Four buses had driven past without stopping. I was running late. When I finally arrived at the West End cafe I was 10 minutes behind schedule. As I walked in the door my phone buzzed and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one having a bad afternoon. Phew. Claire and I ended up arriving at the same time. Things only got better from that point as I ordered a cup of tea and got to know the delightful, open book that is Claire Louise Leonard.

Name: Claire Louise Leonard
Website: or
Instagram: @ClaireLouiseLeonard

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I am a makeup artist, stylist and a beauty therapist. I’ve been doing makeup for about seven years now. I took a break from freelance to start Black Dove, a gym, spa and clinic in West End, my first business. Now that the business is fending for itself I’m getting back into doing some freelance again and I’m loving it.

How did you get involved with RAW Brisbane?
I was approached by RAW to do this showcase and I was super chuffed. I’d never heard of RAW before. I think it’s amazing and I think it’s awesome that its happening in Brisbane. I’ve done some different runway things before, makeup for photoshoots and competitions and I really enjoy doing the more creative side of makeup. It gives me an opportunity to really think outside the square.

Do you get to collaborate much in your work?
I’m surrounded by an amazing group of creative friends – hairdressers, photographers, stylists. I’m really lucky. I think because I’ve been passionate about this for years, it’s more something that people know I’m involved in. We then have a talking point to start with and  then we go on to form a friendship.

What’s been one of your favourite projects?
My last project was really fun. I did a collaborative project with my partner, a photographer, my best mate, a hairdresser friend and a whole bunch of my really good-looking friends. I wanted to have a rough idea of what I wanted to do for RAW, so I pulled some people together for a practice run.

I’m astounded at how easy it was and it was so much fun. There was nothing riding on it, it was just experimenting. I haven’t had that opportunity for a long time. When you are working in the industry you are working towards something. When you are working on a job you are working on a brief and working to a budget. This project was mine and I could do what I wanted. Just tweaking ideas and changing things allows me to learn.

Where do you look when you are looking for new ideas?
I’m obsessed with Instagram and I love Pinterest. I’m a very visual person. I also like We Heart It, when it’s not being teenage-angsty. Getting lost in blog land is amazing. I really love The Sartorialist and I love Fashion Toast and the way that she writes. I think that inspires me more than her photos do!