Meet QC Makeup Academy graduate, Vanessa Hernandez-Munoz! Tell us a little bit about yourself, Vanessa!
My name is Vanessa Hernandez-Munoz, and I am a professional makeup artist and photographer in Canada! I’ve been working in the industry for 11 years now!
When (and why) did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in the makeup and beauty industry?
I knew my whole life that I wanted to be a makeup artist. However, I really started diving into it professionally in 2012 when I began training at QC Makeup Academy. Prior to that, I was working as a portrait photographer, doing the odd makeup here and there for friends and family.
Why did you decide to pursue your certification training online (rather than in-person) – and how did you both hear of QC Makeup Academy?
As a mother of two young children at the time (one of them being a new born), I knew that if I wanted to pursue this career path, I had to find a reputable school online because I was a stay-at-home mom. So, I began searching, but didn’t find anything that looked professional to me.
Then one day, I turned on my computer and QC Makeup Academy’s ad was running through my Facebook feed! I clicked on it, did my homework, and was SOLD! There is where my journey began!
Why did you choose to enroll with QC Makeup Academy? (E.g., What was it about our school that won you over, compared to other online makeup schools out there?)
I loved the flexibility, the courses, the materials, the school’s reputation – and most of all, the tutors! I wanted expert training and saw that this was the place where I would receive that!
You’re a multiple QC Makeup Academy graduate – but your journey started with our self-paced, online Master Makeup Artistry Course. Tell us about your experience with this program! What was the most challenging aspect of this course for you? How about the most rewarding? Also, what was your favorite hands-on assignment and why?
This course changed my life! When I came in, I thought I already knew everything and just needed that certification hanging on my wall. WOW, was I wrong!
I had to UN-LEARN everything I thought I knew, open my mind, and set aside my ego so that I could receive Nathan Johnson’s critiques and constructive criticism. All of this was intended to help me GROW as an artist. Bye-bye, everything I knew… HELLO to the new me!
And I would say that THAT was the most challenging aspect of the course for me! It isn’t easy to allow yourself to be broken down and then re-molded! By the end of it all, I would say that the most rewarding aspect of the course (for me) was seeing how I grew as an artist – simply because I DID stop, listen, and then do the work!
Also, I think my favorite hands on assignment was the bruise assignment! My husband is a professional fighter and will sometimes come home with a bruised eye. So, I had an idea of how that looked and was super excited to re-create it!!! It came out amazing! Nathan was impressed, haha.
FACT: Being able to positively and openly accept constructive feedback – both from your makeup instructor and when working in the real world – is one of the TOP skills that can either make or break your career!
What would you say is the #1 biggest and best lesson you learned in QC Makeup Academy’s Master Makeup Artistry Course?
I learned how to humble myself, how to receive constructive criticism, and how to be brave. Furthermore, I also learned that:
- I’m capable of much more than I give myself credit for;
- I have value in the eyes of people who are looking for makeup services;
- And that I could 100% pursue my goals and dreams!
I also learned the UNDISPUTED VALUE of mastering foundational makeup techniques! When you learn those, you can do ANY makeup look!
After receiving your Master International Makeup Professional (MIMP) certification, you then went on to complete our Pro Makeup Workshop. How did this program build upon everything you learned in the MMA Course and take your skill-set to the next level? Moreover, would you recommend the Pro Makeup Workshop to MMA students/grads (and why or why not)?
This course fine-tuned everything that I learned in the MMA course. It takes your skill to the next level by zeroing in on specific techniques! I would highly recommend this course to ALL Master Makeup Artistry graduates! It forced my eye to zoom in on and correct even the tiniest discrepancies.
As an MUA, you specialize in global beauty, and even completed our Global Beauty Workshop to add to your professional qualifications. In your opinion, what were THREE of the most important lessons and/or skills you acquired from this program? Why would you recommend this course to other makeup artists?
This course was a game-changer for me! Prior to taking it, I always felt I held back to a certain degree when I had requests for makeup on women of color.
One of my biggest sources of insecurity as an artist was skin. ALL types of skin! I was always scared of messing that up. So, I decided that I needed to take QC’s Global Beauty Workshop because I needed to dive into the thing that scared me most!
The lessons I learned in this course have truly made me a confident, global artist. I’ve mastered skin because I took the time to really listen and apply what I learned! As a result, I can now work on anyone, anywhere – with gorgeous results!
