Backstage beauty secrets with Diana Cheetham | HerCanberra

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Backstage beauty secrets with Diana Cheetham

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As the Director of Makeup for FASHFEST, Diana Cheetham is used to a fast-paced atmosphere.

“I love the creativity…I like being able to do something to somebody that they can’t do themselves, and I want people to have that complete experience that goes with makeup and hair,” Diana says.

This September will mark the second time Diana has taken on the Director role for Canberra’s biggest fashion event. Working closely with fellow make-up artist Katie Saarikko, she will lead a large team of makeup artists to ensure highly creative work and theatrical elements are brought to each of the shows.

“Makeup is my true passion,” Diana says.

“I find that I really love being able to do an entire event, I love to be able to see people with hair and makeup done and walking out feeling like a celebrity.”


Diana at work backstage. Photo by Doug Hall from Studio Vita.

A WA girl at heart, Diana has been in the industry for over 20 years.

“I started hairdressing when I was 14, and then obviously in the industry hair and makeup go together, so in most salons I worked in the pair,” she says.

“I bought my first hairdressing salon and I wanted to branch out into being more a bridal and wedding specialist. So I started my Certificate 2 in makeup at Port Macquarie Beauty College. About five years later I moved down to Goulburn where I live now and I attended the CMA (Canberra Makeup Academy) and finished what I have now; my diploma in makeup.”

Outside of FASHFEST, Diana specialises in bridal makeup.

“I love making people feel beautiful, especially on a special day of theirs, or an event that they are going to,” she says.

“I like being able to do something to somebody that they cant do themselves, I want people to have that complete experience that goes with makeup and hair.”


Katie Saariko. Photo by Doug Hall from Studio Vita.

Diana’s top tip for brides is having a good skincare regime in place.

“Having a general skincare regime for at least a month before hand, to make sure your skin is getting used to it,” Diana says.

“A lot of the time brides will come to you and say ‘I haven’t put anything on my face just in case.’ Make sure you have cleansed, toned, and moisturised on the day of your event and make sure you have no makeup on. Brides should also always have eye brows waxed within the week but no closer than three days out from the wedding, because residue can actually sit on the skin and we don’t want that affecting our work.”


Photo by Doug Hall from Studio Vita.

What about beauty blunders?

“The biggest beauty no-no and I always come back to this is – people who put eyeliner underneath what we call a “water’s ledge”, eyeliner should always go along the lash line,” Diana says.

“For some reason a lot of people decide to leave a big gap and then put their eyeliner quite low down. I think they are trying to create a bigger eye but there are better ways of doing that. And colour matching is really bad, a lot of people will have that sharp line, we see this on young girls who haven’t been trained properly. People like to have a darker skin tone, people like to look sun-tanned, but you can still bring that foundation all the way down your neck if you need to.”

Diana’s top beauty tips

  • “Make sure you are choosing the right foundation for you. Not only in colour but also in texture – for example if you have dry skin, don’t use a matte foundation. If you’re concerned, always get a professional to help you out along the way – don’t just go into a store and work it out for yourself.”
  • “I definitely recommend YouTube! It’s a great thing these days. Always follow people and keep watching what people can do, because you can really learn from that. The more you see it, the more you can practice it, and then your everyday makeup is going to be better.”

Visit Diana’s Facebook page on 

Feature image: Eric Red Photography. 

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