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Am I an Actress or am I a Makeup Artist? Well, I’m both.

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Malia2Even from behind my computer screen I can hear all of your voices as you read this saying, “yea….so?” So whether or not you realize it you will probably only end up thinking of me as one of those things. In my 6 years in LA (yes 6) I have come to the almost terrifying realization that most the people I know have pegged me as only one of my titles, very few accept that I do both. What I mean by calling this whole thing terrifying is simply this:  If someone introduces me as a makeup artist only, I get a pit in my stomach that somehow I have lost a possible acting connection/job in the future, likewise if I am only introduced as an actress, I have the same fear that I have lost out on a possible makeup opportunity for the future. I understand this is my crazy LA mind noise that plagues us all in some way or another but it started me thinking, why do people have such a hard time accepting that I do both, a fact that I am very public and very proud of?

I couldn’t even being to tell you how many people I know who are actor/writers, actor/producers, actor/directors and so on and people admire that and are totally accepting and understand that concept. So then why does actor/makeup artist confuse so many people? I think it may have something to do with them being polar opposites. If you write/direct/produce a project, theoretically you could cast yourself or write yourself in therefore combining 2 different careers which makes it make sense. Doing makeup on the other hand helps in no way with your acting career…..right? WRONG! *insert maniacal laugh here*

Allow me to shed some wisdom young grasshoppers because even though this may seem like a problem it’s honestly a blessing in so many ways. Being an actor/makeup combo has helped me in BOTH careers. I’ve being hired on as makeup by the same people who cast me in a previous project and vice versa. Why? Because they liked me! This town, this business is all about personal connections. No one wants to be stuck on a set for 16 hours with people they don’t like, but if you’re good at what you do and people like you? They are going to hire you.

Now I am going to be honest because well, I’m an honest freaking person and I’ll tell ya, the actor/makeup combo ain’t cheap. In fact it’s downright expensive. Let’s break it down, as an actor you need to pay for headshots, getting your hair done to keep up your look in the headshots, gym memberships (because we got to keep it tight!), acting classes, workshops, all the office supplies to constantly print sides/resumes, the acting books, union fees, therapy sessions (just kidding….but for real), professional makeup (haha! Yes finally an area I can save some cash!) and of course all those cocktails at those mixers that you feel you JUST HAVE TO GO TO even though you know no one. Dizzy yet? I’m not done. MAKEUP EXPENSES…..oh man where to even start. Let’s just say the kit in which I carry around my makeup and hair stuff in is already setting me back the better part of a grand, not to mention all the foundations, primers, mascaras, false lashes, concealers/correctors, contouring, eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, eyeliners, eyebrow fixins, lipsticks, lip gloss, lip stain, makeup brushes (1 brush is roughly $12… now x that by 50….yea), that’s not even the half of it and I haven’t even listed off items from my hair kit yet. Starting to get the picture?

Luckily most makeup brands offer pro discounts which help A LOT but brands like Chanel and Armani don’t which is why you won’t find them in my kit and that’s just too bad. Here’s another sprinkle of wisdom for ya. DON’T COMPARE YOUR KIT TO SOMEONE ELSES. Period. My kit is not going to be the same as a MUA who has a long roster of celebrity clients. They can afford to buy every shade of Chanel foundation at $60 a pop because a) they can afford it and b) their clients request it. I’m an indie queen who loves to help out actors look their best. I do a damn good job with what I got and what I got is damn good too and I’m proud of it. Comparing yourself to anyone of your peers whether you are an actor or a MUA is suicide because at the end of the day you’ll never get to appreciate what you do have/accomplished when your only way of measuring it is by comparing yourself to someone else. You will always fall short if you do that because there will always be people more successful than you and less successful than you and if they are the ones you are paying attention to you’ll miss out on enjoying YOUR successes.

I’ll leave you with this:  I have set out on my own personal mission to kick ass in both the makeup world and the acting world. Some people may have a hard time understanding how or why I do both but I know why I’ve chosen to and eventually I will be laughing all the way to the bank. I encourage all of you to follow your dreams, whether it’s just one or two or three and try your hardest not to judge yourself too hard along your journey and stop to celebrate all your successes along the way. And for me? Well I’m going to make sure I am the one introducing myself from now on.

Thoughts? Comments? Do you have a similar story? Please share below!

Malia Miglino

About Malia Miglino

Known to most as an actor and make-up artist - Malia Miglino considers herself a creative above all else. Her passion to create and chase her dreams brought her to LA at 18 where she attended the Makeup Designory and received her Journeyman Certificate. After years of both acting and doing make-up for web series and indie film; she was inspired to open her own freelance beauty and consult service, Beauty and the Brush in 2011. In 2014 Malia decided to start taking her career into her own hands and created her first web series “Macabre Mondays.” Whether it’s illustrating a children's book, filming an old haunted location, delving into a character or making up an actor on set; happiness comes from living the life of your choosing. For Malia that means creating something everyday and inspiring other women to do the same.