Here are my three top takeaways:
- If you truly want to be a makeup artist, you need to have a global kit and be ready to work on anyone!
- Understanding the cultures and traditions of your clients, and being sensitive to that, is of utmost importance. QC’s Global Beauty Workshop will teach you how to be truly professional in this regard!
- COLOR CORRECTION! This course will teach you all you need to know about color correction for different skin tones. This is something that will not only bring an extra level of professionalism to your work; it will revolutionize your applications, too!
PRO TIP: Not the best at hiding blemishes and color correcting? Watch this informative webinar – hosted by QC Makeup Academy executive tutor, celebrity MUA, and certified skincare consultant, Nathan Johnson!
Finally, you also took QC Makeup Academy’s mini Virtual Makeup Training Course as well. What motivated you to take this course, how has it benefitted your makeup career, and why do you feel being able to offering virtual beauty services is such a smart business move nowadays?
My decision to take this course came during COVID. While I was unable to physically apply makeup to my clients, they would often call me and ask if I could advise them on how to do it themselves. It just made sense to me that this was a new avenue I could explore, in order to help my clients more efficiently!
I now have the opportunity to assist people in a way that helps them achieve amazing results! And in our current climate, more and more people appreciate being able to access this kind of information online! As a makeup artist, we can use this tool to help our clients AND grow our business!
You’re notorious for your high praise of QC Makeup Academy’s executive tutor (and celebrity makeup artist), Nathan Johnson. Obviously, we know why Nathan is the best – but tell us in your own words why you agree!
Nathan Johnson is a professional, through and through. His love for the industry, as well as his desire to educate and see his students grow into an incredible career, is evident in everything he does.
I needed a teacher in my corner who did not coddle me. I didn’t want someone who just told me everything was great and let me pass with flying colors – only to let me go out into the world with NO idea how fierce this industry can truly be… And watch me fail and fall flat.
Nathan gave me the grades I deserved, gave me the critiques I needed in order to grow, and helped me become a better artist. Yes, he was tough. Yet all the while, he never ceased to remind me that I was amazing and had something to offer. (Even when I needed to correct how I did my work.)
He believed in me, and I would not be where I am today if not for his guidance and tough love!
Speaking as a QC Makeup Academy graduate, do you believe that all professional makeup artists should be properly trained and certified? Why or why not?
Yes, I do believe that! I place so much value on education. You may be an amazing self-taught artist, but there are foundational techniques that can only be learned through proper guidance and education.
And that’s only with regard the application process! There is a WHOLE other world involved in this field, such as best sanitary practices, owning/operating a business, etc.! The business end of being a makeup artist, in particular, is over half of the equation.
How would you describe your style as an MUA?
I think I would use the word CLASSIC. While I will/can do any makeup look requested of me, my passion definitely lies in clean, classic beautiful skin and makeup.
Where did the name of your business, WarBaby Cosmetics, come from?
My dad used to call me “warbaby” when I was young because I was obsessed with WW2 history, war documentaries, and 1940s makeup/fashion! So, when I was trying to come up with a name, this seemed like the perfect choice!
I love the courage, strength, innovation, and creativity of women during the war era. I find it truly inspiring!
Why did you decide to open your own business, as opposed to working as an MUA for someone else?
I wanted creative control over ALL aspects of my presentation, applications, client handling, etc. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. And because I was already a professional photographer, I could bring makeup applications into my business without any interference.
What would you say have been the biggest challenges about launching/running your own makeup business? Furthermore, what would you say have been the greatest rewards?
For me, right from the beginning, it was the feeling that I had to try and convince people that this was a good career choice; that I could make a living, and support myself and my family.
I finally stopped trying to convince people. Instead, I decided that my focus had to shift to my success, and not to what other people thought. The greatest reward has been doing the hard work, becoming exactly who and what I wanted to become, and having the most amazing career and business!!!
What services do you currently offer clients? Tell us about them!
I currently offer full makeup services with travel. I also teach classes, people can shop online for my products via my website, and I also offer connections to my photographer and hair stylist when those services are requested!
In addition to makeup application services, WarBaby Cosmetics also offers clients its very own line of loose shimmer eye pigments. Many aspiring makeup artists also dream of having their own line of cosmetics. How did you get started in having your own makeup products? Do you have any tips for other MUAs who want their own product line someday?
The journey to creating my own products came from a deep desire to have a brand, as well as to have my name on something that I created. When I started researching makeup ingredients, I realized that if I could get the time and the funds together, I could create something!
