Before you ask: yes, that is Tiffany’s real surname. No, she didn’t change it to be the Alicia Keys of the fashion world. Yes, she gets asked that a lot.

There’s little fake about Tiffany Jeans. She is a familiar face behind the scenes on shoots, working the trifecta of make-up, hair and styling. Jeans was born in Hamilton before moving to Auckland at the age of four and as a child was “proudly into fashion but definitely not fashionable”. She was first pushed into make-up by former flatmate and photographer Leslie Jamieson in her late teens.

“Leslie asked me to go on shoots with her and watch make-up artists because she genuinely wanted me to become a make-up artist.

“So I did.”

Jeans watched. She learned. Her education comprised top make-up artists as teachers, fashion magazines as textbooks and exams were eschewed for relentless experimenting.

“I collect W and Vogue magazines which I have piled in and around the house, some in storage cause we were running out of room . . . I look through magazines and think, ‘That’s so cool.’ Then I just try it out, practising with different paints and foundations. Just figuring out how they’ve done it yourself. I still do that.”

Jeans hasn’t given a formal interview since a journalist called her a ‘showpony’ 10 years ago, but even the media deserve a second chance so here she is for NO. As for showponying – Jeans is so low-key she doesn’t even romanticise her extensive make-up assignments in New York.

“I’ve done a lot of travel, but when you get over there, you just work,” Jeans says. “I never went out that much.”

Although enjoying the breadth of people she meets overseas, Jeans counts working for New Zealand’s Miss Crabb as one of her favourite jobs. Jeans attributes her stylistic inspiration to the fashion designer, as well as Daphne Guinness, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss (“would love to do her make-up”) and her cousin Tahlia in Ngaruawahia. There is always a plethora of stimulus found close to home too.

“Today it was [5-year-old daughter] Lilith who inspired me with the glitter [for NO’s photo shoot]. She’s really into hair and make-up at the moment, and she had some glitter on her face and I thought ‘oh yeah’.” 

As far as make-up goes, that’s the least showpony thing you’ll read all day – and that’s the truth.


by Rebecca Gin  |  NO Magazine  |  Issue 2