Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Building your personal Empire: Getting the gigs you want!

Greetings all!  One of the most frequent questions that I am asked is, "how do you book all of those gigs?"  I have a few responses to that, which I will tackle in this blog.  While I do not have ALL of the answers, I would like to share with you the methods that I have found to work for me.

First thing is first!  When you are working as a freelance makeup artist (or in any position within the beauty industry), you must establish in your mind that you are an INSTANT entrepreneur!    You are the owner of your business, which happens to be your makeup services.  You become a one-man show--leading your marketing/advertising and public relations.  You just don't have the luxury of having a full staff.  No worries.  It just means that you have to work smarter, not harder!

  • The most important piece of advice that I can give is to BE PROFESSIONAL!  I cannot stress this enough.  Dress appropriately, preferably in classic black.  Your hair, makeup and grooming should be near perfect and stylish!  Your image says a lot about you and you want to give a great impression to your clients!  Make sure that you arrive early to gigs.  You never want to be the one to hold up a production.  Time is money and you don't want your tardiness to cost you a gig or interfere with your networks.  Never, ever--under any circumstnce be a NO CALL, NO SHOW.  You put the entire creative team in a bind.  Remember, the industry is small and word will spread.  I was just speaking to a client from New York that said during fashion week, a number of makeup artists just did not show up.  Keep your word!

  • When dealing with clients, you must keep the lines of communication open.  When you book a gig, make sure that you call or email a couple of days in advance to confirm that you are ready for the job.  You may also want to clarify the nature of the job, payment and call times so that there is no confusion the day of!  After the job is complete, email or call your contact and the other crew members that you may have met to thank them for the experience and to contact you should they need a makeup artist for any other projects!  It sets you apart from the artists that never follow up!  Also, when your freelance gigs slows down (which will happen--do not PANIC) contact ALL of the people that you have worked with on prior jobs just to say 'Hi!  I'm here and I'm available and ready to work!" Send them links to your updated porfolio as well so they remember what you are capable of doing!!

  • Make a lasting impression.  Be social on set and with clients.  Through conversation, you learn more about one another's ventures and witness each other's professionalism.  Now you have opened the doors for more networks and they may call you for other projects or recommend you to friends/business associates.  Have business cards ready or if you want to be eco-friendly, exchange info via twitter, facebook or email! 

  • Take advantage of social networks.  A large portion of my clientele first saw my work online, whether it was my blog, online portfolio or the pictures I tweeted from previous gigs.  I have also had people contact me for bookings because one of my facebook friends or followers on twitter forwarded my info and portfolio to them.  Just this past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with Rosemarie DiLorenzo, Co-Founder, Owner and CEO of Swimwear-Anywear, Inc. while she was in town for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami.  One of my facebook friends passed along my information to one of her colleagues after they saw the link to my portfolio on facebook.  Two or three times a week, I post my updated information to all of my social networks.  Once people familarize themselves with your work, they may even begin to re-post which means more exposure for you!

  • Other makeup artists and creative team members are your FRIENDS!  I cannot tell you HOW MANY makeup artists think that the industry is hardcore competition to the point that they alienate themselves from other makeup artists!  In this industry, you have to personable.  Put your ego aside and offer to assist another artist.  It is my personal opinion that you can learn a lot from other artists, no matter their skill level.  In the event that this artist is unable to show up for a gig, they just might refer you!  I have booked a ton of jobs by being referred to the client by OTHER MAKEUP ARTISTS!  Once they work with you, they feel more comfortable referring you because they are confident that your professionalism and skill set is up to par--since it is their reputation on the line if they are referring you.  One of my dear friends and colleagues booked a fabulous job with Nike, on location in the Caribbean, because she was referred by a makeup artist that she has assisted!

  • Think like a client who is in need of a makeup artist.  If you were in need of a makeup artist, but didn't necessary want to venture into a department store, how would you find one? Where would you look?  There are a number of possible answers.  Contact them all! The Hair salon?  Hotel concierge?  Event planner?  Send an email with your information, rates and samples of your work---follow up.  You may not see the results right away,  but you may get that unexpected call sooner than later!

