I love getting creative with make-up, it takes me back to when I was in my teens at school, loving Art. I used to sit for hours drawing faces, (especially eyes for some reason!) listening to music.
In my twenties I discovered Body painting whilst I was studying Beauty Therapy, (I was doing a City and Guilds course at North Lindsey college.) I always knew I wanted to get into Make-up artistry, but there wasn't anything happening where I lived in Grimsby, in that line of work. I had done various dead end jobs and felt frustrated.
I completed my first body painting when I was about 20, and I was hooked and knew I had to go further afield to chase my passion and dream of becoming a Make-up artist.
When I completed my course there, I was 22 years old, (I'm 47 now but don't tell anyone.) I applied to The London college of Fashion, and I was over the moon when I was asked to go to an interview. I turned up, very nervous but confident I could do it. (Wearing the latest fashion helped! Black flared trousers and high, platform heels! Goodness knows how I managed to not fall over.)
I was so happy when I received the letter to say I had been successful in gaining a place on the H.N.D, 2 year fashion styling course for Hair and make-up. I started the course when I was 23 years old. I loved it. I had gained accommodation in Hampstead, (funded by my lovely parents! My Dad was working in Bahrain.) Lots of famous people lived there, I even saw George Michael one day!)
Make-up artistry then, was SO very different to what it is now of course. It was a relatively unheard of career to be in, and I was told, that to expect not much help upon graduating, as most seasoned Make-up artists were not going to assist in furthering any of our careers, as they had spent decades trying to climb the ladder themselves.
Our tutors were very experienced, respected Make-up artists who had worked on numerous high profile jobs and celebrities. I was in awe. Especially when I met Sheelagh Wells, (she was the Dr Who Make-up artist, amongst many other things.) I wanted to get into being a Fashion make-up artist or be a Make-up designer for T.V.
I loved being in London. It was of course, very different to the small town I lived in. I loved the vibe, hustle and bustle and diversity that it provided. It helped so much with the creative process. I was very lucky that my parents supported me through the whole of my time in London, so I owe them everything.
Whilst studying I got to work on lots of different fashion shows at London Fashion week, St Martins Graduate fashion week and we even put on our own London college of Fashion body painting show, where we were given a brief and had to design our own body painting and then apply it to our model to be shown on the catwalk one evening. The body painting took nearly all day! but once on the catwalk, it was so exciting and a very proud moment to see mine, and all of my college friend's works of art. It was a very special time for me. Polly Osmond was in my group, (check her out.)
Upon graduating, when I was 25 I moved to Nottingham to be nearer home, (after being majorly let down by my dream job in Manchester. I had applied to be a Make-up artist for Granada T.V. I had got to the 2nd stage but was just pipped at the post...I was devastasted to say the least.)
I didn't want to move back home as there wasn't any opportunities for me. I gained representation with numerous Model agencies, (who represent Make-up artists), and find work for you nationally, on lots of different commercial and editorial projects. I absolutely loved it. I worked with lots of professional photographers and models and brands such as Loaded magazine, Marks and Spencer, Boots, Vision express, etc. I also worked in Theatre and T.V and even at The Royal Opera house. It was hard work and entailed lots of travelling and waiting for pay, (3-4 months after the job usually!) But I loved it, and it was all worth it, as you gained the valuable prints most of the time, from the photographers, so you could build your portfolio up.
I also was trained in London by the new brand, Bobbi Brown and went to work for them in their first store in Nottingham. I totally understood and fell in love with the whole ethos of Bobbi Brown and loved working for the brand and using the products, which I still use today. I still adore the Make-up artist Bobbi Brown too. "Less is more." However, I am very sad that she isn't part of the brand anymore.
Without going into too much detail, I fell ill and had to move back home. When I was 30 years old I had my beautiful daughter, Alisha, (who is now 17 years old.) I sorely missed doing my make-up, but I loved being a Mum and as soon as Alisha was able to pick up a brush or pencil, we sat for hours sketching, cutting and generally making a mess most days. One day I even let her paint her own face and the whole of her body with paint, she loved it!
Alisha is an incredible artist, (I am not just saying that, but she is.) Some days I could be found visiting Alisha's nursery painting the faces of the whole of the class! I was in my element! Unpaid, but I just loved anything to do with make-up and art and I needed my art fix somehow!
When Alisha was about 3 years old, I began dabbling into offering make-up for brides for weddings. I still had all of my make-up kit and there were no other Make-up artists in the area or even advertising in The Yellow pages! (I am showing my age now!!) The internet was in its early stages, and it was a lifeline for me, as it meant I could then order professional make-up for my kit. It provided a whole new window in to the world for me.
I also dabbled with teaching and passed a teaching course. I taught make-up for a year or two, but I got fed up with it as it was too basic.
Very slowly and with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I began building up my business from nothing. Brides loved it and I also began offering Make-up lessons. Women loved that too! I saw a niche and just went for it, slowly developing my reputation.
That was 15 years ago now, and I am so proud of myself that I have built up my business from nothing and have earned an excellent reputation not only locally, but nationally too. My career started 27 years ago...where does the time go?!
I wasn't from a wealthy background as such, and it has been very difficult for me in that respect. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I always say, that I was too stubborn and passionate to give up on my dream, merely because of just where I live and wasn't going to let anything hold me back. I have proven that it isn't where you are from, it is where you are at and as long as you have the passion, determination and drive to do something, it will come. Some days I didn't believe it would.
Most of my weekends now are taken up with wedding work and during the week, I offer make-up lessons and of course, my make-up trials for weddings and shoots. It is tough, juggling everything but I love my work and helping people. Its such a lovely feeling to look into a lady's eyes after doing her make-up and she is so happy or has happy tears in her eyes, as I have helped her not only look amazing, but feel it too. Then of course I get a lovely big hug too! What is there not to love?! I have clients all over the U.K and I get to visit lots of beautiful venues.
Yes, I don't have the creative opportunities that I initially wanted and craved when I was younger, things and people change with time, but I am working for myself, with lovely people and doing what I love, earning a living in beautiful Lincolnshire, using the best products in the area and travelling all over the U.K, working on the happiest days of people's lives, I consider myself very lucky! Most of my student friends are not even working as Make-up artists now, its a very tough industry to be in, but I am pleased that I started when I did. I would hate to be starting out now.
To satisfy that creative yearning, I often fulfil that by applying weird and wonderful make-up on myself or models. The most recent one was for Halloween. I love this time of year and I was inspired so I went for it!It takes 3-4 hours to get it just right, I am a perfectionist. I love the feedback that everyone gives me after posting my work, even if it is for wedding work or the more theatrical type of make-up. I put my all into every job I do, with the same passion and precision.
Watch this space for more competitions and make-up looks! Thank you for reading my blog and for all of your lovely comments and support, it really means a lot to me. x