From working on TV and films to fashion and photographic work, makeup artistry is an extremely diverse career. If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a makeup artist, but simply don’t know where to start – talking to industry experts can help you to decide which direction you want to take your career in. Today, we’re talking to the incredibly talented Lucy Blake about her career as a makeup artist.
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I had always wanted to be a makeup artist ever since I was about 7 years old – I remember sitting my Mum down every Saturday night to give her a ‘makeover’ with bits of free makeup I’d collected from magazines! I think being obsessed with ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ also inspired me a little bit – I used to love watching how hair and makeup could transform people so dramatically.
Where did you study makeup and what qualification did you gain?
I completed a full-time media makeup course at The North West Media Makeup School (Aqua Rosa), based in Media City in 2014, which gave me a Level 3 VTCT qualification in Media Makeup, Hairdressing, SFX and Prosthetics.
I currently specialise in makeup for Ecommerce shoots for small brands based in the North West. I also do a lot of Bridal makeup, as I am part of a Bridal agency.
I originally thought I wanted to go into TV and film until I realised how long the days are on set, after doing makeup in the morning and touch ups throughout the day – it can be a lot of waiting around. I love the instant feedback and fast-paced environment that you get with ecommerce shoots, and I work with some really great teams.
What’s your favourite part of your job as a makeup artist?
As corny as it sounds, I do really love it when I make people feel good. After I have finished working on them and they look in the mirror and are suddenly filled with confidence – it’s amazing to see. I do also love it when I work with a team I know well and we get amazing shots for the client, so everyone is happy all round!
What’s the hardest part of your job?
I would say the hardest part of being a professional makeup artist is the sheer amount of competition there is in the industry. It can be frustrating when people complete a 1-day makeup course, with no basic hygiene training, and call themselves a makeup artist – plus, they also charge really low rates, so that’s terrible for everyone in the industry!
Aside from that, I think it can be difficult to not get upset if clients are demanding, but I feel like that’s something I’ve learned to deal with as I’ve got older.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I think I would have to say seeing my work in print for the first time was an amazing feeling. I’m also proud of myself for managing to handle freelance life and all of the pros and cons that come with it!
Who’s your biggest makeup inspiration and why?
I love a lot of Australian-based makeup artists – they’re so lucky to have that gorgeous natural light, and they’re all about glossy, glowing skin. I also love Britt Sully and Melissa Hurkman who are based in LA – they do some amazing glam looks.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career as a makeup artist?
I would say practice, practice practice! And be prepared – being a makeup artist isn’t all glitz and glamour. As a makeup artist, you can be asked to do a wide number of things on set – some of which you definitely didn’t sign up for! I’d also say it doesn’t cost anything to be nice in this sort of industry – you don’t ever want to gain a reputation for being difficult to work with.
Urgh – this is a difficult one! How can I pick just one?
If I had to pick one, it would be the MAC Strobe Cream – I couldn’t tell you how many tubes of this I have used over the years, but it’s amazing for perking up the skin and creating that first layer of glow. I always use it on my models if they’re a bit tired or under the weather – it makes everyone look great.
Finally – the hardest one here – what’s your favourite makeup brand and why?
After thinking about this for the past 10 minutes, I’d have to say MAC. It was the first major makeup brand I really got into when I was younger and I still use so many of their products from when I had a makeover there! They have such a wide selection and I know I can always count on their products.
Want to follow Lucy’s journey as a professional makeup artist? Then don’t forget to follow her on Instagram to see all of her latest work.