The Mind Behind the Face: Naoko Scintu & FKA twigs

FKA twigs exists within a liminal space- one that fuses the worlds of dance, art, beauty and creative subversion.

The 29-year-old singer, dancer, producer, songwriter and director extends her messages and themes through all artistic channels, making sure avid consumers see her art, her music, as an all encompassing experience, not just an alt pop song with trippy visuals.

Eager to incorporate all mediums within her work, the artist often utilizes makeup as a tool to further her stories. Her stunning face, wide eyes, pouty lips and on-trend thick eyebrows, become more than a canvas, they become an organic three-dimensional story.

Differing from her contemporaries like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, who don fake lashes, bright lips and boast contracts with Cover Girl, twigs’ looks are the physical embodiment of subversion, pushing along her fringe themes and underground influences with bleached brows, metallic add ons and inorganic concepts.


Twigs’ concepts extend onto her face to her body and take over her movements. Perry’s makeup, although sometimes edgy, exists solely on a surface level, providing a disconnect with her try-hard pop music.

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Credit: @katyperry on Instagram

Perry’s makeup says one thing, her songs another. FKA twigs’ messages, all of them, are pieces to a larger puzzle and make up a singular cohesive theme. The artist crafts everything intensely, making sure she has total control over her perceived voice and her image, much unlike the current roster of pop singers who’s fates and decisions lie in the hands of their managers, labels, and pr teams.

FKA twigs reflects upon this phenomena, one of the inauthentic, semi-autonomous artist, in an interview with Allure in April of 2016.

 “Imagine if you were an artist that wasn’t being herself. Imagine you’re an artist that didn’t know how to do your own makeup, didn’t know how to do your own hair, didn’t know how to put an outfit together, didn’t write your own music, didn’t direct your own videos, didn’t produce your own music. They’re not artists. They’re vehicles, vessels. The majority of them are like that. Imagine how hard that must be.”

Twigs’ desire for control over her own being and her individual voice extend so far they prompted the dancer-singer-songwriter to take on the task of learning how to produce her own music.

Twigs’ knack for control stems from her inability to relay her outlandish and often surreal visions to others and have them fully understood. While speaking to Pret-A-Reporter, the singer said,

“For me it’s very important and even necessary to do everything myself. I mean, if I want something to sound woozy and sad, like a wizard who just stabbed his son, how do I tell the sound engineer what a wizardy synth should sound like?”

Naoko Scintu, a makeup artist who’s work frequents runways, editorials and red carpets, is the woman routinely entrusted to transfer twigs’ artistic visions onto the singer’s face.

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@naokoscintu: Going Out Out 🎉🎁🎂🎈🎉🎁🎈🍰🎂🎉Happy birthday @jamesmichaelbutterfield with @nickgroombridge

After meeting at a dinner party, Scintu and twigs began their professional relationship on a press shoot with photographer Dominick Sheldon.

Much like the multi-hyphenate FKA twigs, Scintu works hard, almost obsessively. Now represented by The Wall Group, the makeup artist studied under artistic legends Val Garland and Miranda Joyce. She now calls models Bella Hadid, Barbara Palvin and Karlie Kloss frequent clients.


All photos feature Scintu’s work

Scintu’s and FKA twigs’ collaborations have appeared on covers of magazines like ES, V and Complex, in major advertising campaigns like Calvin Klein’s monumental “I _____ in my Calvins” multimedia movement, within the singer’s “Pendulum” and “I’m Your Doll” music videos and on red carpets worldwide.


Scintu’s mastering of her art form means FKA twigs’ surrealist and particular visions are easily translated from the singer’s mind directly onto her organic medium.

Scintu, when speaking of the singer’s need to perfectly represent her visions to Mascara Wars, said,

“She definitely knows what she wants, she’s amazing in that sense and that’s one of the reasons I really love working with her. It’s not the same each time, it’s approached more like a fashion shoot. She’s bubbling over with ideas all the time, massively creative, she’s in control of everything but in such a brilliant way, such an artistic way that it’s just really inspiring. The way she likes things is how I  like them too, in terms of makeup, for instance the skin looking really real and dewy, so we’re always on the same page with that part. And then with different makeup looks we always approach it as a fashion shoot, even if it’s not, even if it’s a video. She’ll say ‘this is what I want, this is how we’re going to have it,’ and then I might say ‘well why don’t we try this’ and we’ll just kind of vibe off each other. But she definitely knows what she wants, which is great.”

The relationship between the two is not one that includes a muse, much like the dynamic between Kim Kardashian and her makeup artists Mario Dedivanovic, but a partnership that creates multidimensional art; a meeting of two minds on the same plane.

The two often reference art, music and fashion that predate FKA twigs’ career when coming up with elevated looks. For a performance during London’s 2015 fashion week, the two pulled inspiration from a 1996 John Galliano runway show that fused tribal face paint with modernity, resulting in models looking like warriors within a 90s video game. Other makeup inspo for the two includes the looks of Vogue dancer Willi Ninja.


Top: Makeup from john Galliano’s 1996 fashion show. Below: FKA twigs/Scintu’s inspired look.

Scintu and FKA twigs are part of a movement of women who know what they want and aren’t afraid of taking control to get the exact results they desire.

Androcentric worlds mean nothing to the two, as they conquer both of their respective realms one work of art and world stopping look at a time.


Here are Some Cool Articles to Read on FKA twigs and Naoko Scintu!

Naoko Scintu in Mascara Wars

FKA twigs’ Complex Cover Story

FKA twigs’ Rookie interview

FKA twigs in Allure

FKA twigs in Pitchfork




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