I must have told this story a zillion times! But for anyone that hasn’t heard it, here’s how I became a Makeup Artist! (This will be my longest blog, promise!)
Firstly, I didn’t ever anticipate it. You might not believe me if I told you I was a total tomboy as a kid & the first time someone put mascara on me, I was 16….and I went and scrubbed it off. After my GCSE’s, I went to 6th Form to do my A Levels in French, Biology, Psychology & PE. After that I trotted off to Leeds Met University to do a 3 year Psychology degree. Perfect start for a makeup artist…
As I was finishing college & all the way through Uni, I would say that I was really interested in makeup. I loved all of the different colours, and had found that wearing just a little makeup, I could make myself feel 10 times better about myself. So in my 3rd year, on a whim, I applied online for a job at both Benefit Cosmetics & MAC Cosmetics. More because I was totally skint than anything else. I somehow managed to get interviews for both. Due to lack of (no) experience, I didn’t get the job at MAC. However, I got a the job at Benefit. You may be thinking *how* with no experience. The interview at Benefit was a practical interview, I had to traffic stop customers in a Debenhams Store, sit them down & try 4 products on them. Can you imagine how nervous I was? Never trained & my only knowledge was what I had read online about the products! Shaky hands galore. Anyway, turns out I’m pretty good with people. I imagined in my head that the customers were people I knew & had such a good time with them, I ended up selling a ridiculous amount of products. So they gave me the job.
4 months later (September), I got an unexpected call from the Assistant Manager at MAC Cosmetics. She asked me if I was still working at Benefit, told me she thought I had a great interview last time, and now I have more experience, would I consider coming to re-interview. Absolute worldy!
So I got a Christmas Temp position at MAC in Selfridges, Trafford Centre. After Christmas, they kept me on. For the first year, I was learning. There were times when I wanted to jack it in, I felt so under-confident with my level of artistry in comparison to others. I also still wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to do makeup as a profession anyway…At one point, I was actually interested in joining the Event Planning team at head office. It wasn’t until one day, about a year in, when I woke up, and I had been sub-consciously planning what makeup I would wear to work that day. I could see the look I wanted in my minds eye, and I actually knew how to put it together. That day, a manager pulled me to one side, telling me she was so impressed with how my makeup skill was developing. My buzzing mind automatically started planning the next day’s makeup.
Anyway, the rest is pretty much history. I was absolutely hooked – the products, colours, brushes, textures, I had become obsessed with makeup. And I hadn’t even realised. MAC is an amazing company to work for. So much training, so many amazing artists, so much structure & progression. I was so inspired, all the time!
Around this time, I started wearing different looks every day & posting them on my Instagram & Facebook page. I think it sounds so cringe, but I literally couldn’t wait to put a new makeup look on my face. Totally addicted! I also started to freelance, with clients outside of MAC. I was building up a client base around Manchester, getting to know hair stylists, photographers, stylists & other makeup artists.
Meanwhile, at MAC, there is a progression route for Artists. There are all different Certifications you can pass which can lead you to different opportunities. At the end of my second year at MAC, I wanted to get on to the Event Team. This is a small, select group of extremely talented Artists from the UK, who are sent to represent MAC at industry events. To get on this, I would have to pass my Advanced Certifications 1 & 2, first time. Terrifying. These certifications are so difficult to pass, especially when you are being closely watched by MAC’s Senior Artists. They will give you an image of a piece of makeup to re-create. The re-creation has to be identical, or you don’t pass. That’s it. Anyway, somehow, I kept my focus, and passed both!
During my time on the MAC Event Team, I was sent to work on TV drama’s, on TV musicals, with the BBC, ITV, backstage at London Fashion Week, backstage at the Graduate Shows at London Royal College of Art. Unbelievable opportunities, it was amazing!
I spent my 3rd and final year at MAC, working still at Selfridges Trafford, and also on the Event Team. However, my freelance work outside of MAC was growing and becoming more and more time consuming. I was doing weddings, shoots, proms, party makeups, lessons – the works! I was going months without a day off. So, sadly, I made the decision to leave MAC. I left three years to the week, and opened up my Popup Studio the week after. No rest for the wicked hey.
And that’s where I’m based now…kind of. I have the Studio in North Manchester where I paint faces for all kinds of occasions, I teach 1-1 lessons, Watch-and-Learn Seminars & Interactive Seminars. I do work, mobile, all over the UK though too. In a nutshell, I zoom around like a loony, making people feel glamorous. Couldn’t love it more!