My Experience Doing Makeup Jobs for Popular TV Shows - QC Makeup Academy

Australian MUA, Charlotte Ravet, is the proud owner of her very own hair and makeup business. From bridal, to editorial, to film and television, and everything in-between – Charlotte provides a wide variety of services that cater to all types of clientele!

Her extensive resume includes working for Prada, L’Oreal, and even the cast of the hit show, Glee! A developer of educational programs, Charlotte has even been awarded Best Makeup Educator of the Year by the Australian Industry Makeup Awards.

Here, she looks back on her experience as a makeup artist for popular TV shows, and shares some of her favorite memories!

The TV industry can provide a very exciting work environment for makeup artists! I worked in TV for 8 years before working in fashion and education. I can definitely say: some of the best memories of my career are from during this time.

How I Broke Into the Industry

Right after finishing makeup school, I had the opportunity to do an internship for a TV channel for 2 weeks. It was a local TV channel that was just starting out. All of us involved were fresh out of school, so needless to say, everything was very new for us!

I remember being very impressed to be working with such a full team. We started shooting on location, while we waited for the studio to be ready. After the initial 2-week period was over, the channel offered to extend my internship for six months.

Funny enough, I actually wound up politely declining this offer. (I had bills to pay, after all!). That’s when they called me back and offered me a full-time job!

Climbing the Ranks

So, that’s when I formally started working as a TV makeup artist! In terms of the types of makeup jobs that a brand new, up-and-coming MUA could hope for, that was a pretty great opportunity!

This TV channel was part of a big group. So, even if we were shooting on a low budget, we started having bigger and bigger guests and events. For instance, I had the pleasure to do makeup for the cast of Glee, as well as on celebrities like Robbie Williams and Craig David (my 15-year old-crush). I also had the chance to work on a ton of different French artists.

We had a live TV show every day, so the work environment was always very busy! I remember how one day in particular, I was called to do the makeup of a presenter who worked for the radio channel attached to the TV channel I was under contract with.

When I looked outside, I saw a long queue of people, stretching all the way around the block…

Now, I have to confess, I never watch TV and I barely listen to the radio. But when the crew told me we had a very special guest and dropped her name, I knew it sounded vaguely familiar…

Spoiler alert: it was Lady Gaga. I was about to work with Lady Gaga!

After the interview, we went to a small room to shoot a teaser. There wasn’t much space and I was called to do a touch up, so I did. I realized only afterwards how famous Lady Gaga actually was.

For the record, she was absolutely lovely! ❤️️

The biggest celebrities often come with their own makeup artists. But sometimes, the makeup artist doesn’t come to the studio, or they can’t be granted access into the studio. This may be due to security reasons, or simply a lack of space (as it was in this case).

Leaving the Television Industry

Eventually, I decided to resign in lieu of starting my own freelance makeup business. But for those 8 years, I was privileged to experience many once-in-a-lifetime moments. I was lucky enough to be able to travel across Europe, and even the Dominican Republic. I got to amazing artists, and am still very good friend with the people I met on TV.

For 8 amazing years, I was a dedicated makeup artist for famous French TV hosts, supervisor makeup artist for TV shows, and all sorts of celebrities. I had a busy calendar!

I also started working in fashion. Through the network I had created, I ended up as a supervisor artist for private events hosted by Prada and MiuMiu. So, why did I choose to walk away from the TV industry?

The thing was, as much as I loved working in TV, I realized I was missing something.

I wanted to learn English, and open my career internationally. This is how, at 27-years-old, I packed up everything and came to Australia. When I first got here, I didn’t know anyone!

But from there, the rest is history. I am now between Paris and Australia; expanding my career as an educator for beauty brands and diplomas, as well as working as an editorial makeup artist.

Pros of Being a Makeup Artist in the TV Industry:

  • The people you will meet! This obviously includes celebrities, but most of all, I’m referring to the crew. I met some of my best friends when working for TV. When you shoot on location, it’s not uncommon to travel and work 12-hour days. You need have a strong connection with the people you’re working with, especially when spending all that time together.
  • You learn to work fast! During my first year, I typically had 6 people to do makeup on in just 1.5 hours. With low budgets, I had to do everything. I’m not going to lie – most of the time, it felt like a marathon. But now, I am not afraid of short timelines.
  • You can learn all about the technical side of TV and makeup! I was often questioning the Director of Photography about the lighting, as I loved to observe how the light would change the makeup I did. I have learned a lot from my colleagues! This helped me to understand the requirements of TV makeup, and what it takes to become an in-demand makeup artist.
  • You can have regular work! TV shows are shooting everyday. In many ways, the TV industry is a safe place for you to keep freelancing on the side, while still providing you with regular, reliable work.

Cons of Being a Makeup Artist in the TV Industry:

  • The lack of creativity. This was honestly my biggest frustration. TV makeup is often technical, but rarely creative. I needed to explore other types of makeup jobs in order to understand ALL the aspects of makeup.
  • Long hours. As I said, expect 12 to 14-hour days. I remember one day, I worked 17 hours straight! Not to mention, the day often starts at 4 or 5AM when working for morning shows.
  • The wait. You often do makeup in the morning, or at the beginning of the show. Then you have to wait to do touch-ups. So, you need to stay focused and have to wait – sometimes, for hours at a time.
  • The stress. Most artists I have met were nice to me. This could potentially be because I was very young at the time. I was always the baby in the crew! But it’s also not uncommon to meet some guest artists with a LOT of stipulations. This can be stressful.

My Top Tips If You’re Considering a Career as a TV Makeup Artist:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of color theory, as well as the importance of creating the perfect complexion with a light-to-medium coverage. I have learned how to color correct with precision. This helps me to create a flawless complexion, while avoiding thick foundation (which looks bad when shooting in HD) or needing a lot of touch-ups. This definitely helped me get more work in Paris, as well as in Australia!
  • Be flexible. Things never go as planned! You need to be ready for last-minute changes. This is the case for all areas of the MUA industry, but especially in TV.
  • Learn about celebrities. Once I had the call sheet, I would always research who the artists were. Not only can you get a better idea of what to expect, but it shows your professionalism.
  • Maintain your network. As with any makeup job, networking is KEY! I will never say it enough: you have one reputation, and only one. The wrong move can hinder your ability to book clients, and the wrong attitude can stop others from wanting to work alongside you. Kindness goes a long way, and will always be remembered!

Above all else: do your best, work with a smile, and remember that mistakes can happen. So long as you put in the time, dedication, and effort, you’ll be sure to go far!

Want more tips for booking makeup jobs? Learn how stylized photoshoot can advance your career!

Author Sarah Seguin

More posts by Sarah Seguin

Leave a Reply