Navigating a #Career as a Makeup Artist – Lessons Learned

It’s near spring and this year has been busy so far but we are very pleased to be back with our readers. In this article, Christelle Pellecuer, expert make-up artist with tremendous experience and high many high profile clients and events across the UK shares her experience as a make-up artist and lessons she learnt along the way 

Did you know? –  In 2015 alone, the beauty industry generated $56.2 billion in the United States, with hair and skincare growing very fast and projected to generate revenues of near $11 billion by 2018.

Christelle was born in Madagascar, raised in South of France, now living in the UK, Christelle has been working as a makeup artist specialised in the fashion and editorial since 2010. Christelle has worked on many different aspects of the fashion industry including music videos, TV shows, magazine shoots, product launch and fashion shows. Her work has been published in several magazines for example The Resident, a South West London magazine.

(Christelle’s voice) – I was asked to talk about the most important lessons that I have learnt through my career as a makeup artist and what advice I would give to prospective makeup artists or someone starting out in the industry.

The five most important lessons I have learnt are;

Never compare yourself to others

You can be inspired but do not compare yourself to other people. I did this many times comparing myself to makeup artists with longer stints in the industry (10,15 or 20 years) but I found this to be detrimental to my progress. In reality, we do not really know what other people have experienced to be get to where they are or the struggles they have had to face. In addition, in an area of work where technology has taken on more and more importance and where pictures are heavily photoshopped, it is difficult to identify the original make-up work thus, it is never a good idea to compare your work with someone else, as you have no idea how the original was compared to the published image.

If you want to make a comparison, it is best to compare to your past self and see how much skill you have gained, improved from a year ago or 5 years ago. Ask yourself what you are doing today that you were unable to do previously.

Have a professional attitude

Always have a good attitude. Good behaviour, showing kindness to people and a professional attitude has been valuable to me and as a result, I have had call-backs for make-up work. Be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else. I have seen people moaning or ranting on social media about a job or client and in such cases, you are guaranteed no call back. Show up, work hard, stay grounded and connect with the people you work with and it will pay off. No matter how good you are at your job, if you do not have a professional attitude you will not be remembered.

Trust yourself

Many of my mistakes stem from not trusting my instinct. One time, I did a job that my instincts were telling me not to but I went against my instincts and the job ended up as a total disaster. My take on life is, if it feels right, go for it!

Trusting yourself also means not being driven by what other people want you to be. If the makeup trend is pushing in one direction but your style is completely different to the trend. Be true to yourself and follow your own style. In the long run people would recognize you for that specific style.

Persistence and resilience

Earlier I said if it feels right, move forward but do not confuse this with an unwillingness to take actions. Sometimes, things feel right but we do not follow through…not because we do not trust our instinct but because we are too tired or have little time or any other excuses or obstacles we put in front of ourselves.

For me, persistence has been a real asset in order to stay connected with my passion. I have seen many makeup artists who have quit the industry after they encountered challenge after challenge. From the outside, it looks like a very glamorous job but believe me it is not always the case.

Yes, you do meet some wonderful people on the job and sometimes you get to work in very beautiful locations but there’s a lot of competition in the industry, no regular work schedule with very often early start or late finishing time and you could be doing a location shoot in the middle of the winter for long hours. Unless you really love what you do, these constraints alone can put people off pursuing this career. As in many industries, there are going to be many doors that close in front of you before you get an opportunity but if this is what you truly want, you will need to persevere.

A habit I have adopted through the years working as a make-up artist is to try to do something once a day related to my makeup work. Even if I am not booked on a job, I research new products, new trends, watch online tutorials, read articles written by other artists or practice my craft. It doesn’t matter how small the task is as long as you persevere and stay motivated.

Resilience is important! As mentioned, many doors will close in front of you and sometimes you might not always work with pleasant people. Some models and set directors can be quite demanding but I have learnt to develop a thick skin and not take everything too personal.

