Aoife McDermott’s art is an irresistible mix of space-aged vibrancy and cute vintage pin-up. She’s based in Ireland, goes by the name Barbarella Bunny and dedicates her creations to toying with, bending and breaking the rules for girls.
This creator is unafraid of colour, so it’s hardly surprising that her makeup skills are also electrifying. Overflowing with positive vibes, she’s a firm believer in the importance of girl-power.
Slapp caught up with the up-and-coming artist, to talk: femininity, lip products, and vintage film stars.
Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
I think so. Although, when I was younger I had a dream to just ride motorbikes everywhere, but sadly that’s not exactly a career option! Growing up, I did know I was the arty one, people would say “Aoife could you put something together for me?” and I found myself more and more confident in it.
How would you define your style?
I don’t know, fun I suppose? I always try to keep things vibrant and colourful; and that’s more of a personal choice than it seems. It’s my own type of feminine and sometimes, I play with pop culture and sexuality and stuff. I find it hard to describe, but it’s all about what I enjoy.
You go by the handle @BarbarellaBunny; have you always been influenced by cult pop culture?
Oh god, definitely. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t in any way influenced by pop culture. I absolutely love the film Barbarella, Jane Fonda: what a gal! I also fell in love with the pop culture version of space. That’s fun too. Fun but so scary! How they imagined space in old movies - I especially love that.
What inspires you to create?
I would do particular pieces inspired by Irish politics, because there’s a lot to push against, especially with the influence the church has. I do react to things like repealing old laws, but generally I just create to create. I have to do it to express myself.
You often celebrate classically girly visuals and themes, what does empowerment mean to you and how do you spread it?
I think the definition of girl power has changed a lot, especially in this day and age when you’re trying to be more inclusive. I’m trying to educate myself and get the right sort of girl power, it’s so important to empower and recognise those that struggle to feel empowered. The pink visual was something I was attracted to growing up, I had three brothers so there was never any pink; when I got to it, pink was a thing just for me, I chose to embrace it.
What are your experiences of diversity in the beauty industry?
I’m not fully versed in the ins and outs of the industry, but what I do know is that while you can see more and more people trying to become more inclusive, there are consumers still struggling to find the colours just to match their skin. It’s better than it was, but there’s room for improvement.
Who are your beauty heroes?
Well definitely Jane Fonda. Someone who I think is a classic beauty but quite problematic is Brigitte Bardot, too. I committed to her whole hairdo at one point! The Late 60’s stuff with dynamic eyeliner and big lashes was beautiful in aesthetic to me.
What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
Being able to open my own little shop has been huge! Having people wanting to support my stuff inspires me to create even more. It’s only the beginning for me.
What’s a beauty product you can’t live without?
Lipstick! Actually, you have to have two. You need a really bright, vivid colour that pops, and then you need just one nude shade that matches you perfectly and goes with everything.
What is signature to your look?
Dramatic lipstick, haha!
With lips I’ve always really over-lined them. I used to have an amazing eyeliner game but I got lazy, I hope to regain it one of these days…
Can you share an early beauty memory or mistake with us?
Ohhh… when I was younger I remember first starting to try out makeup, and no one ever offers to buy you things, you’ve just gotta go foraging in your mother’s stuff, and I remember breaking into my mum’s stash, that she kept for going out only, and I picked up a load of this foundation that was way too dark for me… oh god it was a mess.
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product what would it be?
I think we already know what the answer is…
What would your advice be to young creatives?
It’s really important to not ever ever ever give up. As tiring as it can be sometimes, don’t get to comparing yourself to people too much, just stick with it and keep practising whatever “it” may be. You will see results, you will get there.
Follow Aoife at: @barberellabunny