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....


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#TeamNatural .... Wait! What?

So the internet when HAM when a website displayed a Caucasian women as a representative of the "Natural Hair Movement." It's been ugly in the cyber-world. It was ugly for a few weeks and fortunately, I have no dog in this fight, however, I have an opinion. From my understanding, the Natural Hair Movement really isn't as much a movement as it is a statement. For centuries, women with Afro textured hair that was often called, "nappy," or "bad hair" etc., would often use Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) to straighten our hair to either loosen or eliminate the curl. There are women who were known for having "good" hair; however, they had curls that were loose, almost wavy and that was the "ideal" texture. They didn't straighten their hair with the vigilance we kinky girls did.
Not gonna lie, having the "z" pattern wiry curls absolutely sucked! Sitting between your mum's legs as she waved a hot comb through your kinks was not fun. Sadly, the detangle process was what did my hair in. Thick hair, think wiggy, that really had no part but rather sat on one's head was so difficult to comb through most times I found excuses to not want my hair done, but that meant no church, no church meant no home.
When most girls came of age, to be determined by their house rules, they could get a relaxer to straighten or relax the curl. When I found out about this, SIGN ME UP!!!!  Against my mother's wishes, I succumbed...


It was as if heaven opened and cherubs were released around my head that day. I could not understand how addictive this would be. I felt like I had "good hair" although everyone knew the good from the bad haired girls, it was wicked moving my head and my hair not stuck to my head. When the wind blew, I had some problems, just like the white girls! We understood the struggle of rain, fog, and other elements that could take a good hair day and throw it down the toilet.
My mum refused to "put that junk" on my head, so I had to work humiliating chores for families to afford my addiction. I had a worker's permit, but I had no experience, car, references, so cleaning, babysitting, writing papers, all means to get the roots straight. Most women did this for most of their life.
About 10 years ago someone brought to my attention all the health hazards of the "creamy crack." I spent a lot of time researching anything to dispute the claims. How could I allow hearsay to steal my joy? Devil be damned!

Sick as it sounds, I scoured the internet to find out what beautician was known for getting hair bone straight. There were times, my scalp was on fire, but if I said anything then the chemicals would be rinsed out with the chance of my hair not straightening all the way. So I suffered with the chemical burns in order to have that hair that moved like the girls on tv and magazines. Sure, my body and face were jacked, but the hair was on point.
In time, more of my associates were doing a "big chop" or "bc" and opting to stop straightening their hair and to let it grow in it's natural state. Some were more zealous than others. They said natural and they meant natural. They stopped putting any chemicals in their hair. There were recipes made from ripened bananas, avocados, raw honey and other items found in the house. As for colouring the hair? Henna! I started greying at nine so I do colour my hair. If that makes me unnatural, cool, I'm okay with that, but the fact that in 06, I transitioned (no big chop) from relaxed to natural has been such an amazing journey. It's had highs and lows, it takes a lot more time, patience, and tender loving care to do my hair, but I don't mind. I am past the whinging about how many hours it takes since the beauty shop took a whole day, it's nice to have my weekly pampering session.
So, where is this #teamnatural coming from? When a Caucasian woman was interviewed by a predominately black website, pitch forks and torches ensued. It was the interview that divided a movement. In all fairness, the struggle with kinky coarse hair is much different than the curly haired girl who isn't even transitioning. She just decided to embrace her natural curls. No more scrunchies, this girl is wearing her hair proudly.
So, shots were fired, fingers were pointing, domains were questioned, boycotts were trending and accusations ran amok. Nearly everyone, even those who didn't understand the "movement" were chiming in. A man held a forum via Web Ex to try to bring the peace back. I tried to listen, but I kept thinking about that song, "I am not my hair," by E. Badu. Was it really that serious? It's one thing to not spend money where you aren't respected such as Asian owned beauty supply stores, but now we are boycotting some of the friends we "grew up" with online.
I must admit, I did view some bloggers and vloggers differently; but fortunately, none of them live on my side of the world. Being an outcast has its benefits.
Do I think that it was wrong to put a "Becky" as a featured natural? There are some who have kinky hair; however, this one did not. I find that poor taste because it would be like having Kate Moss represent Weight Watchers. Sure, she may "embrace her natural curves," but they miss the point.
Will there ever be a #teamunited? Of course not, so I'll just dodge the bullets, educate myself when necessary and stay out of it. How was your week?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Individuality is a Lost Art

