I am often asked "How I started out as a make-up artist and how I became successful" so I have decided to write a quick piece for you as to how I got started.
I have always had a passion for make-up, art, fashion and colour from as long as I can remember so following school it seemed the natural step to go on to do both a successful foundation art studies course at Camberwell college followed by a degree in hair & make-up at the prestigious London College of Fashion.
During my studies I worked part time as a MAC make-up artist which provided invaluable additional make-up skills. After studying I did indeed work full time for MAC for almost a year as a resident trainer. This role involved training artists on make-up application, customer service and hygiene. Whilst doing this I did an amazing training workshop with MAC in LA which to this day remains a high point of my career!
When I decided to leave MAC and work as a freelance Make-up artist the hard work and perseverance really kicked in. I had to do an awful lot of work for free to gain experience in the field and make contacts which you hope lead to further work but quite often do not. I have assisted various make-up artists to gain further knowledge, again unpaid and finally a lot of test shoots. Test shoots if you aren't familiar are an opportunity for you as well as the photographer, model and sometimes stylist to work together creatively to gain images for your portfolio. Test shoots sometimes work and you get beautiful images and sometimes they don't for whatever reason and you may not be able to use those images. As you can tell this is a long and hard process to go through and that is before you even get any paid work so you need to be 100% committed and supported by those around you.
I had an Agency represent me for three years and I think I felt I was successful when I managed to get an Agent as it can take a lot of phone calls and meetings initially to even get that far. I left my Agent this year as I like to be in control and organise what I do myself and knew I had enough experience, work and clients to go it alone. Gradually you do start getting more and more work and start to build clients that regularly work with you. I now mostly work for advertising campaigns and editorial magazines doing both fashion and beauty and real life/makeover shoots as this is the area I enjoy most. Clients include Shout, Red, Glamour, Prima , Boots, Argos and many more. There are many diverse areas of the make-up industry to work in so you really have to find what you enjoy most.
I will start with the low points in my career as I always like to end on a high! Being over an hour late for a shoot when everyone is waiting for the make-up artist to do their work so the shoot can get going has taught me to always leave at least two and half hours to get anywhere in London in rush hour. Being prepared to be quite poor for quite a while when starting out as it can be tough and literally have no shame when it comes to getting work sometimes badgering people may not be easy but it can get you a job.
The highs... LA for training, Milan for fashion week, London fashion week and other big London shows like Fashion Rocks and Armani One Night Only, and every single day I am on a shoot working I am always happy!