My career feeds my artistic appetite.
Now I’m not sure if there are more sophisticated qualifications than just packing your cosmetic case across two countries and hanging out on the beach applying make up on beautiful women to call yourself an international make up artist, but in my mind it’s good enough.
When Star Newman, owner and photographer at Acts of Beauty Photography had divulged her idea of Fearless Women’s Boudoir Photography Retreat with me it was quite early in our professional relationship and I may not have been in tune with her ‘go get em-ness’. It was prepping models on the secluded Mar Chiquita beach or Jan Diego Falls in the rainforest of Puerto Rico that I said to myself, “you’d better take everything that this girl says seriously.” The second retreat invited a growing entourage (three more boudoir photographers) and found us in yet another surreal historic venue; this time at the corners of Race & Religious Streets in the Garden District of New Orleans. October 2015 will take us across the Pacific to Italy and yes; we would love for you to join us.
I must say, there is nothing for your artistic spirit, confidence, pride and yes, ego than to be invited as part of a professional team travelling thousands of miles away and contributing your art and skill to something so meaningful to so many people. When I have doubts about my place in the beauty industry all I have to do is open the boudoir photo gallery and I’m reminded that I have arrived.
I haven’t arrived here alone. I contribute the growth of my business to the support of my family, friends and clients, to my basic make up training and customer service experience. Every New Year, I evaluate the past few months and wonder if I should be making a shift in my life to a new line of work. As usual, for more than twenty years, I can’t imagine doing anything that doesn’t involve makeup and helping woman reveal their physical beauty so I unfold the tattered old bucket list, check off what I’ve done and start conjuring up ways to make the rest happen.
I tend to over think a lot of things in life (makeup jobs and projects included). I suppose that is why it is taking so long to knock a few things off of that list. I should know better than to do that-so many makeup appointments start with careful execution and the plan goes completely out the window before my brush touches skin; the end result is almost always magical. So one of my short-term goals is to be slightly more impulsive with my creative projects and reaching out to meet new clients.
I’m not exactly sure why it is so hard to “let go & let art happen”. After all becoming a makeup artist wasn’t even near my radar in my formative years. After I graduated high school in the late 80’s I was visiting family in Calgary and stumbled into the open house at the Southern Alberta Institute for Technology. I was immediately smitten with the Television and Radio arts program and was certain that I would have a lucrative career in radio. Don’t get me wrong; I adapted valuable skills from my broadcast training in a program that I now wish lasted for several more seasons (because that is in fact how I remember it; a perpetual college drama with non-aging colorful characters and human comedy/tragedy situations that were solved in less than 50 minutes each week). Enter: reality. You could make more money as a secretary in a small market radio station as the on air talent and sales person combined so you decide to make a shift in occupation and…. scene. I only planned to manage a cosmetic department for six months while I trained (with mentor Pamela Parker) as a makeup artist and build a clientele. More than ten years later I was in tight with the retail racket. The money was OK, the benefits were helpful to my young family, the training was invaluable and I made life long relationships with customers and co-workers. I don’t regret a day of it. Plot twist. My brave husband made a career shift of his own that allowed me to stay home more with our boys and financially launch my business. As our sons got older I could start to build on my craft (pre-internet this required ingenuity). From then until now I have crossed paths with countless brides, photographers, hairstylists, event planners, media professionals, trauma patients, transgenders, graduates, performers, models, other makeup artists and everyday people. Each of them have enriched my career and I thank every one of them for whatever tidbit of experience that I’ve gained from our time together. I’m still amazed how enhancing a person’s image makes them feel confident and sparks their spirit. I feel that I’m lucky to be able to offer that to someone.
So I continue to expand, grow, teach, empower and be humbled on this journey. I know that I’m well versed in what I do and that what I do is not going to make me financially rich, cure diseases, solve the poverty equation or simultaneously bring on world peace. If what I do helps people feel beautiful, makes them happy and gives me an artistic outlet then I think that makes me qualified to be what I am.