Ask the Artist - A Career in Makeup
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
What made you become a makeup artist?
I was always a very creative person, I loved cinema and music videos and was very intrigued at the way that makeup, hair and costume could create a character and express their personality. A great example of this is Christina Aguilera’s ‘Fighter’ music video, where her mood and emotions are portrayed through the costume, makeup and hair styling. I loved seeing different actors and musicians transform in each music video or movie and wanted to be a part of that creative process.
When did you realise you wanted to be a makeup artist?
I think I was about 14 years old. It was that time at school where you take part in a careers programme to inspire you to think about what you want to do with your future. We’d do these online questionnaires which were supposed to identify our personal and academic skills and match them with various jobs and careers. I remember the result of my test was a cleaner!
I was disappointed, because inside I knew who I was inside - I was an artist! Unfortunately artistic careers weren’t really supported at that time. We were always told that they were too hard to succeed in, or that you couldn't make any money. But this didn't stop me, I knew inside that that’s what I wanted to be and followed my instinct.
Why did you choose makeup, over other types of creative careers?
There were several creative careers that I was interested in, including photography and art direction. I chose makeup because it was something that I already felt connected with. Makeup products were much more accessible to me and doing makeup reminded me a lot of painting, which I had always loved as a child. Putting makeup on people was a way to bring my paintings and creations to life!
What experience do you have in the makeup industry?
I have 10 years of experience in the makeup industry. I have worked on fashion shows, magazine editorials, TV commercials, brand campaigns and music videos. I have done makeup for celebrity red carpet events, special occasions and private parties. As well as being a makeup artist I am also a professional body painter and I am invited regularly to host makeup workshops and masterclasses around the world - most recently, in Malaysia with Enya Mareine.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from many things such as my mood, my surroundings and the energy from the people and environment around me. I have even been inspired by colours and shapes I’ve seen in my dreams! I have a vivid imagination and sometimes I can feel colours, shapes and texture when I listen to music.
How many years did it take to reach your current position?
I have been a makeup artist for 10 years. But, I would say it took 6-7 years (and a lot of hard work and dedication), to reach this position.
Is your makeup career what you expected?
I think so, yes. Well, there are always some things that surprise you! When I started out I didn't really have too much of an expectation. I just took each day as it came and learned from every experience.
Do you think you you have reached ‘perfection’ in your job?
I don’t believe there is such thing as perfection, in any form. I think it's unrealistic and an endless pursuit. In some ways I think it can motivate you to keep improving, but at the same time it can leave you feeling like you're not good enough or that you 'haven't made it'. It's important to sometimes just be still and present. It took me years to learn how to do that, but now I have realised that life is about balance, not perfection. There will always be highs and lows, times where everything feels just right, and times when it doesn’t.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself?
Be careful of who you trust. Not everyone has the same motives as you or thinks in the same way that you do. This industry is very competitive and some people will do anything to get what they want.
Would you go back and change your career?
No, I am happy with my career and I love going to work everyday. I wouldn’t want to change that for anything else!
How long do you think a makeup artist can continue their career?
I think a good makeup artist can continue their career for as long as they like. I don't think there’s a time limit. It’s all about you as an artist. If you get to a point where you are unsure if you should continue, you need to ask yourself questions like: Do you still love what you do? Are you still inspired? Are you still interested in experimenting with new techniques and keeping up to date with what’s going on in the industry. Do you care about about your clients, or are you over it? I think then the answer becomes clear.
What would you ask a professional makeup artist? Submit your questions in the comments box below!