeup professionals on commercials and music videos, working with artists like Sugar Babes, So Solid Crew and Miss Dynamite. Within two years I started taking on my own jobs as the primary makeup artist and I crossed-over into fashion work. In hindsight I was very lucky.
What brought you to Ibiza and how did SMACK Ibiza come to fruition?
My relationship with the island started in 1995 when I was 15. I came here with a group of older friends and family. I was a Junglist; I didn’t know anything about Ibiza, so coming here and experiencing a different type of club-life was an eye-opener. I didn’t vibe with the music, but I loved the essence of the island. Even my 15-year-old self knew that I would be spending a lot of my life here. I came back on holiday every year and in 2001 I worked a season for Manumission as an entertainer and makeup artist. I worked alongside the great Allister Logue. He was amazing; I like to think that that my career in Ibiza started with him. I remember thinking to myself that Ibiza would be a cool place to offer a hair and makeup service, but I was young and just starting my makeup career in London, so I didn’t take the thought seriously. Fast forward a few years, and I was on holiday here with Sara; her first time in Ibiza. I was a few years into my career but the recession had hit the freelance world and rates had taken a downturn. I found myself thinking about my next move. In a light-bulb-moment, the thoughts I had from my first season here re-surfaced. I put it to Sara and in 2009 SMACK Ibiza was born. Our first year of operation we arrived on the island with only our makeup kits and a few contacts in our back pocket. It was a slog. We didn’t make any money, but we did good work and met some great people. Sara suggested we create a 5-year plan which really set us up for success. SMACK Ibiza was a seed I planted but it wouldn’t have happened without Sara. It’s not something I could have done on my own. We’ve made it happen through hard work and perseverance. And we’re still going strong.
“I don’t like fake people and I won’t compromise myself to be liked by others.”
Tell us about your relationship with your business partner Sara
Before I met Sara, I didn’t have any friends in the makeup industry. My close friends worked in other businesses, so none of them understood the journey of being a struggling freelance makeup artist in London at that time. I met Sara in 2006 on a job and we hit it off right away. We quickly became close friends, which was unusual for me, as I rarely let people into my inner circle. But within six months of meeting, we were travelling in India and shortly after that I introduced her to Ibiza. It’s difficult going into business with with a friend, because we don’t always have the same views and ideas on the direction of SMACK, but over time we’ve found our way. No matter our differences, I think the most important thing is the trust and respect we have for each other. That means everything to me. I love that girl like a sister.
Your most used makeup product has suddenly gone out of stock. What do you do?
This has happens quite often in every makeup artist’s career. You get used to a certain product over time and then it gets discontinued, or the manufacturer changes the recipe and it’s not quite the same. When that happens, it’s horrible. But it’s also a good thing because it pushes you to find new products, brands & techniques and keep you on your toes. Perhaps I’ll never find that product again–or even something that does the same job–but maybe I’ll find something better. The makeup world moves so quickly now; it’s important to stay detached from using the same brands and products all the time.
Where are your local haunts?
I live in Salinas in the South of the island. I don’t party very often these days and I’m a bit of a local girl, but every now and then I like to have a really good dance, so if I go out to a club, it has to be DC10. I also love hanging out at my local bar called San Francisco, which is a two minute walk from my house. Day-to-day, Can Bellotera in San Jordi is my favourite place. It’s across the road from my gym so I go most days. They have a great chicken empanada, the best coffee on the island and really competitive prices. If friends can’t contact me they know I can often be found at Can Bellotera.
How do you give back to the island?
I volunteer for an island charity called Care 4 Cats. Over the last 15 years they have helped to reduce Ibiza’s homeless cat population, which was considerable before the charity was created. I’m one of several volunteers who help out by locating and securing homeless cats, which are then neutered, so they can’t multiply or spread disease. Care 4 Cats has neutered over 16,000 cats so far and the homeless colonies have drastically reduced in size. Volunteering is my little way of giving back to the island. I have four cats of my own, all rescues. I am a card-carrying crazy cat lady. I grew up with cats. My Mum’s a crazy cat lady. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I believe I was probably a cat in my past life.
Do you wear your heart on your sleeve?
Yes and I think it’s quite plain for all to see. I’ve always thought with my heart and not my head and I believe that if you follow your heart, it will lead you where you need to be. I’m a very compassionate, open person and I say how I feel whether it’s good or bad. I don’t like fake people and I won’t compromise myself to be liked by others. What you see is what you get.
You’re also a qualified yoga instructor. What does teaching mean to you?
Yoga is sacred to me. It’s more than just a form of exercise. It’s a state of mind; a way of life. I qualified as a yoga teacher in 2007, before moving to the island. My initial idea was to work as a makeup artist in the summer and teach yoga in the winter. But once we started working, we put so much energy into promoting SMACK that I didn’t want to dilute the hard work by advertising myself as a yoga teacher as well. It wasn’t until a few years later that my business partner Sara introduced me to Annabelle Purnell, a highly respected yoga teacher on the island. Her classes inspired and motivated me. She asked me to cover a session for her when she couldn’t attend one day. After my initial apprehension I agreed and I’m so glad I did. It was like being reborn into the world of yoga. I covered more of Annabelle’s classes and the following winter I began hosting my own. They were really successful and I started getting a small following. It’s taken some time, but now I feel I can balance both my makeup and yoga teaching careers without compromise.
What was the last thing that brought a tear to your eye?
Aside from my family of felines there were two feral cats that lived on my back terrace. I used to look out for them and was particularly fond of the ginger I named Cheto, even though he would hiss every time I went near him. I was travelling recently and during my time away Cheto died on the terrace. I felt terrible thinking that in the last fortnight of his life he was probably suffering and I wasn’t there for him. I felt responsible and that was the last time I cried.
When was the last time you danced to a jungle record?
A couple of years ago at a wedding. One of my best friends who I grew up with as part of my Jungle crew got married to another longstanding friend who used to be a Jungle DJ. The wedding reception was basically a rave! We were all transported back twenty years, listening to the tunes we used to bop to when we were teens. I love all kinds of music, but nothing quite gets me in the pit of my stomach like Jungle.