Monday, November 16, 2009

How I became a makeup artist

I'm often asked how to become a makeup artist, here's how I did it. This may not work for everyone but it did for me.

I started before it became a really popular career, before there were lots of schools and information on the subject. I somehow just knew or maybe I was just being cheeky by asking, but I contacted photographers whose names I had seen in magazines and asked if I could test with them. Most said no but then one gave me a break and he was a very well known music photographer in London. After testing with him for a few months he gave me my first job, a shoot with a rock band called The Quireboys. It was an amazing day and I knew then that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I continued testing with other photographers and building my book (industry term for portfolio). I also got my kit together by buying whatever I could afford and asking for makeup for birthday and Christmas presents.

After a little while I was working with a model one day who gave me the number of a photographer she thought I'd be good for. I called him and although he was very abrupt on the phone and barked 'send me your card', I did. Six months later I got a call out of the blue from a national daily paper asking to book me for a fashion shoot with a star from the most popular TV soap. I said yes straight away but wondered how they'd heard of me. I turned up to the shoot and it was the photographer that I'd sent my card to six months previously. I did the job and he asked to talk to me after. He said he loved my makeup and there was a young violinist that he knew that needed a makeup artist and that he would introduce me. Even though I was excited, I'd had offers of help before that hadn't amounted to anything. A few weeks later he called and said they wanted to meet me and see my book. I went to the violinist's house and showed my book and they liked it but said they wanted to have a trial run with me and they'd call me. Well the next week the call came and I went to do the makeup. After I'd done it, they said come with us and the next thing I knew we were at the BBC for her to appear on Blue Peter (a huge children's show in the UK). She was Vanessa Mae, I hadn't realised when I met her that she was actually a rising star! From there I went everywhere with her as her personal makeup artist. We traveled all over the world and it was an amazing experience and made me realize that as much as I love all sorts of makeup, it's great to be working with someone that you know what they like, know their face well. You can experiment with different looks with them because they trust you.

I've been lucky that since then I've worked regularly with different bands and personalities and have been personal makeup artist to quite a few. My job has taken me all over the world and enabled me to experience things I never would sitting in the dug out at Yankee Stadium (my Dad was jealous of that one!), being on a private plane in a storm in Finland (not the best experience), shark diving with a boy band in South Africa, being at the side of the stage at numerous concerts with bands I've admired and of course being taken on by my agent in America and fulfilling a lifelong dream of living in the US. I now have achieved another goal in my career and that is a cosmetics campaign - Hourglass Cosmetics this year. I'm not sure where the rest of my career will take me but that is the exciting part, you never know what you will be doing next!