How The Experts Made It In The World Of Make-Up

So, how do you get into the make-up business? At every event and trade show and on every film and TV set, MUAs get asked this question so we thought we’d put it to some of our awesome friends for the low-down.

 

Here’s what they had to say…

 

Dom Torres (Make-Up Artist & Hairdresser)

I asked a lecturer an intelligent question who recommended me to a make-up designer and I got my first job as a trainee on Mr Selfridge. There I met a make-up artist who recommended me for a job in the theatre. I worked in the West End for four years and was then recommended to a designer as a daily. After that I joined their team and have been working full out ever since.

 

Dom says ….DO A HAIRDRESSING COURSE FIRST AND TRY THE THEATRE

 

Jamey-Leigh Weber (Make-Up Supervisor)

After I did my research looking at the designers I wanted to work with I sent out multiple – but all individual – emails to designers (never phone them) and by persevering I struck lucky. I now work as make-up supervisor on set. I trained originally as a hairdresser and did a nine-month intensive course at Brushstroke.

 

Jamey-Leigh says…ITS NOT JUST ABOUT SKILL, POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND FLEXIBILITY COUNT

 

Tonia Vernava (Make-Up Artist & Hairdresser)

I found that applying to Skillset did it for me.  I had almost given up, having trained as a hairdresser and completed a nine-month make-up course at Brushstroke.  Through Skillset I got a position as a trainee on a six-month job and since then I have worked with that team and am now working as a make-up artist.

 

Tonia says…BE PROACTIVE

 

Marie Deehan (Make-Up Designer)

I was lucky enough to get work experience on a comedy sketch show while studying and it was busy with wigs and prosthetics. Working first-hand on set taught me so much about the industry and the many different skills needed, as well as set etiquette and communication between departments, things you don’t necessarily learn in the classroom.

Investing free time does pay off as you learn so much. I was unpaid but you make valuable contacts. After I had completed my course I got offered a trainee placement on a comedy show with the same team, and I haven’t looked back!

Marie says…. ALWAYS WATCH, LEARN AND LISTEN. KNOWLEDGE IS WEALTH

 

Cheryl Mitchell (Make-Up Designer)

I trained as a hairdresser and beauty therapist and worked for four years on cruise ships before returning home and doing a short intensive make-up course. I contacted Her Majesty’s Theatre asking for work experience which led to two days and the moment I stepped into the theatre I knew I had to be there! Later I discovered that the person who set the wigs in the morning was shortly leaving – right time right place – yes, but because I could roller-set well, it was easy. I took the part-time job and practiced dressing hair and finger waving and when a full-time role came up I was ready.

After that came Glyndebourne and then Covent Garden where I met BBC-trained freelance artists and I transferred seamlessly into film and TV.

The best place to learn period hairdressing and how to work with wigs is theatre and opera and you must respect the people who have taken the time to learn their trade.

Keep your head down, work hard, don’t moan, don’t be pulled into politics, use your initiative but be a team player and most of all learn how your colleagues like their tea and don’t leave any cups empty! Remember, you are only as good as your last job.

Cheryl says…GET A HAIR QUALIFICATION, DRIVING LICENCE AND INTO THEATRE

 

Rachel Lennon (Make-Up Artist & Hairdresser)

I didn’t go down the conventional route when I started in the industry. I was very lucky to have a kind contact who started my training in make-up and she advised me to get a hairdressing qualification. I did my research and found that I could work as a trainee on set during the week and then do my NVQ Level 2 hairdressing on the weekend. This was tough but it really boosted my confidence with hair. 

This was one of the best pieces of advice I have been given and I make sure I always emphasise this to trainees now. There are so many fabulous and creative ways of doing things in this job, and by working with different teams, you enhance and expand your skillset.

Rachel says… HARD WORK & ORGANISATION ARE CRUCIAL AND THINK AHEAD

 

Vicky Money (Make-Up Designer, Prosthetics HoD)

I trained at Greasepaint Make-Up School and applied myself fully to the course, ensuring I took every opportunity to listen, learn and practice during the day. One of my tutors whom I had admired, and had worked hard to impress, introduced me to a prosthetic designer on a long-running BBC series while she was at Greasepaint to demo a make-up. After several persistent (but very polite) emails, she offered me a two-week trial on her team. I tried to perfect every task she gave me, whether that was assisting her and her team on set, organising her products and stock or making tea. After my trial finished, she called to offer me a nine-month contract on her team. Having spent six months working for free, I felt like I had won the lottery!

 

I went on to meet a great number of make-up artists, designers and technicians through that role, many of whom have become great friends as well as colleagues. I have been fortunate enough to work consistently since, and am grateful for my job every day. My advice to new trainees is to simply work hard and be kind. Being respectful of your colleagues and getting on with your team and your artists will get you your next job. If you do try to always perfect everything you do, you won’t need to compete for work. People will want you around to support them, for your positive attitude and your commitment to doing everything well. That’s what I look for, and appreciate it in everyone who works for or alongside me.

 

Vicky says…POSITIVE ATTITUDE, HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT WILL PAY OFF

 

So there we are. These are the words of those in the know and taking their advice will stand you in very good stead as you pursue your career. As we said, this is going to be a recurring strand in the newsletter so if there’s anything you want to know more about, just ask us on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted: 17th May 17

How The Experts Made It In The World Of Make-Up

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