GenerationArt: Emily Nikolova

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We give you Emily: a makeup artist

Shе is the tenth artist selected to be part of #GenerationArt

My name is Emily and I’m 20 years old. I work as a makeup artist for a while now. I also shoot portraits, unprofessionally, sometimes you can see me acting on the stage and very often (with great desire) I am in the role of the art director for photoshoots. For the last 2 years, I’ve been living in England studying Specialist Hair and Media Makeup at University College Birmingham, the fashion department.

1. Why did you decide to do makeup?

I wouldn’t describe it as a choice. There wasn’t a special moment when I said “Yes, that’s what I want to do.” Everything regarding makeup happened naturally without any planning, more like it chose me than the other way around. Before high school, I painted, went to classes every week for five or six years, and although I was addicted, It didn't feel like "my thing". At the age of 13, I discovered the miracle of YouTube, which introduced me to make up in its most innocent form - back then there were no influencers, but young American women who made up their makeup in their bedrooms and shared favorite products and techniques. Days after my 14th birthday, I started a course with a make-up artist - Tony Strelkova. She greeted me with a smile and enthusiasm, even though I had neither an ID nor brushes. The following summer I received my first certificate and started working with clients. I learned to take shots, learned the whole process, and also to advertise by myself. From working with brides and on proms after that, I kind of transferred to the theater and special effects.

2. What inspires you?

I get inspired by music, feelings… by my own experiences. Everyone has their own personal universe, which gives birth to ideas and keeps memories. Mine can be seen in most of my looks: I like to think that they tell stories without words. Of course, I follow other artists and their styles – it’s more like motivation rather than competition.

3. What do you want to show people with your art? What do you convey through it?

Makeup is an emotion you can wear. Makeup is a therapy that you create yourself. There are no boundaries and rules, there are only social norms, which unfortunately still stops many people from the pleasure of self-expression and their due freedom. I'm still worried when my grandmother looks at pictures of my new makeup and sees a boy in them. I'm worried because I know what she is thinking, even though she doesn't say it out loud. I feel kind of responsible for the change of local prejudices, of the definition of "normal". I want my art to be the reason why someone is not ashamed to show their true self. Society often defines make-up as a mask, but in fact, it is just the opposite - make-up is a mediator between our personalities and the outside world.

4. Where can we see the things you do?

I'm trying to be more active on Instagram! I upload more in my portfolio, everyone is welcome to have a look - on the desktop is very beautiful and tidy. I hope that soon I will do make-up for movies and music videos, maybe even for London Fashion Week next year. IG and

Emily is the tenth participant in GenerationArt - space, opportunity and a stage to express yourself and to show your art. If you want to share your art as Iva did, GenerationArt is open for people from all over the country, without a deadline - contact us at with a short description of your genre and the message you want to convey through art; send us a couple of your best works. No matter which is your direction, what is your genre and form, we cannot wait for you to share your work with our audience!

Since November 2019 GenerationArt is part of the three-year project "Empowering young LGBTI people through access to services, motivation and focused policy change", implemented with financial support, provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main objective of the project is to support and empower young LGBTI people and the professionals supporting them.

The sole responsibility for the content of this section lies with the Single Step Foundation and under no circumstances can it be taken to reflect the official opinion of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Operator of the Active Citizens Bulgaria Fund.