Each month we take the opportunity to sit down with some wonderful women and ask them questions on life, fashion, their careers and what inspires them. A moment to listen and learn, over an aperitif, and an occasional boujee fry...


This month we had an A&A with the one and only Renee Hay – Make-Up Artist (MUA)

Location: Pink Lady Rooftop Bar, Level 7, The Muse Hotel, Christchurch

We ate: Boujee Fries

We drank: Makers Anonymous Prosecco

We meet Renee in the lobby of The Muse Hotel and the first thing we notice is how she has neatly matched her mask to her outfit. A neutral suede to complement her Penny Sage trench, lilac Neuw Jonesy singlet & square toe Bronwyn Stella sandals, in shade, Apple.

Directed to the lift, we make our way up seven levels to the Pink Lady Rooftop bar…there’s hot pink neon signage, a central bar filled with bottles of rose, balearic tunes and that 360 skyline… A little giddy to be finally out post lockdown, we order & chat beauty, fashion, inspiration & the challenges & opportunities the industry is finding living in these current times.

Introducing, Renee Hay MUA – Unmasked.


A&A: Who in your life has taught you the most about beauty and fashion?

Renee: Billy. Billy is my mum’s best friend who I have known since I was about two years old. When we moved to Christchurch from Hokitika we lived together for about two years when I was nine. We would read Vogue together & watch fashion shows like Benson and Hedges. He would do my makeup & we would put on our very own runway shows and do photoshoots. He always had the most amazing clothes. Also, my mum, who although barely wears makeup, is a product lover and has always taken great care of herself and had a love of fashion.

Since then, I was always going to work in either fashion, hairdressing, or make-up. As it turns out, I have actually done all of these, and he was an influence in them all. He is one of my fave people in the world, I love him! I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like to but when I do, we party way too much!

A&A: Who are your wardrobe icons?

Renee: There are probably a few as I find my taste can change depending on the day. I find myself gravitating to British style such as Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Their style is effortless and not overdone. Also, Jessie Bush a kiwi who lives in London. All of them also have a peeled back glamour plus they are in their 30’s so a great place for me to aspire to. Sometimes I like things a bit OTT and have to reel it in. I’m trying to buy more classic pieces and less fashion trend led items, that will pass by too fast.

A&A:  What is your favourite piece of clothing and what is the story behind it?

Renee: My Marc by Marc Jacobs knee high biker boots that would be about 12 years old…however, due to moving house or something, I can’t find them. Anywhere. I miss them so much. Last season was the season I thought I could wear them again and then damn, I can’t. Military style with the tabs at the top, a little baggy and sitting just under the knee … anyone reading this if you have a pair, I am a size 39…

A&A: Tell us, what is the trick to creating flawless looking skin?

Renee: Prep prep prep! Good skincare FIRST! Look after your skin, exfoliate…I actually like using chemical exfoliants a couple of times a week…Dr Dennis Gross extra strength peel pads are my current go-to…and then a really good serum suited to your skin…I go between Drunk Elephant vitamin C serum and Emma Lewisham Skinreset serum. And then just a good moisturiser…Skin Food Light by Weleda is reasonably priced and so moisturizing. Then use a nice light base for day-time, concealer over the top just in the places you need extra coverage. Sometimes less is more. I always focus on creating luminous skin and this really does start with skin prep. Plus always sunscreen such as Mecca To Save Face spf 30. Prevention is key!

A&A: Heading into summer 21/22 what’s instore for lips? New Colours?

Renee: Well whilst we are still all wearing masks, paint on lip colours are a must as they stay put…I am looking at ordering in some of the Fenty Stunna Lip Paint and tonight I’m wearing the Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick in shade, Beso – and as you can see, doesn’t come off when your mask does.  She jokes with a new ad riff, ‘It doesn’t come off on his collar…or on your mask…!!’ Haha!

I also recommend a lip liner and a lip balm too which helps it stay put. In terms of lip colour trends, they aren’t massively changing in the times we are living in so I am paying more emphasis on the eyes, making them really pop!

A&A: How would you describe your mood when you are working?

Renee: Happy, bubbly and energized! I love people so I get a lot of energy through my clients and colleagues and that energy feeds my creativity. I enjoy being near so many different people and love the variety.

A&A: What moment in your career are you most proud of?

Renee: When I opened the first Christchurch Mecca store as the manager, in Ballantynes. Being part of bringing such an esteemed brand to Christchurch was a really proud moment.

A&A: Answer this: ‘Beauty is…………………..”

Renee: Beauty is…oh shit…(takes a sip of bubbles)…all of us. Beauty, is, all of us.

A&A: What’s one piece of advice you wish you could share with your teenage self?

Renee: Don’t spend so much time sweating the small stuff.

A&A: How has Covid 19 effected your business?

Renee: I find it harder to break the barrier between me & the client, to make them feel more comfortable in the chair, because they can’t see my immediate smile and feel the warmth. I also don’t feel that I talk as much…that could be a good thing though, I’m a chatty Cathy! Thinking about it though, I then use that energy to channel into my creativity more…it helps to keep me on track actually and that’s a real positive. Masks are very restrictive, and it takes a lot of energy to actually even wear one. And it’s so hot!

Covid 19 has had a huge effect on my business and the entire beauty and retail industry. A huge percentage of my work has been either cancelled or postponed indefinitely and when you rely on literal face to face contact, events going ahead, weddings, fashion shoots etc for your livelihood, it can become one of those life changing, career questioning moments in time. I love what I do and I am fortunate to have come out of two lockdowns, still able to maintain my business, I am just acutely aware that I need to keep thinking positive, keep out there and be mindful of evolving & adapting with the times.

A&A: What’s instore for Renee Hay in 2022?

Renee: With so much change happening with lockdown and continuing shifts in levels, I am going to have to take some time to reflect on my business and create more of a game plan for building a new side of the business, new ideas…new opportunities…rethinking the wheel…looking for opportunities in new places…the world has changed and I need to adapt with that change.


You can find Renee Hay & her beautiful work on IG & FB - @reneehaymua

For bookings & enquiries: reneehaymua@gmail.com