1.How old were you when you became obsessed with make up?
I can’t really say I became a makeup artist because of a makeup obsession. I became a makeup artist because I was an artist. I paint, sketch, and design since I was 10.. My dad and older brother use to be artists. My dad would paint and would buy me my own supplies and encourage me to create. So my obsession for makeup would be color, texture, and dimension makeup can create. I started at a very young age. I would do makeup and hair on my friends or cousins, I had many to practice on.
2. When did you decide “okay, this is it, I’m going to be a professional make up artist?” Who were some of your mentors or inspirations when you got started?
I remember the day I decided I wanted to become a makeup artist. I took a makeup workshop for fun. www.rydermakeuplabs.com . The owner of the workshop was Celebrity makeup artist James Ryder. He later approached me and told me that he could tell I was an artist by the way I held my brush and carefully painted the makeup on my model. I had never considered being a makeup artist. I lived in Houston TX. I figured they mostly worked behind makeup counters and at salons, which I did not want. But he encouraged me to begin my career. He explained his travels, meeting other creatives, and all the possibilities makeup could bring to my life. It hit me…I have to do this! “How do I get started??” I asked him. I’d have to say James Ryder was my mentor and he truly inspired me to do something beyond the norm.
3. What were the early days of your career like? Did you have to test a lot in the beginning to build your book?
I started testing with photographers and models immediately to build a portfolio. I did have to do many ‘tfp’ shoots, but it helped me learn how to communicate and create as a team. Sometimes the pictures were worth it and sometimes they weren’t. You quickly learn how to be selective and figure out what you want for your portfolio.
4. Looking back, is there anything you would do differently in your journey as a make up artist? Any decisions you made when you were younger you would not make today, knowing what you have learned so far?
I think that one thing I really regret in my past as a makeup artist, not giving certain creatives a chance to show how great they really were. Then seeing their work just months later and they had so much potential. You would think that I would have learned from being in the same position. Some photographers or models didn’t give me a chance because I was just starting out. So definitely try to see the potential and take risks.
5. How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?
Before agreeing to do a shoot I ask many questions. For ex. “What look are we going for? Location? Budget? Etc.” I make sure that I communicate over email so that I can look back at written words and study the look we discussed. I ask for a picture of the model as well. Anything I need to help prepare for the shoot. Like doing homework. Asking questions is never a bad thing. No one has ever gotten mad with me about it…if someone seemed like they did not have time to explain I would mention that I want to fully understand their vision for the shoot. Also don’t be scared to throw in some input. After all it’s your craft and you need to show confidence. During the shoot… I ask what the first look will be, we get our wardrobe in order, and I get started. Always be professional but also feel out the vibe of who you are shooting with so you can match the vibe. It’s all about balance. My goal is to please the photographer, client, model and of course myself.
6. What skills did you learn early on that you still use today?
My dad taught me how to talk business, which helps when you are your own boss. I don’t like that part of my job, knowing that it is a job. But it’s definitely been useful. Sanitation is very important. Also, always check your breath before doing makeup lol. I’ve heard some stories of stinky makeup artists. I didn’t want to be one. You are in such close proximity to each other.
7. Tell us what a dream job is for you?
My dream job would have to be traveling to different countries doing makeup. I’d love to work alongside Pat McGrath at a fashion show in Paris! My heart would burst with happiness.
8. What are the three tools in your make up kit that you can never, ever be without?
I’d have to say I can’t have a kit without my Face Atelier foundations! I’m in love with how it makes the skin look and feel. Waterproof Mascara (I like cover girl mascara) and eyelash curler, that counts as one to me! You need those pair together, and definitely some type of highlighter for the skin to look dewy. I’m all about great looking skin.
9. What advice for young make up artists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?
My advice would be. Never stop learning, and do anything and everything you can to learn. Now days there are so many tutorials. They didn’t have that when I first started (geez I sound old). I can’t say I’m a fan of those, unless it’s a tutorial from a professional makeup artist such as Billy B or Pat McGrath. Assist other professionals, learn the business and techniques that will help you. Most importantly don’t try to compete with anyone but yourself.
10. What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote would be something I actually lived by and thought for myself. “Never make a plan B when you are working towards your dream job, it only means you are expecting to fail. “ People would always ask me what my “real job” was, and what my back up plan was if I didn’t make it. At first I use to get scared and think …they are right! I would question myself and wonder what would be my plan B if makeup didn’t work out for me. Finally I realized that making a Plan B was not something I was going to except, because no matter what, I was going to be a makeup artist and nothing else would do. Also Beyonce Knowles told me “Don’t ever doubt yourself “and “ put your all into what you are truly passionate about”, who wouldn’t listen to advice from queen B!?
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