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Gee Pikinga

Level 4 Certificate in Hairdressing & Level 5 Diploma in Makeup


What did you love about Cut Above?

I loved Cut Above for creating a safe space that accepts and celebrates all of its students, especially LGBTQIA+, and the deep-rooted feeling of whanaungatanga imparted to its tauira, by its staff.

What did you learn from Cut Above that helped your career decisions and opportunities?

I learnt from my tutors not only the skills that I acquired as a student, but a greater sense of self and who I was. Being able to train under such influencial role models that too were LGBTQIA+, re-affirmed that my chosen industry was actually meant for me. It is my purpose, and I was home.

Where are you working now?

I am a Trainer at Cut Above Academy, City Campus, the New Zealand Makeup Director for Maybelline New York, and have my own freelance Makeup and Hairstyling business.

Who are your style icons?

Yohji Yamamoto, Andre Leon Talley, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Isabella Blow, Dapper Dan

Who influences your work?

Anyone who is expressing their creative genius freely and unapologetically. It could be an amazing artist like Pat McGrath one minute. It could be a busker or street performer the next. It could be poetry I've read. It could even be one of my own students that inspires me to create art. I have an extremely reflective spirit that finds metaphor and meaning in all facets of life, that continue to inspire my work as an artist.

Do you avidly follow fashion week in Paris, New York, Japan?

Absolutely, it is one of my obsessions. I am however not oblivious that major shows by the most celebrated names in fashion are art blended with business and fiscal gain, so I find myself more inspired by the more underground, less commercial visionaries out there trying to survive in a climate that is so heavily influenced by creating sellable pieces at the cost of creating authentic pieces of art.

What do you love about the world of makeup artistry and hairstyling?

Every day we get to create a new reality through our own fantasy, how cool is that?!

Do you prefer one over the other?

I love hairdressing and miss being 'on the floor' on occasion - getting to make clients look and feel good about themselves. But I am an artist through and through, and makeup gives me something every day, that hair can give me once in a while. The gratification of being able to create or see temporary moments of fashion in all of its brilliance with the stroke of a brush gives me chills.

You are the NZ makeup director for Maybelline New York, now lead makeup artist on the first season of Project Runway New Zealand – is there anything else you want to achieve?

Continued spiritual growth and happiness.

What are you goals now?

To share what I have been blessed to receive with anyone who sees a tiny glimmer of themselves in me.

Programmes completed
(Graduated in 2011)

  • Level 4 Cert. in Makeup
  • Level 3 Cert. Hairdressing
  • Level 4 Cert. Hairdressing
  • Level 5 Diploma Makeup