Monday, August 18, 2014

When things fall apart...

Please sit still!
This has been one of those time to dial 1-800-NOW-WHAT ? I've been working on a film with two directors that are extreme perfectionists and Type A to a T.
I really don't understand film sets. I haven't seen a movie since Moby Dick was a minnow. So, the faces look the same to me. "Newsflash" I don't have a Jay Z, Beyonce, etc. album. I listen to my own playlist because I don't like hearing the same song 10 times in the span of an hour.  Not because my taste in music is so elite; rather, I can listen to trance and want old school right after.
So, I usually have my headphones on, and get yelled at and bossed around. I told them to their face they need to treat me better. Now that I am still, I need to treat me better. We  teach people how to treat us. When this director went on about how educated, connected, and how many films she helped write and box office hits, in my head she's


editing whatever she's saying which I only see her mouth move and a frustrated looking expression.  Today was bad. I have been working 14 hours and my work is done in a routine. I am very precise in what I do. But after everyone has their face done, they talk, the lights are very hot, and you can see your reflection on their forehead, and the lipstick is absent because they talk so much. As we called it, equipment guys were leaving, people were going there separate ways, or to some place for "drinks" <~ yeah right! When I told them I had a flight cross country, she wished me well, but....
 IT HAPPENED !!!!!!!
She called me, "whatshername" I will work for you, deal with your mood swings, listen to your stories, keep your secrets, but don't. ever. call. me. that.  That's a deal breaker and I didn't turn around, but I felt so small.
I didn't go to the wrap party, I'm not going to the premier, and all of the emails that post production sends, which is A LOT, asking if our name is spelled correctly, and if we've submitted our contracts. So, being a baby, I stated my name was, in fact, wrong. I stated my real name is "whatshername." Later, I wrote her an amendment and told her that for this show, I'm three months on, maybe a break and then it's go, go, go and since we spend so much time together, it would be nice to know my first name. Maybe she was tired, or too many things on her mind, but trust and believe she knows my name, and face quite well.
We teach people how to treat us from the moment we interact. It's difficult and uncomfortable, but one must always feel they are equal to not less than. You don't have to believe it, but in time, you keep saying that you deserve better, it will radiate and that's the energy you will put out in the universe.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Natural Hair Coach

I would call that my dream job. Why do I fit in that position? Because people who are transitioning from relaxed to natural need all the support they can get. Sadly, where can you find someone on call to walk you through your detangling, co-washing, stretching, protective styles, product addition, hair typing, apl, bsl, and all the frustration, determination and dedication required to stop lye-ing to your hair? Exactly!
I realised I have a knack for this yesterday whilst assisting a group of women and their daughters during a meetup. As they went round the room expressing their issues I realised they spoke things I had chronicled on my journey. It got to the point where, I who's very demure and reserved, seemed to be offering all the information.
I am not better, nor do I have the answers, but I have been there. I dealt with the breakage, the shedding, the twist out gone wrong, the products that didn't deliver, the hair crushes. In fact, yesterday I looked at the spoils of my trip for hair ingredients and it looked like I was making various salad dressings and vegan trays. The oils: tea tree, olive, garlic, almond, jojoba, vitamin E, and Amla. I had the butters: Shea, Cocoa, Almond, Coconut, and Honey. The produce: avocado, banana, garlic clove, ginger, organic cinnamon, and blueberries.
I use these to make products for girls at the foster home. It's far less expensive to make than purchase, and we have a time to bond and talk about things. Also, since they are freshly made with no preservatives or chemicals, they must be used within a strict time frame. I'm thinking about getting fragrance oils for scent, but I'm concerned about the impact on future endeavors.
Seriously, when I was in line, there was a pretty young lady who had an unfortunate wig on and it was due to her going back to relaxing and had a weave sewn in and her hair was damaged when it was removed. The hair dresser washed her hair prior to removing the weave, therefore causing it to mat and resulting in breakage. She had to cut her hair to an inch all around and still doesn't think she can "do natural" because of the "work" so...
It's not really work if you think about it. When you first start exercising, you don't see results, but you are exerting yourself and working hard. It's the same concept. You don't see immediate results because you are training your body to work differently. It takes time. When you have learned to manipulate your hair for 20, 30, 40 or more years, you can't figure out what your chemical free hair likes. You didn't have to listen to your hair because the lye allowed you a "crutch" to keep from working with it in its natural state. Make friends with your hair. Learn what it likes, but don't pressure yourself. Don't compare your journey to anyone else's. It's one thing to learn or share experience with products, techniques, etc. but you can't expect your hair to respond the same. Also, don't expect the many rules to be hard and fast. Some people grow hair faster but genetics, diet, hydration, etc. are all factors. Go easy on yourself and your hair!


