Just before QC student Brooke Simpson’s wedding, her husband-to-be surprised her with some big news—she’d have the chance to meet with Nathan Johnson in New York! We caught up with Brooke to find out more about their special meet-up in April.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. What got you into makeup artistry?
I am turning 29 this July and am currently travelling around the world on my honeymoon with my husband. I live in Australia however don’t have a current address due to the duration of our vacation (using husband’s parents address). I am the eldest of 9 siblings. My favourite colour is purple. Some of my hobbies include fitness training and snowboarding.
I have loved makeup since I was a young girl. I would do my friends’ makeup before school, did my sister’s makeup for her prom, friends’ makeup for nights out and many other occasions. Some of my goals in life are to be a successful business woman and to make positive differences in other people’s lives, whether big or small. Nothing is more rewarding than a smile and knowing that another person is happy.
I have a passion for makeup and when I am applying it I am in a different world. It makes me feel free and happy and the reward is enhancing someone’s beauty and seeing them smile. When I enrolled in the course with QC I was already studying a Degree in Accounting. However my husband (boyfriend at that time) prompted me to pursue my passion for makeup by buying me a professional makeup chair and makeup case for Christmas. I soon thereafter enrolled in the makeup academy course with QC and it is the best thing I ever did.
Soon thereafter I started my own small business as a freelance makeup artist. As yet it has only been a part time job on weekends as I had a full time job throughout the week taking up a majority of my time. I loved running my small business and especially enjoyed meeting my wonderful clients.
I have had the honour of doing makeup for brides, special occasions, maternity shoots, and swim suit competitions, and my biggest honour was doing the makeup for my sister on her wedding day. After returning home from my honeymoon I can’t wait to get back into working as a makeup artist and pursuing my dream further.
Q: So, Brooke, how does a makeup artist from Australia end up having dinner with Nathan in New York?
Now this is a unique story. My husband (fiancé at the time) wrote an email to QC makeup academy without my knowledge, to see if there was any chance of me being able to see behind the scenes of a fashion show or to meet a professional makeup artist while we were visiting New York as part of our honeymoon.
Where we were living in regional Queensland I could not get this type of exposure to the fashion industry or the opportunity to meet a professional makeup artist. His intention was for me to experience something I wasn’t able to back home and have this as a part of my learning/skills/experience on my path to becoming a professional makeup artist. He also knew that I would love this very much and hoped he could arrange something without me knowing and surprise me on our wedding morning.
When this email was received it apparently was forwarded around the office as everyone thought it was a wonderful gesture and idea and no one had received an email like it before. It was forwarded to the Chief Operating Officer, Joanne, and she then replied to Trent, my husband. A few emails were sent back and forth between Joanne and Trent and eventually including Nathan and a possible meeting was arranged based on Nathan’s availability during our stay in New York. This was then confirmed the week we arrived in New York.
Q: How did you react when your new husband told you the big news?
I had a letter given to me the night before our wedding day and was told by Trent to open it by myself when I awoke the next morning. I did just this. I sat in the room alone and opened the letter. Inside the envelope I had a letter from Joanne explaining what Trent had done. That he had written into them and that they will do their best to arrange a meeting with Nathan during our stay in New York. I started screaming and jumping up and down and my bridal party along with others came rushing to see what the commotion was about asking what? What is it? I then told them what Trent had done.
Q: As a makeup artistry student, the chance to meet an experienced makeup artist is incredible! What were your top questions for Nathan?
Nathan is not only an experienced professional makeup artist and my tutor, but also a highly regarded celebrity makeup artist, and meeting him was beyond incredible. It felt like I was in a dream. To be completely honest even Nathan asked me this and I will answer this the same way I did to him. I had no top questions for Nathan, rather just wanted to meet him and get some insight into the makeup industry in a major fashion hub like New York.
I am learning from Nathan every time I read the course materials and watch his tutorials. I have high marks for the courses I have done so far and I take on board his constructive feedback and apply it in my next assessments and as a makeup artist. Having met Nathan I now have a greater appreciation of what it means to be a professional makeup artist and how to become successful in this ever-changing industry.
Q: Was it strange to finally meet your tutor in person?
I wouldn’t call it strange. I remember seeing him from across the road and not been able to wipe the grin off my face. I was on a super excitement high. A moment I had been waiting for the last few months was finally happening. I wanted to run up to him and give him a big hug but I waited until he was closer and then gave him a big hug. It was like I had met him before. Nathan is so humble and very friendly. We hit it off straight away. We sat talking for ages before even ordering a drink and the wait staff came asking a couple of times if we needed anything. It was hard for them to get a word in as we were constantly chatting away.
Q: Tell us some more about your dinner together.
We had one of both Nathan’s and my favourite cuisines, sushi, at a Japanese restaurant near where Nathan lives. It was a very nice place. We spoke a lot about traveling as we are travelling around the world on our honeymoon which Nathan was interested to hear about and he told us stories from his recent travels. We spoke about my studies with QC and the makeup industry in general and what it means to be a professional makeup artist in a city like New York.
Nathan was particularly interested in my perception of the course material on offer with QC which I enjoy very much. The way the course is structured is amazing and to be able to do it via correspondence is extremely helpful for people like me who do not live in a major city or have the opportunity to travel to study. Nathan showed me a couple pictures of his work which was inspiring. We had many laughs and enjoyed each other’s company very much.
Q: How do you think this experience will influence your career as a makeup artist?
This experience I know will influence my career as a makeup artist in so many ways as it has given me more confidence in myself and in my abilities. It has instilled a sense of self belief in what I do and encouraged me to keep going to pursue my dreams. Never give up and always try think outside the box are two lessons I will certainly take from our meeting. And to always learn from my experiences in whatever way I can to progress as a makeup artist.
One thing Nathan stressed to me is to take the opportunity to push myself in my practical assessment tasks and to take risks as the assessments are a wonderful opportunity to receive feedback on my work from a professional makeup artist. In my future assessments I will ensure I try new and often more difficult techniques so I can learn from my mistakes and take on Nathan’s critiques.
Q: And, finally—what was the highlight?
Besides the fact I got to meet Nathan Johnson, someone I admire very much, a personal highlight for me is knowing that the meeting has progressed my journey to becoming a professional makeup artist and may open doors to new possibilities in the future. I can’t wait to visit New York again and to see what it brings next time. I want to also personally thank Joanne for coordinating this meeting with my husband. This has been the best gift ever and an experience I will never forget.