Glass talks to Attracta Courtney – world-renowned make-up artist and founder of The Attracta Beauty Awards

IN THE lead up to 2020’s The Attracta Beauty Awards – which Glass Magazine is this year’s media partner – we spoke to the founder of the awards, a former nursing sister and now leading make- up artist, Attracta Courtney was born in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has lived in NYC where she worked as a professional make-up artist and is now based in London.

Glass talked to Attracta to find out more about her journey into beauty; the challenges in creating the awards from the ground up and the impact of the the current pandemic on the ceremony with the onset of going digital in beauty. The 2020 award winners will be announced tomorrow.

Attracta Courtney, founder of The Attracta Beauty Awards

Why did you start the Attracta Beauty Awards?
I wanted to share my direct insider knowledge and expertise of the best established and new emerging beauty products that I and my peers use to make people look and feel beautiful. I have a passion for knowledge and beauty to be expressed in a way that is unique, inclusive, informative and uplifting. I wanted to create a yearly awards ceremony experience where beauty is celebrated at its best; where everyone who attends is excited by how powerful beauty can be when communicated with love and integrity.

I have had a life-long love of beauty and the history of fashion, make up and skincare. My focus during many years of creative expertise working with some of the world’s best photographers, magazines and creative designers has always been to bring relatable ideas to life, using products that are reflective of the moment and where beauty is going. I have regularly been quoted in the media and approached by beauty editors to explain what makes a product great and standout from another.

They respect my expertise as a former healthcare professional – I was a nursing sister of a 15-bedded intensive unit which covered intensive care and high dependency and a recovery ward in Harley Street London. So they know I am not afraid to lean in and ask questions related to skin.

What really frustrated me was when I saw a feature or beauty editorial to which I had contributed to, and found that some of the products that I had used that were key to get the look were not mentioned, because they were not an advertiser or not well known.

I knew that a lot of my professional peers felt the same, hence, when I started the awards, I only wanted the best experts to share their passion and expertise on what makes a product great. When all the brands have entered, I hand-pick the judges for their specific expertise and working knowledge of the categories.

Collectively over many months, we meticulously judge the products entered on the criteria of quality, effectiveness, pigment delivery, usability, colour, textures, innovation and design. With regular hands-on exposure, we are using, testing and making decisions each day on what makes a formula or product great or not for hair, makeup, skin and nails.

Attracta Beauty Awards LogoAttracta Beauty Awards 2020 Logo

How are they going?
This is the sixth year and each year they are growing bigger and better with more beauty experts and brands entering. The awards are independent, with no advertising from beauty brands to ensure they remain pure. Brands have discovered them organically or through recommendation which is always a compliment.

Brands and experts consider the endorsement of the awards as an accurate acknowledgement; they love that the professional judges are all working beauty experts who may go on to use their products or recommend treatments to their A-list clients. The brands feel reassured, that the judges invest all their expertise to arrive at the best of beauty.

This year, I started a series of Meet the Judges interviews on Instagram Live where the brands got an opportunity to virtually meet us and ask questions directly.

Attracta CourtneyAttracta Courtney at the Attracta Beauty Awards ceremony 2019. Photography AURELIA BERGS

What have been the challenges you have faced in setting up the awards and in general?
I am very against fear-based marketing language, particularly the word “anti-ageing”. I have always spoken about ageing and beauty in a positive way. For me, age stands for Always Gaining Experience; it’s a natural process and unstoppable. I believe that no-one at any age should be shamed for their signs of ageing.

Addressing the topic of negative language used around ageing in beauty literature has been a challenge. However, on an optimistic note, I feel this current period will advance the changes that are necessary when it comes to ageist language.

Reading testimonials on social media after the awards ceremony, I am inspired to see that there is a very active audience out there who want encouragement to make these changes. This positive feedback has motivated me to follow my passion despite the obstacles. I believe everyone prefers to be around positive beauty because it is transformative and uplifting.

What are your ambitions for the awards?
We are living in one of the most exciting moments in the evolution of beauty. The public are very informed and making discerning beauty purchase choices. As a truth seeker I’m not afraid to ask questions that I feel will enrich and create changes that are empowering. My ambition is to curate and award the best of beauty, to be ahead of the curve by inviting professionals with cutting edge knowledge onto my platforms, to inform and educate on new technology or formulas.

I want to sow seeds of change, by inviting change-makers and visionaries to the yearly ceremony to speak and help me share a deeper philosophy of what truly makes beauty meaningful and special. To develop a destination where professionals and brand owners come together to celebrate their win, share their wisdom and challenges, yet walk away feeling inspired by the speakers and the chosen awards theme.

I want to keep my awards authentic, inspiring and knowledgeable; to highlight that effective products don’t need to be very expensive to get wonderful results and science-led skincare is definitely worth the extra investment.

Attracta Courtney at the Attracta Beauty Awards ceremony 2019. Photography AURELIA BERGS

What have been the highlights?
It is always lovely to meet the brand founders at the awards ceremony. I am always genuinely moved by how much they appreciate how the judges and I have taken time to test and give honest feedback on why we chose their products as winners. I am grateful to have a fantastic team of judges who are all exceptionally talented, they love creating beauty and discovering products that are the best to use, for beautiful quality results.

How has the impact of Covid-19 affected The Attracta Beauty Awards?
I had planned a beautiful gallery location for the Awards Ceremony on July 3, the theme was going to be centred around love and kindness, unfortunately all my plans had to be quickly cancelled. Roll on 2021!

by Caroline Simpson