So, I began studying and would spend whole nights online at my computer, falling asleep on my keyboard! After about a year and a half, I was ready to start buying ingredients and experimenting! I would mix things, make mistakes, throw a lot of things out… It was a process!
When I was ready, all of my products had to be run through Health Canada. All of this took a lot of time, but it was worth it to see it all come together!
For anyone wanting to embark on the journey of actually formulating and manufacturing your own products, be ready for a LOT of work. It takes dedication and strict adherence to government guidelines to make it a success. But if you want it bad enough, you can bring your vision to life!
Figure out what makes what YOU have to offer unique from the rest!
Tell us a little about your business strategies with regards to: marketing yourself, networking, attracting/booking clients, building your portfolio, etc.!
I once read a quote by a marketing professional that advised, “Shameless self promotion.” I liked that idea because it’s a challenge to present yourself in a way that’s not arrogant, while also asserting your presence in the industry! This takes courage and a strong belief in yourself.
Once I felt that I grew into that, I was ready to start sticking my neck out. I built a brand for myself and started messaging people, asking them to model for me. I also:
- Messaged photographers and agencies as well;
- Put a solid, professional booking system in place;
- And built a clean, professional website and social media presence.
From there, I started dipping my toes into the waters of sharing my work with OTHER seasoned professionals. I did this in order to get their critiques, no matter how painful they were in the beginning.
Over time, people wanted to talk to me, ask me my opinions, learn, and grow from what I knew. This grew into a client base for me! And then I ventured into the creation of my own line of products, which immediately took off because of my already established client base!
In addition to being a QC Makeup Academy graduate, you’re also BARBICIDE® certified. Tell us more about what this means, and why this certification is so important for beauty professionals.
BARBICIDE® is a simple, online certification that your clients will really appreciate seeing when they sit in your chair. It tells them that you are a professional, and that you are up-to-date on the requirements for a clean and sanitized work environment. This certification gives your clients an extra measure of trust and confidence in both you and your work.
WarBaby Cosmetics has received some awards and features over the years! Humble brag for a moment and tell us more about those!
In no particular order, the immediate things that come to mind are as follows:
- I have been published in the ‘Stanford New York Who’s Who’ Black Book of Elite Professionals’;
- I was featured in the 2019, Volume 2 Issue of ‘Know Book’ YYC, Canada;
- Moreover, I was also honored to be nominated as 2018 Alberta Woman Entrepreneur of the Year;
- And I was also selected as one of 56 female entrepreneurs across North America to be featured in the 2014 edition of the Sexy and Wealthy in Heels, #successBABE eBook, and featured in the October 2019 issue of Community Now Magazine!
On top of all this, I also had my work on display at an art show in Europe, as well as having it published in a book for a New York Times Best Selling Author. I’ve also seen my work in newspaper articles and other local magazines!
You live in Calgary, Alberta – a major Canadian city with a population of over 1.6 million. With so many competitors in and around your area, why does WarBaby Cosmetics stand out from the rest? What makes you and your business unique?
I think my branding, versatility, and reputation for being extremely real and authentic have definitely helped me to stand out from the crowd! The fact that I also manufacture and sell my own cosmetics – as well as working in the area of professional photography – has made me a bit of a “one stop shop”.
People really appreciate my expertise. I love my job so much. I have so much fun – and it shows! People always leave my chair feeling loved and appreciated because that is what means the most to me!
Do you have any advice for other aspiring MUAs who dream of running their own business?
Gain a solid understanding of how to run a business BEFORE you begin. Talk to people who already successfully manage their own company, learn how to handle your money, and price yourself accordingly. Moreover, learn about the importance of model release forms, contracts, deposits, etc..
Also, be comfortable putting all of these measures into place! You can be the best MUA in the world, but if you are a terrible businessowner, you will not see success. The business side of makeup artistry is a HUGE component to being successful.
Oh, and finally, hire a good accountant!
In your opinion, what are the most rewarding aspects of being a makeup artist?
The relationships you build with your clients! My favorite part of the job is the conversations I have with my clients, the special times we get to share, as well as inspiring and uplifting one another.
We have the power to make a difference in people’s lives… And that is EVERYTHING to me!
In your own words, can you tell us why you believe hiring a professional makeup artist is worth the cost?
Firstly, you’ll have someone working with you who is trained in foundational techniques, understands the products, and works with quality products and ingredients. Secondly, you’ll alleviate the risk of illness and disease if you invest in an artist who understands the importance of sanitary practices and how to implement them.