Google images
It kind of depresses me when I see young women and older feel like they have to be like everyone else. What's more is that many are in denial about it. Right now, I cannot count on my fingers and toes how many vloggers are getting breast augmentation or rhinoplasty. It's similar to the "concealer brow" and the "how I contour" trends. Many will deny but contouring is an art which entails taking a one dimensional face into a three dimensional, but is not advised for everyday wear. The art is being able to exaggerate the good and suppress the bad. If vloggers show their audience how they, as amateurs, create their face; however, if not done correctly, it looks odd for day to day wear. If you can see the line of demarcation, it's not done well. The art is in the ability to highlight/contour without it being noticeable.  I saw a vlogger who has the most beautiful, augmented nose, and she did the same stripe down the bridge to narrow what has already been narrowed. Rather than do the skunk stripe down the nose, a better method is to work with the side and/or nostrils.
you have a wide forehead, if done properly, contouring can minimise the the size of that facial area. If one likes their cheekbones, there is a method of highlighting that can accentuate them. Each day hundreds of
Boobies are the new black. Sadly, some of the most beautiful vloggers are undergoing surgery for enhanced breasts. They tell themselves it's not about pleasing others but if there was never an emphasis on boobs, no one would be having this surgery. Just like bums. Years ago, having larger assets was something black women were gifted with, but with the help of Jennifer Lopez and Sir Mix A Lot, we began to look at our posterior and want a bit more perk. We can't forget Pippa Middleton at the Royal Wedding. Even I was a wee bit jealous. I recently saw this show Botched where a woman thought she was getting a Brazilian butt lift. The results were shocking. It left me with more questions than answers and sad for the client. Ahh...the quest for perfection.
I once considered breast implants, but having any sort of surgery is risky and I think the worst. I heard mixed reviews about them feeling natural, feeling too hard, and losing sensation. Plus, say at 25 they are installed, at 35 a good check up needs to be done, and pray no revision, encapsulation, etc. occurs. Then there is the idea of  something foreign in my body which my body will want to reject, and even if it's only saline, something busting internally can't be good. Add to it, after child birth, they will drop again and then my girls are saggy just as they would have been with no surgery. I find flat can be sexy. Most pear shaped women have small chests, and that's okay. They're just breasts. If it makes people feel better, that's psychological and out of my realm, but we should be more than what we look like. Is the visibility and criticism in social media to blame? The influx of online critics can probably contribute. Not to mention websites and forums, of every kind, who pick apart others on their appearance and make meme's and pass them on. That should be illegal. But I digress. Love yourself and your flaws. Easy to say, but when so many of the cool kids are doing it, it's difficult not to succumb. If you do succumb, take care of them, they can rupture, be lopsided, so many issues later on, so think about how much you want to invest in your chest.


Monday, July 14, 2014

No Country for Old Women

I received something that really struck a nerve pertaining to ageism. I'd like to think of it as a social experiment. I don't look my age at all. It could be that I'm a hermit, the melanin in my skin or, genetics. When I get carded the recipient will stare at the identification, place it under a light, look at it, look at me, then some exclamation like "Wow!" or something occurs. Maybe it's a first world problem, but when my peers thought they had a 25 year old peer and then they learnt different, the interactions change. It gets more personal. There is more cattiness and gossip toward me than previously. I guess it puts me in that "category" of mature career woman. I use the term mature, because as a beauty aficionado, I am very aware of marketing, products, and media presentation.
I don't fault women for being so obsessed with aging as society does nothing to allow women to embrace becoming older. I was working on a client's face, and her concern was looking too old. That would not be so shocking, if it weren't coming from a 22 year old. She said that all the birthdays after 21 are down hill according to her mum. With the images of women on telly, I can't say I blame her. I am pressed to find a reality show that begins with "Real Housewives of ..." that doesn't make me cringe. It is like a menopausal version of Mean Girls. There are more physical altercations with the older women then there are on any of the shows on MTV or other channels. In addition, the main focus of these programmes, looks and money. I would be terrified of aging as well! You see all the backstabbing, cosmetic procedures, and men who would rather be at work than at home with their partner. Sure, some of it is contrived; however, it's not just television.
Whenever an article about a women who is over 40 is published, the title usually has something about age. "Jane Doe: Looking good at 40," or the Jane Doe, 47, has found love with a man three years her junior. When a woman dates a younger man it's news, but men date women who can be their daughters, but they don't have an equivalent of "Cougars," on television because men always date younger women. We females are simply traded in for a younger model.
If I listed all the celebrity males dating younger, and I mean much younger women, I would be writing until the Second Coming. It's not disgusting if a man is 40 and his girlfriend is 23, but the opposite and it's news.
I also feel that we are forced into fearing age due to biological clocks. I've read countless articles about the hazards of childbirth after age 30. At age 35, you are considered high-risk. Halley Berry stated her giving birth at 47 was a "geriatric birth." She spoke of all the risks she took at having a baby. By the time she listed them, I would have been expecting something with three eyes, a hoof and not foot, etc. Way to scare someone for nine months that they are selfish for thinking they could not have any kids, and she and her husband are now expecting.
I believe that's why there are quite a lot of divorces. If you think about it, a woman finishes secondary school age 18, then if she doesn't have a gap year, she may graduate from university at age 23-25. If she chooses to continue her studies, we see her at, for arguments sake, 28. Now she is done with school and looking for a job, friends, travel, but in two years she enters that stage where she should be thinking about child birth. So...she meets someone decides he/she is the one, and the quest to have a child takes precedence over the opportunity to be married. The pressure is insane. Doing bridal work, if I had a dollar for every time I heard, "How soon until I get some grand babies?" I could retire and own an island. At baby showers it's, "Are you planning on more?" I'm impressed that woman have been able to do this with out having a mental breakdown.
I expressed this when the friends at MORE sent me a survey. I don't think I made a difference, but I was happy to speak up and give credit to women since it seems all we are good for is having children, raising them, and staying, young, thin and beautiful and married to a man who's fat, bald and incapable of helping around the house.