Do you ever have the feeling of giving up? I know I have come across that plenty of times through out not only my career, but my life. Giving up on being positive, on keeping up with your fitness and/or diet, or on living your dream. All of us have our personal experiences, but it makes us stronger! As cliche as that sounds haha
Being a freelance artist can be EXHAUSTING, terrifying (literally hoping you make enough money each month to pay your bills), but ultimately it is incredibly rewarding. Specifically in the beauty industry, constantly in being the process of making humans look their absolute best, changing lives, helping others make their dreams come true by being a part of their crew on a passion project…The list goes on!
I remember 5 years ago, wishing and dreaming of being a hair and makeup artist in LA. I knew going into this career that the first 5-8 years I wouldn’t make much of anything, but I didn’t care because I was so passionate about the industry. I made the big move to LA in 2012 and man have I faced some tough times. I am not playing the “poor me” card in any way shape or form, but with the number of talent that is in LA, it’s hard. And really…most industries face this, not only hair/makeup artists. Luckily, I haven’t had a moment where I questioned myself of, “Is this really what I want to do?” I’ve heard a lot of stories when artists have come by horrific experiences that caused them to question why they are in this industry. Anytime I feel down about where I am at, I just try and look back on what I have done. And it always brings me back to pushing myself to just do my best in every way possible and let everything happen as it comes. I have accomplished a lot in my career, but I definitely set pretty high goals for myself, which is probably why I feel like I am not getting to where I want to be in my career. The quote above speaks so much to me and I am so glad I came across it today. I was thinking to myself just the other day, “Well if I did this differently… I would be in the union already.” or “If I did this differently, I would have been picked up by an agency already.” We can’t be so harsh on ourselves, though. Sit back, and see where you have come so far. What you have accomplished. It may not be what you imagined, but maybe something you learned: maybe learning how to promote yourself more, what your style of hair/makeup is, or just getting to know yourself better as a person.
Something that is still completely surreal to me is the fact that I am actually creating this documentary. Never EVER in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this actually coming to life. It was somewhat of a joke at first, that turned into asking a friend to help with filming, to meeting with a producer friend who thought it was a brilliant idea, to starting the film process, then to everyone who heard about it either A. wanting to be a part of it, B. saying how much they love the concept or C. my BIGGEST mentors congratulating me, telling me how proud they are of what I am doing. WHAT? I honestly feel like I am in a dream…
I remember the first time I met Cary Ayers. I was at the IMATS convention in 2013. He was alongside Joel Harlow, doing an FX makeup (I am still in the process of gaining the courage to ask this amazing artist to be a part of my doc…My armpits are sweating as I type…). Joel was actually applying a makeup on my dear friend Jim Eustermann. I stopped to say hello, and then Jim introduced me to Joel. Talk about an unforgettable moment. I told Joel that if he ever needed an intern, whether that be to help in the shop or even just sweep after everyone’s work day was over, I would be honored to work with him. Cary over heard me say that and immediately took me aside to give me his card. Little did I know an amazing friendship would blossom and so many opportunities would come from this. Cary is such an incredible person. I look up to him so much, and his energy is contagious. You can’t help but want to be HAPPY and PASSIONATE when you are with this guy. About a year after we met, he called me to do an internship with Steve Johnson. He told me, “Yeah kid, it’s not paid but I thought of you and wanted to let you know I would be down to give your name if you’re up for the gig!” And I obviously said YES.
Working with Steve was pretty amazing. Seeing this guy work in action is a really neat experience. His passion for using practical effects is inspiring. I really hope practical effects won’t go away for a REALLY long time. This internship was for the film Fear Clinic, and I had the privilege to stare at Robert Englund‘s face for 3 weeks. The best part of the internship was that Steve really believed in my abilities as an artist even though I had NO experience in the shop at that point. I only was trained in school how to apply prosthetics, not how to make them. I didn’t actually mold/sculpt anything, but I learned how to create a monster by using “balloon technology.” It was mind blowing. I worked closely with the brilliant Billy Bryan, which was such an honor. Remember the big marshmallow guy in Ghostbusters? That was him 🙂 He has done SOOOOO many amazing creatures/monsters/animatronics in his career. He taught me a lot in only 3 weeks. So a huge THANK YOU to Cary for thinking of me on that gig.
It doesn’t stop there with Cary’s generosity. He also referred me to speak with Eryn Krueger Mekash, who I nervously messaged about a year ago. She was so kind and agreed to meet with me over coffee. I was off the wall with excitement! Not too long before we met, I had started to create a storyline to my documentary. I asked her to be a part of it, as well as Cary and a little while after meeting Eryn, I asked Steve. All of them were so excited to be apart of it….and to this day I can’t get over how surreal it is. Not only that they agreed to be featured artists, but that they were extremely excited about it.
A photographer friend of mine, Deverill Weekes, told me one day that creating a film would change my life. And it certainly has. Even though I am in the very early stages of it, I already see where he is coming from. For me, what has been life changing is having the people who I look up to most be a part of my film, and excited…even proud… to be a part of it. This film has brought me to face the fear of approaching some of the biggest names in my industry. One woman in particular is Diana Schmidtke.
Back in 2009, I read her book Shortcuts (if you are an aspiring artist wanting to get into the entertainment industry, GO BUY THIS BOOK). I was so inspired by it and learned SO much Once I finished reading the book, I sent her an email telling her how much her book helped me. She emailed me back and we emailed back and forth for about 3 years. It was awesome. To this day, I look up to her so much. I asked her to be a part of my documentary and not only did she say yes, but she told me how proud she was of me. It was an emotional moment. We were talking over the phone, discussing the film, so having her say that to me over the phone was something I will never ever forget.
She wasn’t the only one, and it’s crazy to think there might be more times to come in the future of my biggest mentors expressing how proud, excited, or inspired they are by what I am doing with this film. So, Deverill was right in more ways than one that making a film would be life changing.
If you are down about where you are at in your career, turn that frown upside down and light a fire under your butt. Look back at what you have learned in your life, take that and learn from it and create goals for yourself. Always be positive and surround yourself with other positive people. And most of all, never hesitate to contact your mentors! You never know what they might say 🙂
A big thanks to the following people:
Yousef Arafat: Director of Photography/emotional support
Collin Schiffli: Camera operator/editor
Tanner Presswood: Camera Operator
Tim Calistro: Boom operator
Nina Adado: best friend/my support system
Alli: bestest friend in the whole world/sister/financial support
Mom: my biggest fan