Ashley Readings is the talented woman behind most of the Bicyclette beauty looks you see in our lookbooks and on the the blog, and we're lucky enough to call her our resident makeup & hair artist. She has all the qualities of a working artist: passion, dedication, drive and a fine tuned skill. She is sarcastic, cool, real, and has a genuine love for what she does. Whether its waking up extremely early to drive to my apartment and get me ready for a scene on '90 days' and then jetting off to a brides house, or doing makeup and hair for one of our many lookbook shoots, she is always there and making sure that everything looks just right. Ashley is like that older sister you always wished you had, able to give you advice on beauty, what lip colour goes with that outfit and boys, and she usually tells it to you straight. And thats why we love Ashley! She's a huge part of our growing creative community and our Bicyclette shoots just wouldn't be the same without her, which is why we can proudly say she is this week's Girl Crush.
You have collaborated and worked on many shoots for Bicyclette, which one has been your favourite?
That's so hard. I have a blast on all of them. Definitely the more recent ones have been more fun as I've gotten to know all the Bicyclette babes a little better. Through working together you ladies have become excellent friends and now shoots are more like hanging out than work! I think April's 'Girls Gone Wild' was my fav for hair (I owe Alex HUGE for letting me give her a 'fro!).
TIFF happened a few weeks ago, and Toronto was taken over by celebs. What actress would you kill to do makeup for? What has been some standout looks for you?
Scarlett Johansen's hair and makeup for her Don Jon premiere was out of this world. That updo was sooooo good. Brides take note - I WANT TO DO THAT TO YOU!!!
I would kill to do Emma Watson's hair and makeup. Scarlet Johansen, Dakota Fanning and Christina Hendricks are right behind her.
Judy Dench or Catherine Zeta Jones... actresses who have been around longer and have a real handle on how they want to look and are beauty icons. Not too sure if I could get my hand to stop shaking long enough to get a decent lip line but they would be amazing to do hair and makeup for.
You worked with us on our first short film project '90 Days'. How was that experience and what was the difference for you doing makeup and hair for film as apposed to a photo shoot?
Working on 90 Days was one of the most challenging, exciting, fantastical experiences of my career this far. Because we shot in May, I was already booked all.weekend.long. And it was May long weekend. And I REFUSED to not be apart of it. It just wasn't an option. I was going to be there for 90 Days come hell or high water.
So the down side of the project was that it was definitely another case of spreading myself too thin. I didn't love that we were shooting until late when I had early morning clients. It was stressful having to do Ana and Julian's makeup quick fast and then rush across the city to another client and keep my fingers crossed that it would all look the same when I got back. But missing the shoot was not an option. And Paige was an AMAZING assistant, keeping an eye on everything while I was away.
The difference between the film and our lookbooks is always the continuity required for film. When things need to hold up and stay the same all weekend long, it really is best to work with what you've got and embrace the actors best features instead of trying to change or manipulate them. Because your hair (Ana!) is so excellent to work with, the looks really revolved around those changes as opposed to being makeup focused.
I'm generally able to take greater risks outside of film and I'm accustomed to making things look more 'done.' I really had to dial back and remember that Ana wasn't a model but a regular babe falling in love.
You never leave the house without your…
Cell phone. I bet you were expecting me to say something makeup related but I'm a forgetful slob and all I really need in life are pictures of my dog and the ability to put said pictures on Instagram. Lip gloss can wait until I get back home.
A makeup trend you wish would end and never ever come back? A makeup or hair trend you love?
I think that every beauty trend has it's place and application method to make it work. But I'm definitely not into the over contoured, heavy foundation and crazy heavy eye makeup look (a la Kim Kardashian) - especially during the day. I think women everywhere could do themselves a favour by dialling back and allowing themselves to be seen without makeup every now and again.
More than anything, makeup needs to be seen and worn in context. It's one thing to be an angry 15 year old experimenting with red eyeliner... which is exactly where I started off... but it's quite another thing to try and rock that look as a professional adult.
I love the fall trend of pony tails. So simple and silly to be considered a 'trend' because I don't think the pony ever went away. But I love that it's catching on as something more than what to do when you don't want to wash your hair. Pony tails can be chic and effortless and appropriate for everything from the laundromat to a gala. Seriously.
What makes you happy?
My family and friends.
Pepsi and good chocolate.
And beautiful eyebrows.
What is a makeup secret your mother taught you?
HA! Probably to ask someone else for advice. My mum is many things (all of those things, amazing!) but a makeup wearer, she is not.
When I was 12 and caught sneaking silver eye liner to school (and probably putting it on my lips some days. Seriously, I was W-E-I-R-D.) she took me straight to the Body Shop (known for extreme natural looks then) and had someone teach me how to match foundation, put on eyeliner and mascara and be kind to my skin. I promptly disregarded all of that advice, wore red eyeliner from Revlon's Streetwear collection exclusively and made my mum ashamed to have birthed me.
Eventually I got back to that initial lesson and today good, clean, natural makeup is the bread and butter of my business. To me, the most important part of beauty is loving what you've got and working with that. False lashes and bright lips and contoured skin is all great and fun and pretty but beauty is nothing without acknowledging exactly who you are.
My mum didn't teach me that through eyeliner and lipstick, but that message definitely comes from her. Way to go mum!
What are your favourite pieces at Bicyclette right now?
Ugh. Don't make me do it! I'm on a shopping ban right now!
We're going through a September heat wave and I should be holding on to the last vestiges of summer, because winter is the bane of my existence. But all I can think about are big cozy sweaters and boots with gold details. And that amazing black and blue rose dress!!!
Harry, Ron and Hermione.