1. How did you get started doing makeup?
Makeup has always been my life; it was something that found me rather than me finding makeup. My makeup journey started over 20 years ago, when I was having fun entering beauty competitions. I was appointed as one of the tow girls to promote the official West Indies Cricket Support Association at the Oval in London.
I was also the first black model to enter in Ms Thamesdown in Swindon. I was placed runner up in Miss Nightclub UK, Miss Press Queen & Miss Levi Poster Girl. I also entered Ms Jamaica UK, and Ms Black UK.
Whilst attending a charity fashion show as a model, I was asked if I could help with the makeup for the evening, as they were short staffed and that was it, I was hooked. As much as I loved modelling I found a new passion in makeup and then my journey started. I never thought about the makeup side but finding my true passion was a dream come true.
I now also work as a trainer – working on your inner beauty from confidence building, resolving conflict to effective communication. This enables us to project the “real inner “beauty that we ALL have. My workshops also include Healing Our Scars – healing our internal scars, whilst also minimising /removing our external scars.
2. Did you go to makeup school?
Once I decided that this was the industry I wanted to be involved in, I enrolled on a makeup course. This course was incredible, as much as you think you have an idea of how things are meant to be, this takes you to another level. We are all born with a gift but the courses will help to bring out your strengths and weaknesses. It gives you a great standing for any job that you undertake as a makeup artist.
I did not have the chance to work at a makeup counter, but what I did do which was beneficially to me was to become a beauty consultant for Amway & Body Shop.
I love working with people and I love the interaction that this brings. Being able to organise parties and makeup for so many people at once was amazing.
4. Do you do bridal work? If so, give us details.
I am involved in so many other things now, but I actively work within the Bridal industry and tend to work with at least thirty five brides a year. My passion is definitely within the bridal industry. I feel absolutely honoured to be involved in the wedding day preparations. I love the transformation of the bride from the dress, hair and of course, the makeup. But more importantly the amazing inner beauty that seems to shine through them on the day. A breath taking experience, I seem to be the one who starts off the tears first.
5. Rates! This is the question people ask about most. How do you deal?
My rates are very competitive and you are paying for my knowledge, advice and guidance and over twenty years experience. Obviously all makeup artist have to earn a living, you are paying for my time and experience and my rates reflect this. I would advise all customers not to forget this, when they are booking you. Rates may also be affected depending on the area that you live in.
6. People always have crazy stories about doing makeup in the worst places! Where's the most unfitting place you've worked?
I was booked to do a wedding and when I got to the hotel, it was one of the darkest hotels that I had ever seen. The room was painted in a deep red with heavy navy blue drapes. We were forced to set up in the bathroom to do the makeup for the day. The bonus was that it was a decent size so I was able to put out my kit and continue the job. But just seeing the bride’s face when she was being made up, as she sat on the toilet was a picture in itself.
7. What’s the best thing about your job?
This is my dream job; no two days are the same. I am now involved in;
- Makeup Courses/Workshops
- Editorial/Photo Shoots
- Music Videos
- Fashion Shows
- Calendar Shoots
- Family Projects
- Guest Speaker for a Trauma/Domestic Violence Groups
What is their not to like. With all that I have encountered in my career I am now able to pass on my experience, by teaching courses. I am currently teaching a course at our local college called “Makeup for Black and Asian skins tones”, also Black and Asian hair. I am involved in work at the local hospice where I teach cancer patients how to come to terms with facial disfigurement, discolouration of the skin and showing them how to recreate eyebrows that have been lost through chemotherapy, also being involved in camouflage makeup workshops. I have been invited by the Trauma Group and Domestic Violence Groups as their regular guest speaker to talk about beauty from within. I am an enthusiastic participant in International Women’s Day every year, where we provide woman of colour free makeovers and advice and support for the day.
I have also been nominated for the Hair & Makeup Suppliers Award with the Bridal Magazine. This is an absolute honour and reward, of course I would love to win, however being nominated and recognised for the work I do, is reward enough.
I feel so honoured to be working in a job that I absolutely love. There is nothing else like it. It has taken me to places that I could have only dream about.
8. How do you keep your makeup skills fresh?
As a makeup artist things are always changing and updating within this industry, so attending Beauty Exhibitions and Trade Shows several times a year will keep your skills fresh and up to date.
By constantly working with new groups and individuals my skills are continuously being updated.
I am also approached by companies regarding new products and will always give good honest feedback.
9. How do you market yourself?
I tend to market myself in many ways. It is important to have a website that can showcase your work. At the same time look at the field of artistry that you want to be involved in and register yourself with these companies. I attend monthly networking meetings, but as I have been in this profession for many years I am very lucky that I have built up a good reputation so I am always being referred by my clients. I am always offering my services to different projects. I have been involved in Family Projects where I have been asked to go in and do a makeup workshop for mums whose children suffer from ADHD and need some time out, also
I have been working with the Carers Association providing makeup workshops. I have business cards/postcards which are left with my clients and I am now getting into the social media side of things.
10. How did you go about creating your kit?
I think the help and support that I received when I was on my course helped me to create my kit. Over the years I have worked on a multitude of skin tones and types, it is important to have the kit. I have a wide variety a makeup within my kit - the brands that I tend to use are:
Benefit -Ben Nye - Bobbi Brown - Clinique – Dermacolor - Kryolan – Mac – Max Factor – Mehron – MUA – Nars - Sacha – Smash box - Sleek
I believe that when you look at investing in makeup you should always use products that work well and will deliver. Now that I am attending more makeup trade shows I tend to look at products in a new way. I am happy to spend the money on the product to get the results that are needed. My makeup kit has taken me years to get it to where I am happy with what I have purchased. There are times when I have gone to show and purchased some foundation and when I have gone to use it, it really does not perform like it should, but like everyone I am always learning. I would say that one item you should spend money on is a good quality set of brushes. They are definitely worth the investment.
At the start of my career I brought everything in sight thinking that I must have that, or needed that and then when you have your kit sorted you then know what will work for you and what won’t. I went through a stage where I had so much stuff in my kit that I no longer used that I then transferred them to another case. What I tend to do with them now is to use them as presents, gifts and raffle prizes when I am attending teen workshops and family projects.
11. What do you use to carry your makeup?
I use a metal makeup case as this is perfect to showcase your makeup. Everything is to hand and they are easy to store and carry your goods. I have at least 4 of them.
I have also invested in a high director’s chair as this may be my dream job but over the years it does take it toll on your back.
12. Do you have a professional portfolio? Has this helped you?
Yes I do have a professional portfolio. It is an absolute must for any makeup artist as it shows your growth. I am going back over 20 years now and there are pictures in there that I do not have on my website. The makeup is so different and the same with the makeup that we use today the foundation is so much lighter so looks much better. As much as everyone is on the internet and involved in social networking there are still some people out there that just like to see things in hard copy.
I do have a website and also have photographs on my phone for the more technical people.
13. Do you have any makeup artist role models? If so, who?
Wow, this is a hard one. I have so many people who can fit this role and who have inspired me on my own personnel journey.
It is so hard to name just one, but it is not just about your skill as a makeup artist or your passion, drive and commitment, but more importantly your communication skills and how you process information and deliver the goods.
One particular makeup artist that stands above the rest for me is Damone Roberts best known as a Celebrity Makeup Artist and also for his work on 10 Years Younger US.
Want to be featured in the Makeup Artist Showcase? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. I’d like to feature artists from all walks of life, with all levels of experience. Thanks!