Read our previous article here on “Developing Your Resilience gap” 

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Challenge yourself

Finally yet importantly, I would say that you need to keep challenging yourself and step outside your comfort zone and outside the box. My philosophy is if you do not try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.

When I completed my makeup training, there was an opportunity that arose for students to assist some of the established makeup artists at the London Fashion week, which is “the dream” for anyone coming out of makeup school. At the time, I did not think I was ready to step up and work at the London Fashion Week but I did challenge myself to go for the audition and I was successful. If I did not try, I would not have known that other people saw the potential I have. It was a real daunting experience to go for the audition, but having the experience on my CV early on opened many doors. It also gave me confidence and empowered me to move forward in my career as a makeup artist.

I would like to leave you with a quote from the legendary Pat McGrath (MBE): “Creativity is your best makeup skill, don’t be afraid to experiment”


Christelle IIIAbout Christelle: Christelle is a freelance makeup artist based in Bristol, with experience working internationally. Her experience includes working at London Fashion week, Paris fashion week and New York fashion week. She has worked on music videos, on TV shows, magazine shoots, product launch and fashion shows. Her work has been published in several magazines. Her work includes being a regular makeup artist on photoshoots for the Resident Magazine for South West London, she was the lead makeup artist on D’banj and Idris Elba music video and on the Judita Da Silva show that aired last year on Silverbird TV Africa.

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#CareerChat – 4 Ways to Kickstart your Productivity in 2017!

productivityHappy New Year! It’s the second week of January and we are;
on our detox diets, #wholefoodchallenge, cringing when we look at our credit card statement, waiting for a treadmill at the gym (give it a few weeks) etc. We are also being bombarded by a plethora of adverts about the latest books, articles, podcasts etc. teaching us how we can lose weight, get a better job, find love etc. in 2017!
In the spirit of our tradition in the Hub of starting every year on a reflective note, I started thinking about how I would like 1 January 2018 to look like. Then I worked back to what I would need to get done in 2017 to ensure I hit my target(s). This ‘Beginning with the end in mind’ exercise was a great reminder that to have different outcomes in 2017, I would need to do things differently. In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.‘ In this article, I’ll share four things I am determined to do differently in 2017.
1-computernotepad‘Not resolutions but determinations!‘ – I have no problems with making resolutions at the beginning of the New Year because it indicates at least an exercise in reflection! I didn’t make any resolutions this year because sometimes my list of resolutions ends up looking like a wish list. I decided to change my verb from ‘resolve’ to ‘determine.’ If you have a list of resolutions, try adding ‘I am determined to…’ in front of every action. Making it personal is a reminder that we have an important responsibility in ensuring we get the outcomes we want.
How many people start each year with a resolution to find another job? If January 3 was a tough day for you because it took everything to drag yourself out of bed to a job you hate, why not make 2017 the ‘I am determined to get a new job’ year. There is a way using the word ‘determined’ forces one to set realistic goals. Make a list of 3 things you are determined to do this year and set at least two Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals underneath them.
For example, for someone determined to start a new job in 2017, some goals could be,
a. Update CV and LinkedIn profile by January 31 2017.
b. Upskill by attending x number of training workshops.
c. Send x number of job applications off each month.
Start eating the ‘frog’ – No, I’m not suggesting des cuisses de grenouille! I am referring to Mark Twain’s famous quote ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.’ The principle here is to start each day tackling your most important or challenging task. If you have a tendency to procrastinate like I do, this one lesson will have a profound impact on your productivity. I love my to-do lists, oh the satisfaction of crossing items off! However, sometimes I know that I’ve just ticked off 10 unimportant, non-urgent items and pushed my frog to tomorrow’s list of tasks. Instead of a linear list, create an ‘Eisenhower box’ (see APH Productivity Planner) so you always know which delicacy is being served up. In 2017, determine not to be in firefighting mode every single day. Why not finish that presentation three days before you climb the stage as opposed to three minutes! Replace the word busy with productive in your vocabulary.  Anyone can be busy but since I started saying ‘I’ve had a productive day instead of I’ve had a busy day’ I have had to reflect if the statement is true or not.
6-readingLearn something new – What do you need to know, be able to do, or be able to do better to have a more successful year? Do you need to attend a writing  workshop? Get an MBA? Participate in an APH skills training workshop (hint, hint)? If you aspire to a management role this year, how developed are your leadership skills? If you’re incubating a start-up idea, do you know how to write a business plan? Maybe a new language or simply the new version of a software that seems remarkably different from the one you are familiar with.
While technology has opened up learning opportunities in ways we could only dream of, it has also exposed us to a lot of distractions.
 I know how many times I have spent time watching the latest cat YouTube sensation when I could have been learning something that could actually help me. Of course, there should be room in our lives for entertainment but what is the balance between Education vs. Entertainment with respect to your time?  Make room to read books and expand your horizons. In a post-truth world, education is power.
Deliver excellence – When I’m invited to speak at a professional development event, I always ask a version of the following question. On your team, when there is a task that needs to be executed to perfection, whose name springs to mind? Yours or someone else’s? Who can be relied on to bring in the goods? To stay late? To clear up? To deliver beyond expectations. This is especially important to anyone starting a business. In a competitive world, the ability not only to deliver but deliver excellence will help us stand out from the crowd. Think about your most pleasant shopping experience, I could hazard a guess that your expectations were not only met but surpassed.
Commit to engaging every activity you participate in with excellence in mind, no matter how small. Spell check your work emails, answer the telephone as if the Prime Minister or President is on the other end of the line. You just never know! Remember that success is a marathon not a sprint. It takes a lot of effort to become a ‘one-hit’ wonder but delivering excellence ensures you can stay at the top of your game for a lifetime.
What are you doing to make 2017 a better year? Please share by leaving a comment below!
aa-headshotAbout our writer – After completing a PhD in Microbiology, Amara is building her career in academia, teaching and supporting a new generation of scientists as well as undertaking research. Amara believes in the combined power of education and developing productive relationships as essential tools for building successful careers. She tweets @amaratweets.
At APH, we wish you a prosperous and successful New Year. We aim to continue to share inspiring articles and facilitate impactful training events to support your academic and professional success. Please subscribe to our newsletter and get our newsletter and other exclusive tidbits exclusive to our network to your inbox!
Careers Education

