I have been a makeup artist for many, many years. I remember when I first started out trying to find my way. I was living in New York City and overwhelmed by all that it had to offer. I was so concerned about looking professional even when I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I had trained for my craft but showing up and appearing to be calm and cool was very difficult. One of my first jobs was on the evening news for ABC. I had gotten the call last minute from the union as a permit (not a union member yet) and rushed to the studio by cab so I wouldn’t get lost or late. In my haste I forgot my keys in the cab. You can imagine my shock when 11:30 at night I couldn’t get into my apartment. Oh, and by the way, I had packed enough equipment to do makeup on 100 extras instead of the one newscaster I had been booked to do!
Which brings me to the importance of having mentors and being a mentor. We have all been there and the relief we feel when one person is willing to show us the ropes can make all the difference between quitting and making our mark. I was so fortunate to have some of the best in my craft show me their secrets. With each job I discovered how much I didn’t know and how excited I was to learn. The encouragement and friendships that occurred are still with me today.
I still get butterflies in my stomach the day before a project begins and I have worked on everything from multi million dollar films to single day commercials. But I know that the moment I don’t have those butterflies I need to re-evaluate why I am in the business. There are still people helping me when I run into specific problems. The problems are more complex and technical but they will always exist and I am so grateful for those who come to my rescue.
With that said, after all these years I also mentor many in my field. I truly believe it is vital to pay it forward. I am never afraid of giving out information for fear that someone will “take my job.” I jokingly say by the time the new artists learn everything I know I’ll be retired or dead! They will have to put in the time to make the mistakes, celebrate the victories and learn to trust their gut. Not to sound too Pollyanna but the joy I get from someone coming back to me and letting them know I made a difference in their lives, is my way of saying thank you to all those who have helped me.
It’s easy to find ways to help. For me, it’s giving lectures at universities or demonstrations at makeup schools. I visit my friends at the trade shows and talk to new artists there about how to break into what seems like an impossible industry. I let them know that it’s difficult but not impossible and make sure they have my information in case they have questions. I even find myself answering questions when I’m shopping! It helps keep the information fresh for when I really need it.
So I encourage you to be that mentor to someone who is now what you were in the past. You will be surprised and grateful with how much knowledge you have and how rewarding it is to share your gift.