Graduate Feature: Vanessa Pressacco
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Vanessa Pressacco and I am a 41 year old mother of 2, professional makeup artist, photographer, educator and business owner! I am an old soul… Often told I was born in the wrong era! I love 40’s music, WW2 history, pin-up art, dance and fitness, and I am addicted to gummi candy!
What made you decide to become a makeup artist?
I have been passionate about makeup from the age of 3 when my father built me my very own vanity table. When I was 9 years old, my auntie caught me snooping through her makeup and she decided that she would allow me to try it out, but ONLY if I allowed her to teach me the proper way to apply it. She then passed on to me, my very first lipstick which was a pale pink in a slim silver tube. I was hooked.
I spent all of my free time watching make-over shows on TV, learning how to properly brush and pluck brows… And I used ALL of my friends as guinea pigs! That combined with my mother’s tender instruction on proper skin care, my obsession began! I entered the modeling industry as a teenager and eventually became interested in photography which allowed me to work with makeup more. As a professional photographer, I decided I wanted to fulfill my dream of having a combined photography and makeup studio.
Why did you choose to learn makeup online?
With 2 young children at home and multiple businesses to run, there was no possible way I could get myself into a classroom. When I found QC Makeup Academy and did my research on the school, the tutors, and the courses. I made the decision to go ahead and go for my Master International Makeup Professional certificate!
In your opinion, what are the top perks of being a makeup artist?
Being a makeup artist allows me to express what I feel internally to the outer world. I can create anything and everything that comes to mind. There is always a willing participant and I get to share in the excitement with my clients when they get to see themselves in a different light. I feel most alive when I am creating.
We noticed you sell your own cosmetics! Why did you decide to sell products, and how did the process work for you?
In 2012, I woke up one day with a sudden and total loss of vision in my right eye. After a flurry of testing and some serious concerns as to what was wrong, I was diagnosed with a condition that is common on the onset of MS. I was also told that this condition is more common in women than men, and they have no idea why. Years of testing showed NO signs of MS and my vision slowly returned after a year, but it left me with a lot of questions. I started doing research into common ingredients in cosmetics and was concerned with some of the things I saw. I made an abrupt decision one night that I was going to create my own brand of natural cosmetics and skin care. Years of research and hard work has brought me to where I am now, with a successful Canadian cosmetic brand that is shipping nation-wide!
On top of being a certified makeup artist you’re also an accomplished photographer. Do you find your photography skills are beneficial to your makeup business?
Absolutely! On a professional level it is amazing because I do not need to hire out. I can do all of my own work. Working so closely in someone’s personal space gives them an opportunity to learn to trust me and by the time we have reached the photography portion of the job, they are SO relaxed with me that the images come out honest, natural, and amazing. It is perfect for my clients. For me, on a personal level I have the amazing honour of being able to create a beautiful makeup and then photograph it myself, which means I get to KEEP that creation forever and it is not lost to another photographer’s portfolio. I LOVE my job!
What’s been your favorite job/client to date?
Wow, it is so hard to choose. Every client I have brings something unique and special. I think I would have to say, a makeup and shoot that I did with my mom is probably the most meaningful for me. My mom is one of the most beautiful women you have ever seen, and she has the most amazing eyes. She lost her left eye to cancer and had to have a prosthetic put in. It became so important to her to have a shoot done to honour her struggle, her survival, and her journey through this and she was so moved that her daughter could be the one to do it. It was challenging for me on a professional AND emotional level and SO rewarding.
If you could go back in time to the start of your makeup career, would you change anything?
I think I would have taken more risks early on, and tried to do some things that I maybe thought I couldn’t do! The more opportunities you have and the more faces you can work on, the quicker your ability and confidence will grow!
What does the future hold for Vanessa? Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 1, 5 and 10 years?
Within the next year I hope to have a steady flow of business within my cosmetic brand AND the time to concentrate on the studios more with the help of a few employees. 5 years from now my goal is to have such a thriving business that my husband no longer needs to work outside of the home, but he can be here working with me. And within 10 years I want Vanessa Pressacco Studios and LiLu™Cosmetics and Skin Care to be known around the globe as a stand out company and a trusted, effective, and fun cosmetic brand!
Do you have any advice for makeup artists who are just starting out their career?
Believe in yourself and your talent. You ARE an artist! Avoid the haters, stand up for what you believe in, BE YOU, be UNIQUE, move with confidence, chase your dreams, give back, and choose to make a difference within your career! You have the power to help people to see their inner beauty, you have the power to build up self-esteem and self-worth. Your listening ears can heal the hearts of the people who sit in your chair. You are MORE than an artist! Treasure your creations, do not give your services, time, and talent away for free. You have value… And if you treat yourself like you have value, others will value you too! Most of all, DON’T BE AFRAID! YOU CAN DO IT!