#CareerChat – 7 Steps for preparing your first lecture


This was the statement made by a friend of mine who was invited to deliver her first lecture on an important but sensitive lecture topic. This feeling is not uncommon amongst early career academics. Unlike professionals developing their careers in primary and secondary school teaching who tend to be more prepared having gone through teacher training, for those going into lecturing in academia, your training comes on the job, usually after you have started teaching!  In many cases, after completing a Masters degree or a PhD/postdoc,  you could land your first lecture invitation. So what should you keep in mind if you find yourself in this situation? The handy tips below will give you a good starting point.

STEP ONE – Find the guidebook: The first bit of research you’ll need to do if you are about to teach at University, college or school is the curriculum. At University, this will the course/module specification. Here it will  be important for you to know what the anticipated learning outcomes are for the students within the year group. What type of assessment(s) have been designed for the course? How does the topic you are about to lecture on connect with the learning outcomes and assessment? Do you have the skills to deliver this material?

Careers Education For PhDs

#CareerChat – 5 Ways to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

alone-62253_1280It’s Monday morning and rather than being excited about the start of a new work week, your heart drops because you wonder what is in store for you from a passive-aggressive colleague. Will it be a snarky email, sulking, unreasonable behaviour, not responding to emails or full on aggressive behaviour? In this article, Grace shares some ways to deal with difficult colleagues while keeping your sanity.

