Kay Montano Celebrity Makeup Artist for M&S


They say never meet your idols, I do not now who ‘they’ are but they are wrong! Last week I was invited to meet Kay Montano, who is the celebrity makeup artist for Marks & Spencer’s beauty hall. Kay is in my opinion one of the makeup greats so when I got the call to meet her I jumped at the chance. I met her in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel, in a beautiful suite overlooking Stephen’s Green. Kay had stayed in the suite the night before and was convinced that it was haunted, so she had not had very much sleep. This didn’t stop us having a wonderful chat about all things makeup, celebrity and of course our dogs! Kay has the cutest black pug and you have all seen my Peggy who is one of the loves of my life!


After a career in makeup that spans over 30 years, Kay now lives in London but in her career she has lived in New York and has travelled the whole world in her pursuit of beauty. I know that a lot of you may not be familiar with her name but you will know her work. Kay has worked on some of the most iconic images of our generation. She did the makeup for Calvin Klein’s 1993 Obsession Parfum add which featured a nude yet to be famous Kate Moss. She has also worked on many of the advertising campaigns that appear in all of the glossy magazines that we read. The reason that you may not know her name is because she is incredibly humble about her work, when we met she treated me as an equal, me a little makeup artist from Ireland.


When Kay was 13 her mother bought her a Vogue magazine, which started a life long passion for all thing glamour, Kay recalls looking at the beautiful models and thinking I want to be involved in that. So at the age of 16, yes in Irish terms a baby, and with no formal training Kay started to make those dreams become a reality. That same year she got her first cover,  for The Face magazine (above). This was to be the first of many many covers. Since then Kay’s work has appeared on magazines all over the world and has included all of the best fashion magazines like Vogue Italia, Paris Vogue and ID Magazine.

She has worked with the worlds best photographers including Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel,Helmut Newton and Mario Testino.



Kay works with some of the most beautiful women on the planet. She recently worked on Jennifer Lawrence for the BAFTAS, which in my humble opinion is the best that she looked all awards season. Jennifer looked every bit the superstar that she is but still looked like her 22 years. Here is a link to a tutorial of how she created the look. When Kay was talking about Jennifer Lawrence she told me that she really appreciates when someone tells her that she was great in a movie. For me meeting Kay was like meeting Meryl Streep and she was every bit as humble and incredibly generous with her knowledge and experiences. Being this humble Kay was not talking about the starlets who’s faces she has painted.



In the name of research I had to ask who else that she has worked with (I knew that you guys would kill me if I didn’t) and girls and boys the list is like reading out the best actress list at the Oscars!! She works with Nicole Kidman a lot, who she says is a true beauty and that she is not afraid to experiment with makeup, Nicole for me always looks stunning on the red carpet.

The Orange British Academy Film Awards 2008 - Stage Winners

Thandie Newton who kay met on a Vogue cover shoot has now become one of her good friends. Thandie was the person who told Kay about a great shop called Pacs which is five minutes from her house which is where Kay buys a lot of her false lashes now, next time I am in London I will be finding Pacs and stocking up!! She has also worked with ‘The Worlds Most Beautiful Woman’ as voted by People magazine Gwyneth Paltrow and when you see the image that Kay worked on it kind of makes sense!


So getting back to the reason I got to meet one of my hero’s. Key is the makeup artist for Marks & Spencer’s amazing new beauty hall, which I wrote about here, and she was over to talk about some of her hero products that she has chosen from the incredible ranges that are available. One of them is the lip liner from Autograph, there is one shade which is the perfect nude shade, and essential for anyone who wants to make their lips look bigger. Diego Dalla Palma is also available and his lipsticks are amazing, one of Kay’s favourite is no. 31 which is an great blue red. The Autograph Pure Colour Mono Eyeshadows are great too my favpourite colour is Gunmetal, which is the perfect shade for a modern smoked eye, it is as deep as a gunmetal grey but has a beautiful warmth to it. I am also in love with the Limited Collection Brow and Lash clear gel, perfect for unruly brows.




Before I met Kay I was nervous and maybe a little intimadated, but after spending a small amount of time in her presence and experiencing her generosity of spirit she is and always will be one of my heroes.


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