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....


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