The Ugly Side of the Makeup Industry

Published on: 3 Mar 2016

It's always good to be aware of these when considering working in a particular profession so you are prepared to take the good with the not so good!

The make-up industry is hugely competitive with many newly qualified make-up artists joining the industry daily. You need to be prepared that for every job out there that there will be many, many people vying for it too so look at ways of standing out from the competition.

Make sure you have a good CV; this is an area that is often lacking as people consider the role to be purely a visual one so they may have a great portfolio but then let it down with a poor CV. Keep it brief and concise; list your work clearly and don't list every single piece of work as this can soon stretch to pages and pages and no one will read through all of these. 

Tailor your CV to each job so rather than sending out one version for every job consider tweaking it to highlight your experience that is most relevant to the role you are applying for. If it's a fashion job then emphasise your experience in this area with more detail and still keep other areas of experience on but keep them brief.

Make sure your portfolio is also tailored for each job; a designer looking for a make-up artist for a TV drama won't be particularly interested in a portfolio that only shows fashion pictures. Consider a show reel for TV and Film work as this will really show off your talents on screen which is where your work will be seen.
Unfortunately a side to the industry which is really quite ugly is that of make-up artists taking credit and claiming that other peoples work is their own. This has become more prevalent with the increase of social media and people being able to easily copy and save photos and pictures.

Never ever be tempted to do this! It's great to admire and follow others work for inspiration and ideas but remember if you claim something is your work and it isn't  the make-up world is remarkably small and in no time you will be found out! When that happens you will lose all credibility as an artist and possibly never get work again as who wants to work with someone who may steal their work and claim it for themselves? Look at others work for inspiration but be inventive and different and create your own interpretation too; copying something exactly is never going to build your talent and set you apart as a great inspirational artist.

There are many different sides to being a make-up artist which makes it an exciting job but that also makes it unpredictable which in turn makes it difficult to plan your life ahead. Sometimes that is fun and exciting never knowing where you may be working day to day and week to week, but when you want some stability it's often difficult to achieve that.

There is often lots of travel involved so be prepared for long drives, train journeys and hours spent hanging around airport lounges. You may get to travel all over the country and even the World but often you may never see more of a country than the airport and hotel before you are packing again and off to the next location. Living out of a suitcase gets tiring after a while!

You also need to have stamina as hours can be long, including working at weekends, overnight and ridiculously early mornings! If you think you will struggle to get up at 3am for a 12 -14 hour day you may need to reconsider your choice of profession! 

On any job you could find yourself working with a team or sometimes alone. It's important to be able to adapt to both for different reasons.

Team work can be great as it can be very social and supportive however if someone in the team doesn't pull their weight or is a  personality this can be very exhausting particularly if you are working with that team for many months which can be the case especially in the Film industry.

How you manage yourself in these situations is crucial for your own sanity but also your reputation. If you get involved in the politics and dynamics of difficult situations it can not only cause you distress but may gain you a reputation as being as bad as the person causing the problems and word spreads fast in the make-up world so don't jeopardise your employability getting too involved in dramas!

Working alone can equally be as difficult but for very different reasons. It can be very lonely having no one to share the trials and tribulations of the day with. If you have a particularly difficult client it's more challenging to try and deal with this alone and if there is lots of time on the schedule between clients the make-up room can be a lonely place and time can drag with no one to chat to!

One other down side to the industry can be other artist’s jealousy! When you are doing well, particularly if you haven't been in the industry for long others can really show their true colours and try to damage your reputation. This can come in the form of malicious gossip and rumours, being vocal about your work on social media and also trying to destroy your credibility amongst other influential make-up artists.

In the long run your true talent and professionalism will shine through and people will see this, so the key to surviving a situation like this is to stay strong and remain impartial. Don’t respond to them, you don't need to justify yourself. If you are a talented individual others in the industry will see and acknowledge this and support you. The real proof is that you will be the one getting the great jobs and achieving all that you want in your career!