Belgian-born Moroccan makeup artist Sammy Mourabit masterfully peers into the soul of his subjects to blur the line between the familiar and the fantastic.
By Jon Roth
Photography Steven Klein
Almost from the beginning, Sammy Mourabit has been fascinated with the human face: its textures and contours, the angle of a cheekbone or the jut of a jaw. Certainly, that’s evident in his massive body of work. Over the past 30 years, the makeup artist has left few facets of the visual world untouched - taking his vaunted talents from the old-world tradition of opera and ballet to the glossy sheen of fashion editorials. But even before he picked up a brush, Mourabit was an earnest student of the human form. In his earliest years, he seriously considered becoming a plastic surgeon.
Years of experience have given him a wide-ranging skillset, from wig making and prosthetics to stage makeup and runway-ready looks.
There’s too much work to summarize it neatly. But it may be in film where his talents shine most
Mourabit moves deftly between the outlandish and the approachable. He does this because he’s a professional who can read a client’s needs, sure, but he’s an empath who can read his subjects, too.
“I listen to their soul and their pain and create a visual that fits them perfectly. It all depend who is sitting in front of me. It's a powerful process, that exchange between two human beings.” – Sammy Mourabit