Meet & WIN: Monika Olson of Moni Makeup

Petite brunette Monika Olson (pictured above left) is an Auckland-based makeup and hair stylist and the owner of Moni Makeup, the city’s brightest new makeup school that I was lucky enough to visit last week.
Monika trained and worked as a graphic designer in her homeland South Africa, before realising that “office life wasn’t really for me” and finding more and more of her time was spent playing with makeup. “I started out being taught the basics by a friend and helping her out at weddings,” she explains, “and then when I came to New Zealand I decided to train as a makeup artist, and to be able to teach as well.”
Over the past five years she’s been a successful working makeup artist, honing her skills on set at photo shoots and on advertising jobs, as well as back stage at New Zealand Fashion Week. Her passion is bodypainting and special effects, “although those jobs are sadly few and far between,” she laughs.
When we spoke, the Moni Makeup School had only been open three weeks but was already mid-way through several courses catering to all ages and skin tones. These Personal Makeup Courses provide industry tricks and magic to create and maintain “your signature look”, and class sizes are small so you can feel totally comfortable with asking Monika and her guest speakers all of those tricky questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to!
Her favourite makeup range to work with right now – and the one she stocks at her school - is organic range Inika, which she helped launch at New Zealand Fashion Week 2010 with its creator, Miranda Bond. “I love the fact that the range is chemical free and all natural, vegan and plant-based. Makeup can take such a toll on your skin that you want it to be as pure as possible, and Inika ticks all of the boxes for me.”
Monika likes to take a truly holistic approach to makeup and skin, and part of each course involves a nutritionist imparting knowledge about how you can support your skin with good diet and supplements. “When you have bad skin,” she explains, “the more makeup you put on, the worse it looks. You want a great canvas that you then use to create your own signature look on.”
Like me she believes that makeup should be available to enhance what you’ve got rather than used as a mask, “and rather than focusing on your flaws you should be celebrating the features about your face that you love. Focus on the positive rather than patching up the negatives and taking away the ‘beauty’ of it all.”
She says that the women coming to her courses range from teenagers wanting to learn about proper makeup application to older women who want to refresh their look, “and women who are embarking on a new stage in their life and want a new makeup look to go with it and a little extra inspiration to think about.” She adds that she likes to think “I’m really approachable, and want my school to be a really positive experience for people. I want them to trust me enough to reveal what they think their flaws are and then work with them to raise their confidence and help them create a makeup look that makes them love the way they look.”
Finally, I ask her to name her “desert island” products from the Inika range, the ones she just cannot live without… “I love their primer, because it creates a beautifully moisturising base for their amazing mineral powder foundation to sit on top of. The powder is my second pick as it comes in shades with both pink and yellow bases, so there is a match for almost every skin type.” Another firm favourite is Inika’s highlighter, “which you can out everywhere from your cheeks to your cupid’s bow to create contours and stop your makeup from looking like a mask.”

WIN! I have a “Beginners to Intermediate” Personal Makeup Course at Moni Makeup to giveaway, worth $600.00. This intimate and private course teaches you how to nourish your skin, a variety of looks to suit all personal events and occasions. These short courses are designed for all ages and skin tones. Providing you the skills to get it right each and every time!
The course is 18 hours in total (two x 3 hour sessions per week) and covers the likes of skin, tools and equipment knowledge, contouring and highlighting, eyebrow shaping and corrective makeup tricks. By the end of the course you’ll be able to master four of your very own signature looks. To enter email me


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