As my time in makeup artist land continues, I have learned more and more that anyone working in this industry is due for a crash course in psychology. At the beginning, I thought as long as I could apply makeup correctly and follow all the rules I would be okay. A little blush here for the camera, a properly applied strip of lashes, and a perfectly symmetrical set of wings could only equal success. However, every face I came across was different, even more so, every personality was different. Every woman I meet is her own, unique person. Imagine that!
As a makeup artist, I am asking a woman to climb into my chair with a naked face. Something many only allow their most loved ones to see. While I (and others) see beauty in this bare face, she may not feel that way. Do you love your naked face? I feel as I have learned the strong business woman persona well enough, but the balance of strength and vulnerability is a goal continually worth working towards. It takes strength to make decisions (abiet small ones) for someone, but it takes vulnerability to have a reason why. Beyond your own personal preferences.
I must admit, I have snapped into the “automated makeup application” mode more than I care to, but on my best days I, as a person, get to know another person. Do I really feel like giving a piece of myself to every person who invites me to do their makeup? The natural introvert inside of me cringes at the idea. If I can’t be open with them, how can they do the same with me? My job is to create an accurate representation of their beautiful selves through their makeup. If I don’t make the effort to get to know them, their loves, their hates, their hearts, I will fail.
This profession is more than expensive creams and powders, a brush or a fancy pink sponge. When someone hops down from my chair, it is my deepest wish she feels ready to face the day ahead, whatever it may hold. Maybe she needed a listening ear or some enjoyable distracting conversation. A calming voice and a little (or more) reassurance. Maybe she just needed some alone time to process the events to come. A makeup artist has a small amount of time to prepare someone’s face and also to encourage their heart. My goal is always accomplish what I am paid to do and do it well, and nothing will stop me from that. However, what I have really learned to love, no matter how exhausting, is creating the emotional space my clients need to achieve for that day. They need to look flawless, feel strong, and prepared to be exactly who they are.
If you have invited me into your important day, whether it be your wedding or your senior photos, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have taught me so much, and (just guessing here) you didn't even know it.
Beautiful photos by Joshua Wong! Thanks Josh!