You’re a “Celebrity” Makeup Artist? REALLY?

Can we talk for real people?

A couple of months ago I was asked to be on Illusions Beauty BlogTalk radio talk show The subject “Celebrity Makeup Artist”.


We discussed a lot including my love for NY and others loathing of NY hahaha. We also discussed folks using the title Celebrity Makeup Artist. I was recently emailed the question what makes a person a celebrity makeup artist? It’s a title that has been used as much as one drinks water these days. Here’s my take on the title and why – you shouldn’t use it unless its true You know you’re a celebrity makeup artist when:

At least 90 percent of your clientele are “Celebrities” have you on speed dial—and actually call you · You’re booked at least 3 months in advance · You have amassed at least 3 steady celebrities · When you don’t work for free or half rate just to get the gig · When the majority of your income comes from working with Celebrities (IE the gigs pay your bills) · When you don’t have to explain who you are working with –and what show they’re from · They actually pay your full day rate and happy to do so.

YOU’RE NOT A CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST if … 

  • you luck up and get a gig with one or two celebrities ·
  • your resume reads like a “WHO’S THAT? instead of a “who’s who
  • You don’t make the majority of your money from celebrities
  • They are not your day to day client
  • You worked with them once and they never called you again—though they may have promised to in the future
  • You did the gig for free or discounted your rate
  • Any of the latter fit into your category then remove “Celebrity” Makeup Artist from your Title (for now)

Lets-me explain. When you use the word “CELEBRITY”—before makeup artist you are saying this is the way I make a living-understand?–Like Bridal Makeup Artist. I know there is a certain cache to being a celebrity artist I get that, but if you don’t have the credentials to back it up you do yourself a huge disservice.


THE Pros and the CON

The Pro –you’re a PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST with a good site, good solid work—Bravo!! You’ve gotten the opportunity to fill in for Mariah Careys makeup artists cause she was sick. You think-honey I have arrived. You do the gig—Well. You rush to change your site and business cards with the new title CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST.

CON!!!!! Why? She’s your first (she could be your fourth) celebrity you’ve touched. THINK-and please think logically here. Mariah isn’t your client,  she will not be paying your rent. You can put it down on your makeup artist resume and dream of more fabulous gigs to come your way.  Sorry my dear you are not a celebrity makeup artist.

When I read bios/resumes of “celebrity makeup artists” sometimes there isn’t any celebrity list, just name dropping to increase their cache or so they think. It either tells me that you either lucked up and got a cool gig (that has definitely happened to me and major congrats to you) or you assisted someone and didn’t give credit everywhere—and believe me I know about the latter and how that error can bit you in the ass. Either way, sorry to tell you, you are not a celebrity makeup artist. Think!, if you’re going to apply for gigs from assisting to counter to anything in between they will ask you way more invasive questions then a simply name drop. You don’t want to be caught out there with an answer filled with hesitation

YOUR INTERVIEW “I see you’re a celebrity makeup artist, fabulous- so give me a list (resume) of celebrities you’ve worked with and what was it for?” How was it to work with Mariah, how did you handle their agent/manager? I know X was her makeup artist are you her replacement? How much was the job? Who called you?

YOU reply,  “Well I’ve (hum) actually (uh uh) worked w her once (Huh-Ohhhhhhh) and a friend (huh) of a friend referred me and I didn’t get paid.  Their reply “oh, ok so tell me about the others you have listed?”—your reply “sound of crickets” If you think no one will ever delve deeper you’re wrong. Seriously, why embarrass yourself?

Unless your clients are like: Sam Fine (every black female celebrity I can think of) , Billy B (Pink, Sharon Stone, Lady Gaga), Mylah Morales (Rihana) , Reggie Wells (Oprah like no other) , Frances Tolot (from Madonna to Beyonce), Sharon Gault (Madonna, Britney, Christina Justine etc) and countless other fabulous artists you are just embarrassing yourself. THEY ARE CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST. They have paid their dues, worked their craft and earned the clients they have.

It has taken me years to put down the word “Celebrity” in my title list. For me I normally like my descriptions to read Beauty, Editorial, Fashion, Runway, High Def, 3D, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Educator—the title would be longer(lol) or a simple favorite of mine is the best, Makeup Artist. Being a Celebrity makeup artist is not my ONLY means of income. For me I do love the total sum of what makes me a makeup artist and pays my bills.

If you think you’re fooling the masses with that title, you’re not. What is so wrong with being a fabulous Makeup Artist who has worked on a few Celebs? Not one Thing! Believe me the industry will always ask the who, what, where, and why, you’ve worked with, and the industry as big as it seems is very small especially in the celebrity world. Why pad your resume or title if you don’t have too? What’s the rush to being something that you’re not? If you do get the celebrity gigs, congrats you are on your way–build your clients do great work and more will come. Believe me I know