I have worked at Eric Mull's photography studio in Cleveland for ten years now. I am freelance but Eric and I work together a few times a week. How did I get this key makeup artist job? Timing! I brought in my daughter for headshots and asked if he needed an artist. Eric's reply was "Yes; I just lost my last artist because we were engaged and just broke off the engagement."
I started there just as my middle daughter started Kindergarten. I was excited to be back to work full time. Just then after just seven months in I found out I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. HUGE shock, this was unexpected. I was so stressed because I didn't want to be replaced in the job I really enjoyed. I made a decision to keep working the 9 months eating lots of snacks along the way and climbing many flights of stairs into work each day during my pregnancy. My reality was that I was not going to be working full time just yet.
Eric's studio is really fun it could actually make a great reality show. We deal with talent agents, models that don't listen to directions and families that don't mind to argue in front of us over silly things. I once had a girl cry when I put her hair in a ponytail for pictures because she said she looked like a boy. I had to redo her makeup from all the crying. I’ve also shaved a girls arm pits because she didn't know how to before a photo shoot. Another day I had a model call her shoot off after her zipper broke once she put on a dress she brought in to wear. She was convinced that being overweight caused the break and wasn't comfortable staying. My opinion was that she looked beautiful and should have continued on.
One time a girl brought in a bag of extensions and glue to have me apply on her. I thought when she told me she had extensions to wear they were clip in ones so I went on to apply her makeup. When she pulled out the glue I just laughed because I am not trained in hair extensions. I told the girl “You seriously don't want me to do that, I have no idea where to start." We had to reschedule her.
The typical thing I hear as a stylist is "Oh guys must be easier to work with?” My answer not really. Many come unprepared with clothes that are the wrong colors, dirty or both. Some men have clothes rolled up and stuffed in a plastic shopping bag. They need pressed and sometimes they don’t fit them. Who brings a shirt that makes you look the the Incredible Hulk? Then there is the uni brow or hair that needed to be cut before they came in. You might think they weren't told but they have been by their agent and by me on scheduling. I think it is selective hearing.
The reality to all this modeling/ talent business is that people are trying to get a hold of stardom. Some have actual talent others have a dream. Many agents take all the people they meet even if they are not qualified, in the hopes they can follow directions and learn the craft. This is where people can prove how much they want this as a career and not just as a hobby on the side. If you can't follow directions to get photos done how are you going to be able to do well on an audition?
My life as a stylist is always entertaining, I love what I do and it mirrors life as a Mom. Here’s how, I listen to young people talk about plans for their future and feel compelled to interject words of advice or experience. I help groom all ages of people as if it was school picture day. Then there are times I well up in tears working as models and I talk about loved ones that are sick or have died and how they miss them. You might get to know someone really fast or have no idea what they are all about once the shoot is done. You definitely need to be a people person to be in this profession. My reality is that I am glad I left cutting hair to be a makeup artist. I get to meet some amazing and sometimes famous people. I never seem to have a dull day and my heart is happy.