Simone’s not your average facepainter

by Emma Nolan

SCARY, gory, glam or cute, from well-known TV and movie characters to nostalgic cartoon characters, Simone Cleary can do it all.

The 26-year-old Crumlin woman is pushing her make-up skills to the limit – and her incredible facial transformations are garnering her an army of fans on social media.

Hollywood needs to hear about Crumlin make-up artist Simone Cleary’s talents

The super talented make-up artist sat down with The Gazette to discuss how she honed her skills and reveal where she gets her ideas.

Simone said: “It all began when I was looking up videos on YouTube on a video game called Until Dawn, and I found a make-up tutorial for one of the characters.

Your friendly neighbourhood Spiderlady

Wonder Woman

“So, I just started looking at more tutorials and I did a few at home in my bedroom using Halloween face paints that I had, and my mam encouraged me to pursue it further.”

With encouragement from her family, Simone completed a course in Fashion Media and Theatre Make-Up at Galligan Beauty College, where she honed her skills.

Captain Jack Sparrow

She explained: “The course teaches you a lot about certain techniques but a lot of it you have to practice at home – that’s where you refine your skills and your own style by just trying new things.”

A talented artist who always excelled at drawing and painting, Simone uses her face as her canvas: “It’s an extension of that – a new medium.”

Winnie from Hocus Pocus

A talented artist who always excelled at drawing and painting, Simone uses her face as her canvas: “It’s an extension of that – a new medium.”

Here’s Freddie!

She also uses her boyfriend Ger’s face to practice on. “He lets me put prosthetics and liquid latex and all sorts on him – he’s a real trooper!” she laughs.

Simone’s Instagram is becoming more and more popular

Some of Simone’s looks have earned her thousands of fans on social media, with her Woody from Toy Story gaining more than 3,000 likes on Instagram.

Woodie from Toy Story

“It just blew up overnight,” she says. “I had to turn my phone off!”

Simone’s take on The Mask

However, her favourite look, to date, is her version of Jon Snow, from Game of Thrones.

Jon Snow

“I actually freaked myself out how much I looked like him – especially when I do his scowl-y face,” she joked.

Simone’s vast portfolio is thanks to her dedication in consistently coming up with new ideas.

The Hound

This year, she challenged herself to complete 100 days of make-up, where she created a new look every day for 100 days – which was no mean feat, as she was working full time in the pharmaceutical industry at the time.

“I was working from 7am to 4pm every day, then spending two to three hours getting a look done and photographing it, washing it off, then getting to bed to do it all again the next day – but I made it in the end.

The Godfather

“The hardest part is coming up with new ideas of what do. I usually find inspiration from whatever I’m watching or reading at the time.”

Now, she’s set herself another challenge for her favourite time of year – 31 days of Halloween.

The Corpse Bride

“I’m planning a lot of these looks in advance, so I want them to be more in-depth, with more prosthetics and bigger props.”



Currently on a career break, Simone is dedicating her time to expanding her portfolio of looks. Having worked as a trainee make-up artist on the TV show, Vikings, and on the film, The Professor and the Madman, she hopes to continue painting faces.

“I want to keep pushing myself to learn new things and not be afraid to try new techniques or to stick fake hair all over my face.

Monarch butterfly


“A lot of make-up artists are all about the pretty side of things, whereas I like the other side of it as well, where you can make yourself look so disgusting that you’re unrecognisable – it’s nice to be able to both.”

Keep scrolling to see more of Simone’s amazing transformations.

Phil and Lil

Jessica Rabbit

Helga Pataki

Buzz Lightyear aka Mrs Nesbit

Alien chest burster

You can check out even more by visiting her her Instagram feed (@simone_cleary) or her Facebook page (Simone Cleary Make Up/SFX), while you can also email her at


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