Commemorating Makeup Artist Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward

As the news of Ashley Ward’s too soon passing from cancer settles, wanted to put on a final remembrance of the beloved makeup artist. Her many friends within the industry speaks of her character and her respected status as a passionate creative led to a successful career of over 25 years – beautifying supers across the board from Moss to Le Bon to Lindvall. Ward’s nature was a perfect example of an ideal team member and of a rare breed, one full of love and artistry. To that, friends of Ashley, Lesley Macleod, Sam McKnight, Nathalie Everard and Kenneth Willardt reflect on their memories of her.

images courtesy of One Represents

Lesley Macleod, Art Dept

How did you meet Ashley?

I joined Art Dept in Sept 2001 to run the hair and makeup division and Ashley worked a lot with one of their photographers Richard Phibbs and was ready to join when I came over. We connected instantly.

How would you describe her?

She was so full of life! She was the mom! Always taking care of people on set. She would nurture everyone; she made sure everyone felt the most comfortable and welcomed on the set. She was just a pro! Vogue UK quoted it perfectly,”Ward’s generous personality and great talent made her a popular figure in the fashion and beauty world.” Another great quote from Sam McKnight that also sums it up, “Ashley was not just an enormously creative make-up artist. She was much more than that. She loved this creative world we inhabit, not only making the girls (or boys) up to perfection, she made everyone she touched feel at once beautiful and relaxed in her chair, laughing and joking all day.

What do you think made her a success in the industry?

She loved what she did! And she used to tell me that skin was her speciality. It was all about the skin! But a photographer also told me that Ashley understood the whole picture. She of course did a beautiful and flawless job on the makeup but also understood about the image the photographer was trying to capture.

Did she ever tell you why she loved what she did?

She loved skin! And makeup. She loved her job!

Did she ever refer to particular shoots as her favorite?

Beauty shoots for sure, but she was happy on any shoot that had a good crew. She also loved the great trips and places they would go to on shoots with Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated to swim exotic beaches! She loved the water and sand.

Do you have a fondness for any piece of work of hers in particular?

Her beauty images that she did with Patric Shaw, Robin Derrick and Kenneth Willardt.

What will be your lasting memory of her… ?

Her smile and her crazy sense of humor. She loved to laugh and have a good time! She also was always dressed to the nines: High Manolo heels and her amazing red lip! She was the very best! she will be missed by everyone! Rest peacefully my darling Ashley…

Yasmin Le Bon for Red Magazine by Jonty Davies

Sam McKnight, Hair Stylist 

How did you meet Ashley?

I met Ashley in the early nineties in NYC. I think I was introduced by a mutual friend Laurent Philippon and I remember that although I was on crutches because I’d had a knee op, we managed to eat in Indochine, then ended up in the Roxy. Good times indeed.

How would you describe her?
Ashley was a brilliant creative make up artist; a kind, generous, and loyal friend and always the life and soul of the party. She had a wicked sense of humour and we laughed a lot. We spent the last ten summers together with friends in Ibiza, from where I am writing this, still not quite believing that Ashley won’t be picking flowers from the garden and placing them on our beds and all over the house.

What do you think made her a success in the industry?
Ashley had a keen eye for unexpected and finely applied colours in her work and as well as painting faces beautifully and bringing out the best in her models, she loved photography and was always interested in the whole photographic process, lighting, composition etc, and was always a huge asset to the team. She made us laugh so much with her jokes backstage, and her dressing room dancing is legendary.

How was working with her? Any favorite shoots?
One of my favourite shoots with Ashley was a trip for a Japanese diamond company in LA with the lovely Paulina Porizkova and Bruce Willis, and of course the down time was spent singing in the van. We changed the song “Bear Necessities” into “Hair Accessories” which I still sing to this day!

What will be your lasting memory of her… ?
Ashley was an old school sexy Glamour Puss, never to be seen without her high heels and red lips. I will miss that unique blend of glamour and fun. I will miss my dear friend Ashley.

Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer for Vogue Turkey by Cuneyt Akeroglu

Nathalie Everard, Chanel

“Ashley was always an absolute delight to work with, her positivity shone through and she was full of light and energy. She was incredibly caring and generous with her time, always giving recommendations about amazing places to travel to and places to see. We all always had such fun spending time with her, it didn’t feel like work, she had the best stories, and days spent with her at CHANEL events were full of laughter. Ashley was fearless with her creativity, never afraid to try something new and push boundaries, and is an irreplaceable talent and friend.”

Eva Herzigova for Elle Czech Republic by Branislav Simoncik

Kenneth Willardt, Photographer

How did you meet Ashley?

I was so lucky to meet Ashley through a wonderful mutual friend, Becky Fields.

How would you describe her?

Ashley was one of the most kind and funny persons I’ve ever been so lucky to meet. After having the pleasure of working with her, we instantly became good friends.

What do you think made her a success in the industry?

She was an incredible artist and a beautiful person.

How was working with her, any favorite shoots?

One of my most vivid memories I have of us working together, it was in Rio. We shot on a huge yacht and at an amazing house, the views were beautiful. The crew was amazing and joyful–I miss those days of innocence and pureness.

What will be your lasting memory of her… ?
I’m so lucky to have many great memories of her – and I’m sure where she is now, that she’s surround by love and creativity, just like she was here.


Ashley Ward and friends, photo from kenneth-willardt

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Related Posts: