When I was in college I loved makeup. I loved the transformative power of it, of making myself feel pretty, confident, or ability to express how I was feeling. I loved looking at the pretty colors and products, and the creativeness of playing with all the colors and textures.
When I was younger I had always used drug store products, or Clinique. But during my junior year I was introduced to the MAC cosmetics counter, and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe all the different colors and finishes, and how you could blend them together and create something totally new. I spent most of my hard earned bank teller money there buying the most outrageous colors to rock on my nights out, and sometimes at work. (There were a few days I decided to wear my brightest greens and blues to shake up my boring bank teller work clothes).
This was also the year I discovered Kevyn Aucoin, my all time favorite makeup artist. (If you don’t know who he is you have to look him up, he was one of the first celebrity makeup artists). My mom bought me his book Making Faces, and it was life changing for me. I had no idea of what you could do with makeup, and how you could transform yourself into the most glamorous version of yourself, or into someone entirely different. I would stare at the gorgeous photos of the women he worked on and try to figure out how I could create it myself. Once for a sorority formal, I used a gorgeous, glowy photo of Gwyneth Paltrow as inspiration for my own look . I didn’t come close to looking like she did in the photo, but I felt beautiful and sophisticated for trying.
After I graduated from college I would still have fun with my makeup while going out at night, but I never really thought about it as a career. I was focused on getting a “good job” with a good salary, benefits, the works. I never thought about what I would enjoy doing, or what I was meant to do. It was all about the “right kind of job.
After 10 years of working in careers and companies that stressed me out, I was done. I was depressed, and so stressed out I couldn’t get out of bed. Seeing a voicemail from my boss gave me such severe anxiety that I often wouldn’t listen to them for a week, or would delete them before listening. I knew I had to leave my career as a pharmaceutical sales rep, but I didn’t know what I could do to pay the bills, feel fulfilled and love what I did. I knew there must be something different out there for me, and that I was meant to do more.
I started to think about what I loved to do when I was a kid, and what I wanted to be. Like many kids, I wanted to be everything, but there were a few things that kept coming up. An artist, giving makeovers by doing makeup and hair, a teacher, or a counselor. I had actually tried teaching and found the long hours, impacted classrooms with no help and low pay not ideal for me. And I had gotten my degree in psychology but was struggling to find a job without a masters degree and the 3000 intern hours that needed to be completed along with it.
And then one day I was at a company meeting in Vegas I found my inspiration. We walked by a fashion photoshoot in progress in the casino. I watched the makeup artist touching up the model and I thought, that’s what I want to do. I spent the next few months researching everything I could to find out how to start a career as a makeup artist, and talking to anyone remotely connected to the industry that could help me.
I enrolled in Cosmetology school to become an esthetician, quit my corporate job after saving up enough to get by for the next couple months, and haven’t looked back since.
Over the last 9 years of being a makeup artist, I’ve grown my business, shifted gears, learned new skills, and it’s evolved into doing something different than I originally set out to do. Every shift I’ve made, lesson I’ve learned, failures and disappointments I’ve had has brought me and my business to where it is now, and on track to where I want it to go. It hasn’t been easy, and there have been many times I’ve thought about getting a regular job again. But I know that following this path of being an artist, an entrepreneur, a creative, and a coach is where I’m supposed to be, and what I’m meant to do.
I share this with you because I know so many women are out there wanting to do something different with their lives, feel more fulfilled, and make a difference in the lives of others.
Is this you? If you’re feeling stuck in a career you hate, uninspired in the work you do, burnt out, or unfulfilled, just know it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope my story will inspire you to dream about what you are meant to do, and maybe take small steps towards making it happen.
You got this, girl! And I’m here to remind you when you forget that you do.