For some, working in high fashion and doing makeup for celebrities is the highest echelon available within our industry. It is a side of the job that almost makes the artist a celebrity in their own right. It is fun, flashy and you get to meet a lot of amazing people.

But, is it attainable? There are those who believe that working at this level is a right received for the privileged few, those who have paid their dues and can do no wrong with a brush and color. There are also those who believe that an education in makeup will hurl open the doors and they will be turning away celebrities because their calendar is so full. The truth is, like most things, probably somewhere in the middle.

There are no rights or wrongs in how you choose to pursue your career, but if becoming a celebrity makeup artist or working in high fashion is on your wish list, you will need to live where the celebrities are. In that case, you have three choices.

Go where the celebrities are to become a successful celebrity makeup artist

  • First, move to one of the big cities with Runway, film, TV and theatre abounding, and get to work networking and showing everyone how amazing you are.
  • Second, get an agent who can book you work in one of these cities and who has the pull to get the client to fly you there and back.
  • Third, move to one of the places where the big stars vacation and land the client that way! For some, a celebrity client will come fast, for others, it could take decades.

In my career, it was never a major goal of mine, it just happened as a side effect of having worked as an actor myself. It happens differently for everyone. All I can say is, be prepared. If you do makeup well, which you will from having taken the QC course and practised the material, you will be armed to work at a very high level.

If a major job does not happen for you right away, don’t fret. Keep working on everyone you can, keep sharpening the basic skills and learning new ones. As a makeup artist, no job is a bad job. Anytime you have a brush in your hand, you have the opportunity to grow. The more you know, the more you develop, the more people you meet and the more passion you display, the more likely you will be to land the job or the client you have been waiting for.

If you are working hard and pushing yourself on a daily basis, not landing the big job will not be a reflection on your talent. It just means the time hasn’t come yet. If you are not working hard and just waiting for it to happen for you, well, keep waiting (and perhaps consider another career).

Shortcut for Getting into Celebrity Makeup Artistry

There is a shortcut that might help you to get some celebrity clients faster. If you are able to develop a solid relationship with an artist who works with celebrities, you may be able to get a job assisting. In most cases, this will have you in the room with the artist as they work on the celebrity client. But sometimes, it allows you to prep that clients face, etc. This is valuable because you can learn just how to behave in those situations and if the artist you are working with sees your skill, they very well may recommend you either to their agent, or to a celebrity who they cannot see due to another booking. Assisting may be one of the best ways to open the door to your first celebrity.

There are two huge things you need to possess if you want to have a career with celebrities. First, be great at what you do. If your makeup skills have finess, a point of view and are consistently great, you are 70% of the way there. If you are a kind person and a great listener, you are another 10% of the way there. If you treat people with respect, work hard, keep your brushes clean, and really understand the power of newtorking, there will be very little that can stop you from achieving your goals.

Yes, this is a competitive industry, and yes, the higher profile the job, the more competitive it can become. But, everyone started somewhere. Every one started with a dream or an idea and took one step. If you want to work in high fashion or with celebrities, I invite you to pick up your brushes, hold tight to your training and dreams, and take that first step. You dreams can be your life.

What are some of your makeup career goals? Do you dream of one day working with celebrities or in high fashion? What are some of the steps you’re taking to get there? Let us know in a comment!

Nathan Johnson

Author Nathan Johnson

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Lyda Plummer says:

    I am a full time performer who has picked up makeup as a passion within the past 3 years. Being able to do my own makeup perfectly has been a load off of my back for when I perform. Within the past year, I’ve grown a huge interest in doing makeup for film! Doing makeup for actors in theatre sparked the interest.I currently live in Tx, but when I finish school I plan on traveling (especially to the big cities where opportunities are). Working as a celebrity makeup artist isn’t really my goal, I am leaning more toward film. Eventually I’d love to get into prosthesis like what the artists did for Lord of the Rings! But if working with celebrities would open those doors, then I surely wouldn’t turn it down. Thank you for the blog!

  • Robi says:

    Hi- I have been a free lance for the last 12 years along
    with owning a make up studio/products–
    I would absolutely LOVE to travel whete the best opportunities are–any suggestions????

  • Catherine karnes says:

    Lookin for course qc makeup artist to work with celebrity

  • Chrissy says:

    Hello, thank you for the article, very informative! I’m a freelance makeup artist/ stylist, I attend cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell the school Michigan. My goal is to become a celebrity makeup artist and alsohave my own glam squad And offering services for celebrities. I just don’t know where to start..

  • Jane Cordeiro says:

    I live in Windsor, Ontario and we have a beautiful Casino where a lot of singers from all over come to perform. I would love to be in contact and have the privilege to meet with these people and do there makeup. I put a lot of passion into my makeup artistry. Any guidance, I am totally up for it please.
    Thank you,

  • Robi says:

    Hi -I am a seasoned make up artist/free lance make up artist in my city of Louisville KY-I have a make up studio(22yrs) In the bizzz. Longer——-
    I SO want to do makeup for the celebrities–I am So ready–I welcome all suggestions!!!!!
    One of my besties client that I dearly enjoyed so much was Jean Sawyer Hayes–miss her-met Diane Sawyer just once -she came in to my studio /her
    mom-to meet me–WOW!!!!!!!That day I was so busy
    But she was so gracious (helping her mom on sat morning)
    Thank you& Take care
    Robi 🙂

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