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20-07-2004
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saturnine's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Becoming a Makeup Artist - training, schools and breaking into the biz
I thought this would be better suited in here, seeing as makeup artists backstage are supporting cast in a sense.

How does one become a top makeup artist, that is, work backstage at the top fashion shows?

Where do you train? I know a lot of it comes from who you know too...

How did Pat McGrath become such a sought after artist?

Any information would be greatly appreciated, as I have no idea where to start.

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20-07-2004
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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i suppose u go to a college or take courses and work ur way up cuz u find out about diff. job opportunities through those schools. aslo, i know that MAC top makeup artists work with celebs and models; if u want to do that just take some maeup courses b/c that's how they'd hire u they need experience and then u'll find out what ur next step shud be

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19-04-2005
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Does it pay well? Im sure you start off at minimum wage,...

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20-04-2005
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i don't think any of them really go to school for it...
i think you start out by practicing on your friends and by doing 'test' shots to put together a portfolio...

sometimes if you work at a make up store...like mac or shu eumura...you can meet professionals and assist them on some shoots...then you will meet the assistant photographers who you could 'test' with...and so it goes...

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20-04-2005
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From my experience, all of the make-up artists I work with have trained for between 1-4 years at make-up college or private specialist schools (I could give you the names of them in London, but as you're in Australia it would be of no use...)

They learn different types of make-up skills, such as special effects, TV/Film, period/costume, catwalk and fashion etc. and from that decide which area to specialize in.

They then start to test with photographers to build up their book - and if they want to do make-up at catwalk shows, go to see the agencies who deal with the show production. They can be taken on for a few smaller shows during fashion week, but many make-up artists I know don't want to do this as they are re-creating someone else's look, which isn't so appealing. They might never get to touch a model - some shows have more than 30 make-up artists milling around with nothing to do. Someone like Pat McGrath, will have her team of assistants she works with all the time, and you have to get past them first!

Working on getting fashion and beauty shots and magazine tearsheets in your book will be more beneficial to you than doing catwalk shows. Do these only for fun as agencies (if you decide you want representation) don't value these in a MUA's book unless you are the main artist.

Around half of the younger/newer MUA's I know also work on a beauty counter part-time. This means you can always keep up with new products and buy them at a discount (this can be quite invaluable as you have to have a huge kit) Some MUA's cases are so heavy I can't lift them!

For lower budget shoots you can also be required to do hair. (I don't like MUA's doing hair, but some jobs require it) so you also need to have skills here.

It's quite a difficult area to find work, in London anyway. There seems to be so many MUA's all going for the same job - I often wonder how one stands out over another.

I heard Pat McGrath was stopped by someone on the street asking "did you do that fabulous make-up yourself?!" and the rest was history...

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20-04-2005
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haha...1-4 years of school...??
wow!!

i worked with one guy who got started because he used to play basketball with mario sorrenti...kind of like pat mcgrath's story...
this business is so random...so much of it is just being in the right place at the right time and catching some breaks......
good luck to everyone..!!..

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20-04-2005
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yeah...I think if you're creative you don't really need all that training...all the college classes in the world won't help some people!!

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20-04-2005
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I did my make up course about 1 year and 4 months ago and i do agree itīs a business that has no "ways" of achieving sucess, it allways depends on the people to whom you work.

Networking is mostly what you can do to be successful in this business i guess. At least for me, most of the jobs i got until now were by other people with whom i worked that asked me if i could do this or that work.

Now i am slowly trying to get into my own thing, that is getting myself work. People who need makeup for some event like a wedding or something. I would love to work also for fashion at the same time, but i thibk that will come with a bit more time.
I have done some fashion weeks, 3 to be more precise, and itīs because my teacher at the makeup school is the responsible for all the make up at those fashion weeks, so i worked as part of the team.

I agree that practice is VERY important but i find it odd that people say to practice on your friends as the only way of learning. For years i wanted to work at this area and absorbed everything from tricks and tips that i read on magazines, but no way they ever teach you how to work with brushes or the real "step by step" make up basics, that in the end is mostly all you need to learn to start, the rest do come only with practice, not the beggining.

Stilista, i found something you wrote that made me curious :
"Working on getting fashion and beauty shots and magazine tearsheets in your book will be more beneficial to you than doing catwalk shows. Do these only for fun as agencies (if you decide you want representation) don't value these in a MUA's book unless you are the main artist."

Do you think that agencies donīt value these because the actual creation wasnīt ours? Even if we did the whole make up from start to finish?

Thanks!

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20-04-2005
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Hi Sofia from what make-up artists tell me, that's exactly right - even if you do the make-up from start to finish, you are essentially only copying what the head of the team has requested so agencies don't care if you have worked on countless shows....some girls I know have turned down some big shows to do unpaid magazine shoots as it's going to be more beneficial to them.

I can only think it's the equivalent of being the stylist for a designer - The stylist has the vision of how he/she wants everything to look for the show, but there are a team of dressers who make sure the models look the way they should. In the end only the stylist will be given credit for the creativity.

Good luck!

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20-04-2005
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Thank you very much for your reply.

I donīt think there are agencies for make up artists here though...usually those agencies are the same that work with models, or are there special agencies only for mua and photographers?

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21-04-2005
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Thanks for all the info guys! I'm really interested in the makeup industry, but I have no experience whatsoever as far as makeup courses or working at beauty counters. I have done some candidates' makeup at a pageant and experiment on my sister..but thats about it..pretty limited, I know . LOL. What other tips can you give to people who are just starting out? Thanks again!

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27-04-2005
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How to be a make-up artist 101
Hi Everyone!

Being a make-up artist is a life-long dream of mine...well not life long...i guess i didn't pick up my first tube of lipstick until 3, but anyway, I'm somewhat clueless on how to be one. I've talked to various make-up artists and editors of magazines and recieved some advice. If anyone has a SHRED of info, I'd love the help!


Thanks!

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27-04-2005
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hi frockradar..i've merged your question with a pre-existing thread...
please do a search before making new posts...
thanks...and welcome to the fashion spot...

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27-04-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofialuv
Thank you very much for your reply.

I donīt think there are agencies for make up artists here though...usually those agencies are the same that work with models, or are there special agencies only for mua and photographers?
there are, of course, agencies for hair and make up and photographers and stylists...check out fashion directory for some listings...
http://www.thefashionspot.com/links/

there are many more as well that have not been listed yet...
that's an area that we still need our members' help with...

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28-04-2005
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I've known a number of make-up artists, and they all got successful taking different paths. I suppose the one thing they all have in common is having worked at some point for a company i.e. a make up counter, mac, bobbi brown, stila. Some of them went to special school for it, but that doesn't seem to be the deciding factor in success - the women I've known who've gotten most successful are a) very very good at networking and making friends and b) always, ALWAYS look absolutely great themselves. You have to package yourself as a walking billboard for your talent! And that doesn't necessarily mean looking perfect or anything, but cultivating a style and a look that screams 'i know what looks good and i can make you look good too' - sometimes in a very invidualistic way. a good agency will help you get jobs, but you gain your reputation with hard work and a lot of confidence! Making people feel comfortable is key, too - nobody wants a MUA who's more arrogant than the models!

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