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

I have met so many people that think that working as a makeup artist is truly a dream job. I guess it's the influx of YouTube videos but I've been in the industry for so long that I must be simply jaded. Sure, you meet people who are high profile, and some who aren't but you are meant to think they are because in their town they are "someone." The people you least expect to be cocky are the ones who always threw me for a loop. Local news reporters or bureaucrats would be so demanding and then someone like Eminem is very shy. As I type this, I do recall good times, but they usually were as a result of something bad preceding it. An example? Sure! There was a time when I was sent to work in the music industry. I thought that would be fun, I'd worked backstage before; however, that just made you happy you weren't onstage. There is one performer who vomits before she goes on stage and it's part of her anxiety. Yeah, applying lipstick after that is nearly as bad as the models with morning breathe who clearly partied too hard the night before. They need to make a primer that can prevent the alcohol from seeping out of one's pores whilst hungover. Well, this gig was for artists in the "gangsta rap" field. I was told hip hop. I asked, "Real Hip Hop or Source Awards?" They assured me that it was underground hip hop. Well, I didn't pack much because 80-90% of what you pack is more than you'll need. It's better to have more and not need than have none and need. Well,  I wasn't familiar with these rap artists and my English was different than their American English which was not even English, nor Ebonics. It was, we got very high on the way from the airport and you're asking too many questions and get out my face. It may not seem like a language, but it's part gibberish, a splash of mumble, a bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of attitude. I was working with a girl who knew who the artists were, but she was so star stumped she couldn't really speak. So I'm trying to fake things and she's trying not to wet herself and while she and I are playing Dumb and Dumber, the artists were lifting some of our products. I don't think she even knew. Imagine watching someone apply the lipstick from your kit and place it in their pocket. What do you do? Well, I ask for it back. I guess this is why people are so into back ups. Nah, I needed this and I asked for it. The stare I got froze me as well as half the people in the room, but I got it back. I was scared the whole night. My hand was shaking but I had their faces perfect, their touch-ups on time, and their final photo ops came out great. That was the night I swore I would quit. I nearly got fired for the words I said to the event manager, but what did I have to lose at this point. Turns out, I was not meant to be at that job in the first place, they put my job with someone else, and she was upset because she was dressed and packed for a hip hop turned up night and wound up in the wine country sitting on stand by waiting for the sun to go down so the photographer could get his shot. Note: the photographer is the director. Models are more likely switched than photographers. In addition, the photographer is the person you need to be best friends with. Most of them don't like makeup artists. In fact, I think wardrobe gets more respect. The less the photographer needs you the better you are. They charge a lot for retouching, so you have one chance  to be on point. It's also okay for them to call it but it's frowned upon for the MUA to call time to touch up the model. You will need to touch her up because the elements work against you. If it's indoor, the lights are going to melt the makeup if you don't apply it properly, but touching up is not "powder the nose" or the result will be caked on look. Hint: No matter how bad the skin is, you need to make the canvas as natural and clean as possible. If you learn to do that, the rest is easy. It's not just a female thing either. There are men who have ageing, scarred, hormonal skin and they tend to be the least loving being fussed about. Also, if their is a hint you may be flirting, you can expect to not work again. It's not you and they know this, but you are thought of as disposable. Get used to hearing, "I can throw a rock and hit an aspiring makeup artist." 

The things you may think are great aren't when you are working. Travel? Sure, but think about getting off of a ten hour flight, taxi to the location, some of your stuff is damaged, production is waiting, and your body clock is not prepared for a twelve hour day. Then, say you are in Ibiza and just wrapped and flight leaves at 0200, so you have six hours to party. Sure, but think change clothes, fix hair and face, get taxi, find the venue, and you have only 30 minutes because you have to consider you need to be at the airport at 0100 the latest, have all your things, your boarding, your id, etc. so did you really see Ibiza?
There are more stories to capture, but the nostalgia of being treated like a maid for so long has given me rise to want a glass of wine.
Next time, how to be the Pat McGrath, Lisa E. or Mario and not the grunt....