When I went to college, I chose to audition to become a dance major. It was a decision that I made based on my talent and drive. I thought I was a pretty good dancer, and once I was excepted into the dance program, what I thought about my talent was challenged in every single way. I danced from sun up until sun down, I danced on the weekends, and I danced during Christmas break. While my college buddies who had “regular” majors were chilling in their dorms or sleeping in, I was either in class or rehearsal. My professors pushed me to the max, some to help be get better, and some to break my spirit. Even still, I knew that I had to deliver. My goal by senior year was to be in the highest level classes my dance department offered. By achieving that goal meant that my artistry levels had improved so much so, that I earned the right to be in the most advanced level courses. I endured a lot of sweat and tears, muscle soreness, lack of sleep, split toes, short fall, Christmas, and spring breaks, etc… to make it. I also endured the constant critique of my teachers, but I knew that all of those things were what was necessary in order for me to be the best dancer that I could be.
Fast forward to my life presently. I am a full time freelance makeup artist living in a world where social media reigns supreme, and the more Instagram followers and You Tube subscribers you have, the more clients want to work with you. If you read my last sentence again, notice there is nothing mentioned about talent or skill. Makeup artistry requires a certain level of skill in order for you to start practicing your artistry on other people, and charging for your work. In the day and age where anybody can purchase a bunch of makeup from a drugstore, department store, makeup boutique, or online, create an Instagram page, and say they are open for business, there are not a whole lot of checks and balances.
Besides the “new” mua’s there are also “old school” mua’s that worked their way to the top of the celebrity makeup artist food chain by selling a ton of products for a specific brand, and using their networking skills to help solidify their place in line. Notice I mentioned nothing about talent or skill in that sentence either. Many artists that have been in the game for a while talk amongst themselves and critique their own work as well as the work of their peers, and the work of every one else proclaiming to be a mua via social media. The conversations range from praise to sheer disgust. Sometimes I have even seen images of celebrities posted by their “celebrity mua’s”, and the clients eyebrows are uneven, the color of the foundation looks wrong, the liquid eyeliner isn’t straight, the eyeshadow placement is off, etc… The worst part about all of this is that the artists that makes these mistakes will never know because people are often too afraid to provide constructive criticism. Unlike my days in college, there is no team of professors who have mastered the art of makeup that will grade you on every makeup application and provide you with feedback on how to improve. So my question is, how do we start to hold ourselves and others accountable to set a general standard for all of our clients including celebrities? It is only fair that when we start to charge people for our services that we provide the best service, so accountability is neccessary.