I’ve heard SO many horror stories from my clients. Risking your health to save a dollar is NOT worth it!
Do you remember your very first professional makeup job? Tell us about it! What did you learn from it, what went well, what didn’t go as planned, etc.?
I think my very first “real” job was a makeup I did for my sister-in-law for her wedding. I remember being terrified! This was the first time I would not do makeup my OLD way… Instead, I was going to do it using the new techniques I had learned as a QC Makeup Academy graduate.
I remember wanting to constantly revert back to my old ways, so it was a struggle! Plus, I was also battling serious heat and humidity because we’d traveled from Canada to Mexico. So, I was working with a world of new products in the way of primers, setting sprays, etc.
All that said, it actually came out amazing! The only thing I would have changed was the amount of highlight I used (which was too much). The highlight – plus the heat and sweating – made her look like a glazed donut by the time dinner rolled around. 😅
What’s your favorite makeup style and why?
I love clean makeup – the “no makeup, makeup”. It’s challenging and pushes me out of my comfort zone. With every client, I feel like I learn something new, and get to expand my skills and ability!
Who are some of your makeup gurus/inspirations?
Kevin Aucoin will forever be my biggest inspiration. He never puts himself in a box. He’s so creative with his use of product, and would use anything and everything to get the job done.
What words of wisdom would you give to other makeup lovers out there who dream of a career in the beauty industry, but are hesitant to take the leap?
Be bold, be brave, and listen to your heart. If this is what you really, truly want to do, then jump into it! BUT – and I can’t stress this enough – jump into it prepared for the fact that you ARE going to need to set your ego aside and do some hard work.
This isn’t about being like everyone else. It’s not about the makeup fads and trends you see on Instagram or TikTok. Rather, it’s about taking this industry and your education seriously, mastering foundational techniques, and figuring out what makes YOUR unique style of application stand out from the rest!
There will be times where you’ll face rejection – and you need to be able to bounce back from that. You WILL be critiqued and given constructive criticism. So, receive it if you want to grow!
Believe in yourself, be assertive, and be loving, compassionate, and caring. Working on someone’s face is very personal! As such, you need to really care about people.
Overall, as a QC Makeup Academy graduate, why would you recommend QC’s self-paced, online certification training?
QC Makeup Academy’s level of training is exceptional! The tutors are highly experienced professionals who want, more than anything, to make sure you reach your potential. So much so, that they are willing to tell you the hard stuff in order to help you grow.
THAT is exactly what you want! There are no short cuts in this industry, and anyone with experience knows it! You can trust your tutors at QC to have your best interest at heart, always!
Furthermore, the courses contain absolutely everything you need to make your way into the world of professional makeup artistry! Any questions you may have are covered! The course units are easy to follow, the timelines for completion are excellent, and the course materials themselves are awesome!
Not to mention, the access you get to other students through the school’s private Virtual Classroom on Facebook is an invaluable tool for learning, growing, and interacting with other people who are at the same stage you are… As well as those who have gone through it before you!
To date, what do you consider to be the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think my proudest moment so far has been connecting with my creative team. On top of my own freelance work, I work with a fine art photographer and hair stylist in our own studio. I’ve had so many amazing clients in my chair! It has been a dream come true!
I do a lot of work with international models and agencies, and it’s so incredible. Most of all, I love the talks I get to have with the young models who sit in my chair. It’s my opportunity to encourage them, remind them of how special and beautiful they already are WITHOUT makeup, and have the privilege of walking beside them on their incredible journeys!
What’s in store for you and WarBaby Cosmetics the rest of this year and beyond?
As always, I have big plans for growth! This year, my eye shadow line will be sold NOT ONLY in my online store (via my website), but also in the studio. This way, it’s immediately accessible to my clients!
Our creative team has also been contacted by multiple magazines who would love to publish our work. So, I am very excited about that and am hoping we are looking into a possible trip out of the country. One of my regular clients is an international model, so I’m hoping to have the opportunity to travel with her as well.
Aside from all of that, I just hope to continue working on every face possible!
Imagine: You’re trapped on a deserted island and can only have THREE makeup products and/or tools with you. Which do you choose and why?
Oooohhhh… I’m definitely going to choose skin care products!
- And lip balm with SPF!
My skin needs to be amazing when I eventually get OFF of the island, so that makeup still looks good on my face! Haha!
Love you all!!!!!