Never be afraid to aim high!  Do you page through a particular magazine and wish that your work were on the pages?  Do you wish that you worked with a certain photographer or model?  What's holding you back from contacting them and sending them links of your work?  We,  MOST OFTEN, create the barriers that keeps us away from our own dreams.  Be fearless.  Be persistant. Take the steps in the direction that you want to go, otherwise you find yourself just standing still.  I believe that I found a lot of success in the industry because I am no longer afraid to hear the word "no."  If you show no confidence in yourself or in your work, why would another else bother?  Go for it BUT make sure that you are able to DELIVER!

If any makeup artists would like to shadow or assist me with future jobs, send me your name, a short bio and samples of your work to

Friday, July 8, 2011

GET THE LOOK: Naturi Naughton

Hello, once again loves!  I recently had the pleasure of getting Miss Naturi Naughton red carpet ready for the opening night party for the American Black Film Festival 2011 that took place at Club Play in Miami Beach.  You may know her as a former member of the group 3LW, Denise in the remake of Fame and probably most notably for her role as Lil Kim in the film NOTORIUS.  The multitalented New Jersey native also made her mark in theater, playing little Inez in the musical, Hairspray. 

Naturi was a joy to work with!  She knows her makeup stuff!!  We spoke mostly about makeup and skincare techniques and products.  Naturi has FLAWLESS brown skin!  When I inquired about her skincare regimen, she responded that she uses a brand of products called Dermalogica ( to keep her skin in check with traveling and environmental stresses.  The products leave her skin clear, even toned and hydrated, so I didn't need to use a lot of foundation on her.

I first primed her skin with MAC Prep & Prime skin to ensure that the foundation would remain fresh and long-lasting underneath red carpet lights and the humidity of the club atmosphere. 

Generally, during a makeup application, I like to begin with the brows and eye makeup.  In the event that there is any eyeshadow fallout or darkness, I can clean it easier from bare skin that trying to correct it on top of concealer.  Naturi's brows were already a nice shape, but just to give her brows more definition I used a MAC 263 brush and Espresso eyeshadow.  This also accentuated her arch, thus opening up her eye space for big, dramatic eyes!

photo:AJ Shorter Photography

Next, I primed her lids with MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork to eliminate creasing over time.  Naturi's Miami-style blue mini dress screamed glam and she wanted her eyes to match without competing too much with the dress!  We settled on golds and blues, with winged liner and lashes.

First I applied concealer as her brow highlight.  Using a concealer versus a highlighter gives a more skin-like look and doesn't compete with the shadows as we wanted the attention to fall on her lid space.  Then I applied MAC eyeshadow in Amber Lights to the lid with a 239 Brush so that color would pack on to the lid.  In her crease, I used Brown Script, a mid-tone warm brown to blend, with a 224.  The season is about random "pops of color" so I snuck in a bit of Electric Eel (vibrant, satin blue) to her outer lid space and a touch of Carbon (black).  Naturi loves to create an appearance of an extended eyelid, so I created a wing with E.L.F black gel eyeliner with a 263 Brush.  Finally, to complete her eye look, I used feathery Red Cherry lashes.

For the face, we didn't want the elements of foundation, concealer, blush and lips to overshadow eyes so I kept it simple.  I applied Makeup Forever HD Foundation to to the outer perimeter of her face and MAC Studio Sculpt concealer in a lighter shade underneath her eyes, center of the forehead and the bridge of her nose for a highlighting effect.  I dusted MAC Matte Bronze Bronzer over her face with a 150 (Large) Brush and applied Pink Swoon blush to her apples for a light flush.

Naturi wanted a lip that said 'Miami,' and that would appropriately fit her overall look.  I suggested pairing MAC PRO Lipstick in Show Orchid with MAC Cremesheen glass in Partial to Pink to the center and she loved it!  NOTE: Skipping lip liner gave a more muted, natural look.

Naturi and I discussed the need for more women of color to experiment with brighter shades.  I personally think that women with darker skin tend to bury themselves in coppers and browns because they fear that color would stand out too much against their skin!  It may, but its all about referring to a professional for the correct products, textures and application methods!  You can rock vibrant colors, you just have to own it and not over do it!  That's where I come in!