Happy New Year! Who is excited about 2014!?!? I know I am!
One of the things I am most excited about is the monthly artist interviews that I have planned to share with you. First up is Liza Macawili and she has a wealth of information to share with you. The questions that I asked only scratch the surface and I have a million more to ask. I hope to record an interview for a YouTube video and find out more. If you have a question, post it in the comments and I will add it to my list!
How did you get started in the industry?
I was a dancer in my former career. Dancers don’t always have the luxury of a makeup artist. I learned makeup for theater and the other dancers would line up and ask if I could do their makeup. After high school, I auditioned for my college dance program.
I didn’t make the cut and all I wanted to do was dance, so I dropped out of school and thought I needed to do something with myself to be productive so I went looking for a job. I saw an ad in the paper looking for makeup artists for a glamour photography studio named Freeze Frame (later bought out by Glamour Shots). I thought I would give it a shot. I scored an interview and brought in one of my friends as my makeup model. They hired me on the spot. I went through their training, learning their style of makeup, hair and wardrobe. They liked me and my work and they put me on their artist team. I was doing fashion shows and events for them and my first big makeup job was on “The Sally Jesse Raphael Show: Gulf War Makeovers.” I was 19 at the time!
After a year of working with Freeze Frame, I decided to get some formal training and I went to cosmetology school to get my esthetician license. But I still wanted to dance so while I was in school I auditioned for a few shows and I booked them! After I got my esthetics license I continued with my dance career, and makeup became my side job. When I retired from dance 10 years later, I worked in salon for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I quit my salon job and called every photographer in the phone book (this was pre-internet). I have been freelancing ever since. I started doing makeup in 1990 and I have been freelancing full time since 2002.
I started off mainly doing glamour makeup because that was what I was familiar with. Luckily I connected with a publishing company with several car magazines under it’s umbrella so I have over 70 magazine covers in the automotive industry. But when I connected with a beauty brand I started working in beauty for hair and fashion shows. Just recently, I started working on zombies a lot. So I do a little bit of all of that. It’s great because it keeps the makeup jobs fresh. When I get bored of doing too much commercial work a glamour shoot will come along, and when I do too much of that some zombie work will come along. It’s a great balance.
What is the coolest client or gig you’ve ever landed?
One of my favorite jobs was working with Snoop Dogg for the cover of Lowrider Magazine. I had actually gone to high school with Snoop and even entered and won a Halloween costume contest with him, so it was fun to see him again. I brought my yearbook for him to sign!
What do you love most about your work?
What I love most about my job as a freelance makeup artist is I feel like I get paid to hang out. Of course there are times when I have to work with difficult personalities but my regular clients have become like family and I get to work with a lot of the same talent. I used to love the travel, and I have been fortunate to see much of the world through dance and makeup, but now I love staying home with my family. I now enjoy working e-commerce the most because of the regular hours.
What is your favorite product or tool you can’t live without?
I have so many favorite products, but one product I use at most my shoots is Koh Gen Do cleansing water. I use it to prep the skin and it’s a great makeup remover also. I love how it takes off that leftover mascara and eyelash glue from the night before.
What was your biggest challenge in getting started?
I think the biggest challenge getting started is learning how to budget! Sometimes corporate clients take 3 months to pay, and every now and then they take even longer! You really have to learn how to pay your bills and save some money in case your invoices get backed up. I’ve had no money in my account and thousands of dollars just floating around in the system, with no access to it.
How do you stay inspired or motivated?
I stay inspired by looking at art and fashion. I have several subscriptions to fashion magazines. I do a lot of web surfing. I look at stylist agencies talent to see what they are doing. I enter competitions often so I can produce art the way I want, without an art director or creative director looking over my shoulder. I test as often as my schedule allows. I stay motivated because you can never get comfortable as a freelancer. Although I have several long term clients, you never know when they decide they want to go in a different direction, or try some “fresh” talent. I have learned that clients always come back, but there might be a lull before they call again, so you better have a diverse roster of clients to keep busy! It’s like that saying, “don’t have all your eggs in the same basket!”
What advice or words of wisdom would you like to share with someone who is just getting started?
Be fearless. Work outside your comfort zone. Network with artists with like minds and work ethics. Work with other makeup artists. I love working on makeup teams. I learn so much from everyone. Go to makeup workshops to learn new techniques. Test often with quality models, photographers and stylists. Some of my best clients came from networking at test shoots. Be punctual and prepared.
A HUGE thanks to my girl, Liza. Want to know more about her, follow her here:
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