When I was younger, I wanted to be a thousand different things before I settled on video editor. Although it was a creative career and something I loved doing, a mistake by my guidance councilor caused me to sign up for the wrong course at university. This led me to cancel my plans and re-think what I wanted to pursue as a career.
I had always loved dressing up and making myself look like something else. Halloween was my absolute favorite time of year because I could use my imagination and transform myself into anything I wanted. As all my friends went off to college and university, as most people are expected to do, I thought about how I could apply what I love to a career.
I always felt that I might be letting down my parents if I didn’t go to college or university and get a 9-5 job where I could make a steady income. In a world where you’re expected to finish school, get a higher education, and get right into the workforce for the rest of your life, I felt uneasy about wanting to do something different.
Eventually I realized that maybe I didn’t want to do what was expected of me. I have a few favorite artists, like Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert. I also love the art of drag, and frequently travel to see drag queens. All of these people had dreams that were different from the norm, and all of them are now very successful at what they do, even if it is a little unconventional. With inspirations like these, it’s no wonder I decided to do what felt right for me!
I loved makeup artistry and had always been experimental with makeup, but didn’t know any proper techniques. I started to research online for schools around me and I even looked in Toronto, about an hour’s drive from where I grew up. I decided on a private college in Toronto, and with the help of a few loans and a little government funding, I was on my way to learning everything I needed to start my career as a makeup artist!
At the beginning of our course, the instructors asked us what type of makeup artistry we wanted to do. I love crazy theatrical things, so naturally I said special effects or TV work. I never even considered fashion makeup, or working at a retail store like Sephora or Mac. That type of work just seemed too similar to the conventional things I thought I was trying to get away from. Almost everyone else in the room said fashion, so I was left feeling uneasy once more. Had I chosen the right course? I wanted to be able to make my own schedule, determine how much I worked and build my own brand. By becoming a makeup artist, I thought I could go from job to job and explore all sorts of creative possibilities through my art.
As the course progressed, I heard more and more about Mac. It was spoken about as one of the best places to work and the ultimate goal for anyone who wanted to work in retail. By the end of the course, I had decided that working in makeup retail was actually what I wanted to do. Because of my personality, I didn’t think I would be able to handle the pressure of booking my own clients and not having set hours. After hearing so much about Mac, I looked into working for them right out of school. I went to a career fair with low confidence but high hopes. Much to my surprise, I progressed through the different interviews successfully. When a position at Mac opened up in my local mall, I conducted my final interview.
Mac called me a few weeks later to offer me an on-call position and I was the happiest new makeup artist around! I had managed to make it into the one place I had heard so much about in school. Unfortunately, I have not yet been called for a shift, but I practice makeup almost daily and have found many new outlets to use my skills in. As it turns out, both the freelance and retail paths have shaped me as a makeup artist. I am perfectly happy having a day job and making makeup videos or tutorials at night.
Makeup artistry is a very fluid line of work, with opportunities for every kind of artist. If you are willing to put yourself out there and learn confidence in your abilities, there is a place somewhere for you. Whether it’s working on brides before they walk down the aisle or helping someone at a store pick out their perfect product, makeup artistry is fulfilling. If you are passionate about what you do and you can make it happen, go for it!”