It is also my career and my livelihood.
For those of you who are aspiring makeup gurus, who spend hours a day either watching YouTube makeup tutorials, making YouTube makeup “how to” videos or practicing applying your best Kardashian highlight and contour glam face, the thought and desire of becoming a professional makeup artist may make you bat your lashes.
Palette of Possibilities
Well, I’m here to let you know that there is a colorful palette of possibilities that expand beyond the salon or beauty counter. You can explore opportunities doing makeup in fashion, body and face painting, theatre, film, television, video (corporate/industrial), commercials, print as well as special events/occasions.
The art of makeup is more than just beauty makeup – highlight and contour, lips and lashes! When I first started out over 25 years ago, I somehow finagled an interview with the head makeup artist at Fox in Los Angeles, Franz Hahn. I’ll never forget him. He was kind and gracious and shared priceless information with me. I showed up in a skirt and heels in full hair and makeup. I was so focused on just beauty makeup. I had a handheld portfolio of Polaroid pictures of “before and after” beauty shots. He is probably still laughing, though he never made me feel as green as I was. He gave me a tour of the entire studio and makeup department. He spent at least an hour with me, sharing the ins and outs of the industry. He opened my eyes to all the specialties of makeup artistry; beauty: natural, fashion, glam; theatrical: character, old age; basic FX/special effects – cuts, scars, bruises, burns, bald caps, beards, bullet wounds and prosthetics: using sculpting, molding and casting techniques to create advanced physical, cosmetic visual effects.
Tips for Success!
So once you’ve honed your creative skills in whichever makeup specialties excite and inspire you, there are a few fundamental skills that I believe are imperative to being a successful makeup artist in the real world that have nothing to do with your makeup skills, or experience, or how many followers you have on Instagram. The main thing to always remember is: it’s a business, and your people skills are as valuable… if not more so… than your artistic talents. Check your ego – unless you are doing a test shoot for your book or it’s your production, it’s not about what you want; it’s about what your client needs you to create. And the time you take to create it does matter (there’s a schedule to keep). Be responsible and reliable – show up on time with everything you need, and then have what I like to call a “let’s make a deal” bag. (It was a TV show a long time ago where the host would ask people in the audience for random, bizarre things and they would get a prize if they had it in their purse.) Basically, having other essentials that may be useful that the talent/model or the client/producer/director may ask for. Take care of your talent (I’m referring to the actor, model or person you are doing makeup on). When they feel good they do better; when they do well, the day goes well – everyone is happy. Another thing in business: you’ll need to be a good money manager. You’ll need to know how to do invoicing, send them out in a timely fashion, follow up and keep track of your money. Lastly but not least, something that most of this generation of talent is already awesome with is self- promotion and marketing. However, I still believe it’s beneficial to make a phone call or introduce yourself in person. Don’t forget to follow up, say “thank you” for the opportunity. Be gracious, share your talent and make this world a more beautiful place. Shine your shine!
Pamela Zwick, the makeup lady