Michelle Grad – Makeup Artist
Beauty Inspirations –
I was living just outside of Edmonton, Alberta when I set on my way to become a makeup artist in 1991. I had inspirations that I held to which helped me stay focused on learning my craft: the conventional beauty of models and actresses, being surrounded by color, watching cosmetics transform a person’s outlook and confidence, the photographic process in creating a portrait, and the fantasy of being a super model while the reality of my very short stature loomed (very low I might add) over my curvy 5’2” frame. I still hold strong to those inspirations but with a shift in perspective that I realize is a direct result of the incredible experiences and amazing people that I’ve met during my career. I quickly learned to see physical beauty in every one and instead of wishing to work with famous models and actresses, I can be moved by your features from the first time I meet you. I think less about being a celebrity makeup artist to people who are admired for how beautiful they are and get super excited when I get to show you beauty in yourself that you didn’t know was there.
Color gratifies my senses more than anything else (closely followed by music). It will distract me, stop me in my tracks, lure me away, and sometimes make me speechless (that’s not easily done). Most artists use a medium for how they can transform it into something beautiful. Beauty is my raw material of choice because I can use texture, tone, highlight and shadows to coax it to your forefront. I’m genuinely moved when you can see physical beauty in yourself that you didn’t know was there. I used to glance at photographs. Now I offer to assist photographers to watch how they use light, angle and the human form to create art. I’m very grounded in the reality that I’ll never be plucked from the crowd by a model scout (by the way, that doesn’t happen to anyone) and swept into a lucrative high profile modeling career. I love my creative roll on this side of the camera. Besides, I’m more than twice the age as the shelf life for most modelling careers. I have more curves, wrinkles and sun damage and less hair than I did in my twenty’s (not just participation ribbons but life trophies). I also have more confidence, self-assurance, passion, creativity and acceptance. All of this I use to understand you and help make our time together an opportunity to become friends and bring out your inner and outer beauty.
How I roll –
It is important to me that clients can access products that I use during their appointment. The products must be: gentle for the most sensitive skin, have exceptional color range, be: long wearing, highly pigmented and Canadian if possible.
Live, Love, Survive. Repeat –
I get openly excited about what I think is beautiful and dance whenever music moves me…….no matter where I am. I’m a mom who learns more from my sons than what I can ever teach them. I’ve discovered that building others up empowers me. I accept that I’ll always have jiggly bits because I love what’s good but not always what’s good for me (I truly believe that the Canada Food Guide should include chocolate as a legitimate food group). Growing up in rural Alberta I’m constantly in awe of what nature brings to the table and it inspires many aspects of my life and work. I try to remember that every experience is important to my growth so as long as I look for new experiences I’ll continue to grow. After several close calls and life hiccups I’m convinced that a sense of humour is critical to survival and self-preservation. I love being a working artist and everyday I’m grateful for the opportunity.
S. Michelle Grad
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