Maria’s made up


Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney


By David Hennessy

The extremely life like work of a London-based make-up artist originally from Kilmallock, Limerick has earned national and international attention for its creator. Maria Malone-Guerbaa can transform herself into any person or creature using the tools of her trade. Examples include extremely convincing impressions of Freddie Mercury, Angelina Jolie, Jack Nicholson, Wayne Rooney and mythical/historical figures like an Egyptian mummy.

Last week, Maria’s startling likenesses- Which use no model, she paints on herself- were featured in The Sun, The Daily Mail, Metro, Sky News to name just a few of those to feature the creations. There has also been interest from as far afield as China and South Africa. On Wednesday, Maria was interviewed on Television for the first time with an appearance on Arise TV.

Maria does not use any prosthetics, just cosmetics and a vivid imagination. When she set up her website to showcase her work, her looks quickly went viral. She has been asked to give talks and master classes around the world and international camera crews from as far away as America have looked to do pieces on her.

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury

Maria told The Irish World: “Ever since the make-up got seen, I’ve been inundated with various requests. I was a bit surprised, I didn’t think anyone would be interested. It’s a little bit mad for a mam of two. I’m Irish, you take it in your stride.”

Enfield-based Maria has worked providing make-up for West End shows and Channel 4’s Horrible Histories.

She then developed her very own style of creating illusions and effects. Maria’s work is so realistic and such a transformation from what she usually looks like that sometimes people think the pictures been photo shopped. She takes pictures and videos all the way through to disprove this.

Jack Nicholson in The Shining
Jack Nicholson in The Shining

With a mother who is an oil painter, Maria grew up in an artistic family but couldn’t find a direction that suited her when leaving school and so came to London: “When I was a younger person, I was an artist first and always had interest in Hollywood and movies but no colleges or schools were doing what I was looking for: Special effects. It always seemed to be somewhere else. I couldn’t find it.

“Slightly disillusioned, I took off over to London. I was 19, I just packed a bag and went. I only came for a few weeks (twenty years ago). I was here three weeks and I met the husband, that was it, never looked back.

“When I was 33, I was still longing to paint and I missed it. It was always there, it was like this niggle that never went away.”

Maleficent's Angelina Jolie
Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie

Maria, now 40 years old, trained in TV and film special effects at Camden Town Film School before going on to provide make-up on various film and TV programmes and West End shows: “I didn’t find what I was looking for, I could still go down that road but I want to be able to let go and paint all over them basically. In the TV, you’re just putting lip gloss on someone.”

Maria developed her style from being asked to do face painting at her children’s school fairs: “The more I dabbled in it, the more I realised I could do this illusion business. I was practising on the kids and then they didn’t have the patience or got fed up, so I just turned the paint on myself and that’s how the face painting, make-up, arts background all gelled into this.”

The Queen
The Queen

Having already portrayed Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge for some world cup fever, Maria will now look to the tennis world for the forthcoming Wimbledon: “Everything’s happened so fast, I’m completely shocked that Eamonn Holmes had my stuff up on Sky News. My Irish pals who have just moved to Australia were sitting there watching Eamonn Holmes and up pops me,” she laughs.

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