Jumpstarting A Career As Makeup Artist

Pep Talk: Jumpstarting a Career as Makeup Artist

I’ve been dreaming of a career in the fashion world as a makeup artist, but I have no direction. How do I get started?

Via E-mail

Celebrity make-up artist Tia Dantler
Celebrity make-up artist Tia Dantzler

Going from daydream to dream job takes purposeful planning. And with so many career options available (including department stores, salons, celebrities, photography, television, and film), celebrity makeup artist Tia Dantzler (www.tiadantzler.net) says practice is crucial. “I sat as many people as I could in my chair and did a lot of free work to gain experience,” recalls the nine-year industry veteran.

Although a license is more for an aesthetician (think manicures and facials), Dantzler suggests finding a reputable makeup artistry program in your area to learn various techniques. Also, scour books and magazines for looks and trends to duplicate on others. Celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine offers a DVD Fine: The Basics of Beauty ($24.99).

Working at a department store makeup counter will give you experience with all nationalities. You’ll need an industry-tailored résumé and flawless portfolio to score such a job. Dantzler recommends collaborating with student photographers and aspiring wardrobe and hairstylists to gain strong pictures at little to no cost and a win-win situation for all involved. Researching the industry as well as the different paths of notable makeup artists such as Dantzler, Fine (www.samfine.com), and others will help you put your efforts into perspective.

“I just engulfed myself in the industry to hone my craft,” says Dantzler, noting that, as with any business, doing a great job and maintaining a good rapport are important. “Being friendly, on time, and having a clean kit and tools are all the keys to clients calling you back and building your confidence as an artist. Some want to jump up and make the money right away, but in reality it takes diligence and hard work. If you want something and are passionate about it, you’ll do all you can to gain the knowledge needed.” Go forth and work it!

This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.