Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Michelle Lannon and I’m a certified makeup artistry expert. I’ve always had a passion for art, beauty, and design. I’m obsessed with coffee, Jack Skellington, and anything Halloween-related. I also love the color purple (the actual color, not the movie) and, of course, makeup! I’m originally from NYC. However, I’ve lived in several places all over the United States, such as Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Nashville, and now Richmond.
Why did you decide to become a professional makeup artist?
I have always had an interest in makeup. Fun fact: I actually began playing with it at the incredibly young age of 2! In trying to mimic my mother, I decided that a nail polish brush belonged in my eye… lol! Thankfully, my skills have improved dramatically since then – especially with the help of QC Makeup Academy‘s courses. I was always the person my immediate family and my friends went to when they wanted help with their hair or makeup.
(And I still am to this day!)
Why did you decide to take makeup artistry classes online, rather than in-person?
Back when I enrolled with QC Makeup Academy, I was in a bit of a transitional period. I’ve done what I “should” be doing my whole life, but not what I actually wanted to be doing. I’d just been laid off from a job – a job that, I admit, my whole heart was definitely not in.
So, I was trying to figure out my next move. My cousin actually attends QC, too, and they’re the one who first introduced me to the school. I am a busy person. Thus, online courses work well for me, as I can easily and conveniently fit my training into my lifestyle.
Ultimately, why did you choose to enroll with QC Makeup Academy?
As I mentioned above, my cousin, Melissa Pallone, introduced me to QC. I liked what she was learning and doing, so I decided to take the plunge and try it myself. I’m so glad I did, because I’ve learned so much since doing enrolling! Initially, I was not sure at one point if I would keep going. However, I was encouraged by my peers – as well as my tutor, Nathan Johnson – to keep pushing.
You’ve since graduated from QC’s Master Makeup Artistry Course. How was your experience with this program and how would you say it helped you grow as an artist?
I won’t lie, it was challenging! If you’re willing to have yourself challenged, push the status quo, discover who you are as a creative, and actually give your all, then you should definitely enroll in the Master Makeup Artistry Course!
I completed the program before the course was updated. As I understand it, it’s even MORE challenging now than it was when I did it! I personally love a good challenge, because I love to learn. Trust me when I say that you’ll do both in this course. QC Makeup Academy provides you with the basic tools needed to complete their training (although many of us have also added our own tools out of personal preference).
The best advice I can give is: pay attention! Watch and re-watch the videos. Listen to the feedback provided to you – both by your tutor(s) and your peers – and never take anything personally. Constructive feedback will only ever help you become better! So long as you do all this, you’ll grow and flourish not only in this course, but the professionally industry as well.
You’ve also completed QC Makeup Academy’s Skincare Course. In your opinion, why should ALL makeup artistry experts have proper skincare training?
Initially, I was not sure about the Skincare Course. But after watching a webinar that Nathan Johnson did on the value of proper skincare (as a basis for good makeup), I decided to give it a try. I figured that, if nothing else, it would give me some tips I may not have already known.
Boy, was I in for a surprise!!!
This is another course that will challenge you. You learn so much about what goes into skincare. Moreover, you learn about the good and bad ingredients to look for, as well as how to properly determine skin types. Altogether, this knowledge is a fundamental building block in makeup artistry!
In fact, I would even go so far as to advise EVERYONE to complete this course. You can absolutely take it after you’ve completed the Master Makeup Artistry Course, or concurrently with it. However, Nathan has said countless times that – if given the choice – it’s recommend that you take it before the MMA Course. Either way, knowing what to look out for and how to treat skin is a must. Only then can you provide the top-notch makeup services we all want to give our clients!
You’re also currently enrolled in QC Makeup Academy’s Airbrush Makeup Workshop and Hair Styling Essentials Course. Why did you enroll in these particular courses and how do you plan to incorporate these services into your business once you’ve graduated?
As an artist, I have always played with airbrushes. At one point in time, I even helped my son rebuild an old ’76 Camaro and did the airbrushing on it. I decided that since I had that fundamental knowledge, knowing how to provide these services with makeup would be beneficial. Plus, airbrush is a beautiful makeup, when applied correctly. It’s something that, these days, most brides are looking for on their big day!
My goal is to build a completely self-sufficient, sustainable business on the education that QC has provided to me. Knowing how to do event hair is also something that definitely applies here! Most people don’t want to go to 3-4 different people in order to complete one look for an event. Since I’ll know how to do it all, I can provide a one-stop-shop for my clients.
I’ve already incorporated both services into what I provide to clients, and I plan to do even more in the future!
