As I sweep blush across my client's cheek, we're making conversation and she asks me the age-old question: "So... how did you get into doing this?" Well...
Short version: I saw a pretty girl do her makeup. Decided I wanted to look like that. Watched YouTube. Went to aesthetics school. Built my dream. Voila.
Sounds simple enough in the short version. But the long version is that I was a messed up girl trying to find her way, and I failed a lot before ending up where I am now. As cliche as it is, I made a lot of mistakes in my life but it truly did work out for the best.
It was 2014. I was an alcoholic and a drug abuser, pretending everything was okay and that I was just a fun-loving party girl. Deep down, I felt broken. But I had been this way for years at this point, so "it's just who I am," I thought. I had addiction issues, I was aimless, hopeless, depressed. That's just how it goes for some people, right? I didn't even realize that I could make a bright future, but to be honest, I was so wrapped up in destroying myself that I didn't want to make a future anyway.
Then one day, I up and decided to go to Guam. I was 24 and a friend had presented the opportunity to me. I had just started dating my (now) husband, and although he was trying to "fix" me and help me through my issues (bless him), he knew he couldn't keep me from going. I was always looking for the next wild ride, so off I went! I worked at a club on Guam for the few weeks I was there. My alcoholism got worse but hey, I didn't know anyone to get me any drugs, so I had that going for me, I guess. Everything is a bit of a blur for me during this time, but I do recall asking one of the club girls with whom I worked: "How do you make your face look like that?" Not my most eloquent moment, but what I meant was: how did she make it look so effortlessly flawless? Luckily, she didn't take offense to my weird question. She told me she was studying makeup at a school, and that I should go get a makeup lesson at the local MAC counter. Alright, cool. Wait, what is MAC? I wore pretty much exclusively CoverGirl and I didn't even know there were brands outside of the drugstore! But I made an appointment and honestly don't remember much about the lesson except that I ended up dropping $200 on makeup, and hating the makeup look the MAC girl put on me. It looked so heavy, compared to what I normally wore. This worked to my benefit though because now I keep this in mind whenever I'm doing someone's makeup.
Okay, so fast forward a few days and cue a wild, drunken mental breakdown - alone on an island where I didn't really know anyone. I won't go into details but it was a really bad time in my life. My (now) husband ended up quickly selling some household items so that he could afford the $2,000+ flight to get me home ASAP. I was back in Tennessee on the promise that I'd get sober. My husband saved my life and I'm forever thankful.
Maybe it was fate how it all happened - going to Guam, getting that lesson, and reaching my absolute rock bottom... That $200 splurge ended up creating a passion for makeup which in turn helped me focus on something other than my newfound sobriety and how much it sucked! It gave me something to fill the void that I had previously been trying to fill with substances. I discovered the vast world of makeup tutorials and became obsessed. I learned so much, my makeup collection grew, and I decided maybe I would love to do this on other people! This could be the path for which I was desperately searching! I could finally make something out of my life. Being a two-time college dropout, it seemed I had found something that I could imagine doing forever.
And since makeup artistry is so much more than playing with fun colors, I wanted an actual education. I put my two weeks' notice in at the hotel where I was waitressing, and enrolled in aesthetics school. Best quick decision I could have made! I fell in love not only with makeup, but with skin care and the whole process of making people feel pampered and beautiful. Maybe because I was so used to being a source of chaos in my own life, it was nice to be a source of comfort for other people. My favorite thing about aesthetics school was putting clients to sleep because my facials were so relaxing. There is no higher compliment! I graduated, got licensed, and began building my freelance makeup artistry business into what it is today.
You know, it's crazy to think that was just 3.5 years ago. So much can change in a short amount of time. If I were to give any advice to someone looking to start working on their dream, it's this: don't give up. Yeah, that's cliche, but it's true. There were so many times I felt down and discouraged, like I wasn't good enough, and maybe I couldn't do this after all. I compared myself to other artists, which made me feel inferior and like I should just give up because I'll never be *that*. But guess what? *That* is not what I want to be, which is certainly a good thing. I have my own style, my own goals, my own passion. You don't ever need to compare your work to someone else's, because there are clients out there looking for someone like YOU. Focus on yourself. Take inspiration from others, but always believe in your own capabilities. You have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but you'll never find out if you don't get there first. Get yourself together, and focus on what you can do just for today to bring your goal a little bit closer. Then do that again tomorrow, and the next day. I never thought I'd go from addicted party girl to flourishing business woman. If you had told me four years ago where I'd be today, I'd laugh and take another shot of Jack Daniels.
... But this is all a bit too heavy to explain to my client on her wedding day, so I just smile. finish applying her blush, and say, "Fate has a way of getting us to where we need to be."
**If you are struggling with substance abuse, you can call 1-800-662-HELP for information regarding treatment and support groups. You CAN have a better life, I promise. I am proof! Please know that it does get better.**