How useful have all the QC Makeup Academy course materials and assignments been so far?
Incredibly useful! When I began the Master Makeup Artistry Course, I had a bit of trouble with the shadows provided. But once I got a bit further into the program, I was able to use them successfully. I cannot tell you how excited I was to receive the airbrush materials and starter kit. I was overjoyed that the airbrush machine and all of the fantasy and foundation products were from Temptu! Also, the curling wand (and 5 interchangeable barrels) that I received for my hairstyling course is great as well!
Give us one example of constructive tutor feedback that allowed you to grow as a makeup artist!
Nathan and I have a funny story about my journey. When I was first travelling through my Master Makeup Artistry journey, most of the tutor feedback I kept getting was, “Stop copying social media!” That, as well as some very constructive criticism.
I kept getting this feedback because prior to taking QC Makeup Academy’s courses, social media was what I had to refer to when learning the craft. It was a tough journey to break those habits – and along the way, I actually almost quit because I truly thought Nathan hated me! Lol! Of course, I now realize that that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
My advice is to develop a thick skin. This isn’t an easy industry to work in, and in order to truly thrive, you need to be able to hear harsh truths sometimes. All of the criticism provided is meant to help you grow and develop your skills as an artist. We’re trained to develop an “eye” when viewing makeup. So long as you always challenge yourself, you will be unstoppable!
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned so far from your makeup artistry certification training?
Firstly, I cannot stress enough the importance of sanitization. Keep your “house” clean and you’ll never have an issue. This means keeping clean brushes, clean kits, clean makeup, and most of all, a clean self. After all, you are the first thing a client sees. If you fail to make a good first impression, they’ll never use you again.
Secondly, another critical lesson I learned was symmetry. Symmetry is incredibly important. Moreover, it’s something you should always be striving for in your applications.
Thirdly, practice! Always keep practicing, even once you graduate. You will never learn it all, trust me.
Lastly, do not underestimate the value of knowing how to do classic makeup! Learn it, master it, and embrace it. It’s truly the basis for everything in makeup artistry.
You earned your Master International Makeup Professional (MIMP) certification back in 2019. Tell us how your makeup career has been going since then!
It had taken off incredibly well. In fact, I was steadily booking clients until COVID hit. I’d been working for a friend (who is a Boudoir photographer), as well as taking outside clients. I’m hoping to re-establish some clientele here in my new adopted home soon!
You’ve recently joined QC’s team of Student Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, what’s the #1 thing you want brand-new students to know about QC Makeup Academy?
ASK QUESTIONS! We are a friendly community of likeminded individuals who will never hesitate to help. With that said, however, you must also be willing to put in the time finding answers. This is especially the case in QC’s Virtual Classroom on Facebook. Do your own research and utilize the search bar before asking questions. There’s a good chance your inquiry has already been addressed before!
If you are still stuck, then never hesitate to ask away. After all, that is what we are here for. Furthermore, challenge yourself to grow beyond what you have learned during your time with QC. I have a motto in life: ABL. “Always be learning”. I’m the type of person who is never satisfied that I’ve learned everything. As a result, I always want to learn new things. So, take advanced courses, talk to your peers, network, and do everything you possibly can to further hone your craft.
What has been the most challenging part of launching your own makeup artistry business, and how have you overcome this challenge?
Marketing. That has been an absolute problem for me. I started a website, but had to shut it down for financial reasons when the pandemic hit,. Now, I’m getting ready to start it back up again. I also had to learn that sometimes, word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool in the arsenal.
What services do you currently offer clients?
If you can dream it, I will do it – so long as it’s within my power and qualifications, of course. I do everything from basic makeup artistry applications, all the way up to amateur special effects. (I’ve not yet taken QC’s Special FX Makeup Course yet, but I definitely plan to in the future!) I’ve worked jobs for boudoir, prom, special event, and face painting already. I would love to book more!
What are your top career goals as a makeup artist?
I want to have a successful and thriving business that I can be proud of. My main goal is to get to a place where I no longer have to have a separate, full-time job. Instead, I’ll be able to do what makes me happy every day: makeup!
Finally: in your opinion, what’s the definition of “success” in the world of professional makeup artistry?
Waking up each and every day, excited to do what makes you happy. Being recommended by everyone you work on to others. Experiencing the joy that comes with making someone’s world a bit brighter.
After all, we never know what journey people are on in life. You could be working on someone who is struggling with depression, a terminal illness, or a lack of self-esteem. Your work could make all of the difference and change the way a person sees both life and themselves!