Thud! I looked up to see the retreating figure of my colleague as she walked out of the office slamming the door behind her. She had just thrown a pile of paperwork on my desk. Ten minutes later I received an email informing me what she would like me to do with the documents. 
This was not the first time she had acted aggressively towards me and I knew it wouldn’t be the last.  However, this incident proved that things were escalating and  and it was time to do something about it. The strategies I share in this article are based on my personal experience, particularly from the mistakes I made. I hope these steps can help someone else going through a similar experience.
Careers Education

#CareerChat – Finding Your Creative and Innovative Spark



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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

 Albert Einstein

Creativity and innovation are key tools integral in growth of any business which has a long term strategy. In my consultancy roles for small, medium enterprises (SMEs) I quickly learned how cut-throat the business world is and how much creativity and innovation is needed for the businesses to thrive or even survive. The ability to create and innovate whilst integral to business is at the core of science and informs the everyday research and scientific developments we have observed through time.

In the UK, the government has identified innovation as an important factor in growth and sustainability and as a result has created several schemes to encourage creativity and innovation. These schemes are meant to link businesses with each other or with academic institutions to harness ideas and turn them into marketable products. Examples include the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), Invention for Innovation (i4i) and from a global perspective, the Global Innovation Fund aimed at providing grants to transform the lives of people living in poverty. For anyone looking for innovative projects, I often recommend the KTP as it is a superb route to innovative funded postgraduate degrees which also gives experience working with an industrial partner.

What I find particularly odd and often worrying however, is that in the sciences we are always expected to create or innovate (in the eyes of the external “real” world) but more often than not, innovation or enterprise is not a core part of the curriculum. Even more mind boggling is the expectation that PhD candidates are expected to create something novel from their research or add something new to the body of existing knowledge. Going with the quote from ol’boy Einstein above, they are expected to be innovative without giving them the tools to be able to enrich or harness that creativity.

Careers Education UniAdvice

#MyUniStory – Developing a Career in Creative Product Design

e7cde70c-4ade-4aa7-b352-4c2de31180aa.jpgWe do not often get to hear about the experiences and challenges of undergraduate students and new graduates. In #GraduateStories, we share the ‘behind the scenes’ stories of recent graduates and hoping their journeys and experiences are beneficial and to motivational to current students. In the first of  our #GraduateStories, Robert Sampays, recent  graduate (class of 2016) from the UWE Bristol, UK shares the motivations and journey to success. Enjoy reading!

Since a young age I have always been fascinated with products and the way they work, it was this inquisitiveness that stemmed my passion for design. I find inspiration in the work I produce knowing I have the chance to help people and make their lives easier. It was the notion of being able to make this a reality that made me study Product Design and is still the reason behind my work ethic today.

I was taught to draw by my aunt during family visits to her house in South Wales; being an artist she had both the patience and the skill to teach me various techniques that would later serve as one of my main attributes as a designer. I furthered my interests at school where I studied art alongside graphic design and resistant materials. Product design at A-Level allowed me to bring all 3 of these disciplines together, I was sold in an instant and made this one of my main subjects to study at college.

Completing college with 4 A-Levels dawned the start of my university degree of which I chose to study a BSc in Creative Product Design at UWE Bristol. I chose to study at UWE due to the nature of the course and the freedom students seemed to have of which was evident of design projects from first to final year. This in conjunction with the quality of teaching, engaging modules and friends made along the way made for an enjoyable learning experience from start to finish.

During my degree, I embarked on a placement year; six months spent at Steele & Stovell in Herefordshire, UK, where I worked with designers on a diverse range of projects consisting of branding, layout for print, web design and marketing. This placement developed my graphical skills enhancing my knowledge and understanding of what makes good design; something I can apply on a multidisciplinary level throughout my career. The second placement was for another six months at Simbars; a design engineering company specialising in street furniture in Bristol. In this role, I worked both in the studio and the workshop understanding key fundamentals of design for manufacture. Having close contact with the manufacturers gave me a great insight into the design process where I could learn directly from staff in the workshop; particularly how certain manufacturing techniques directly implemented the scope for design opportunity.

Careers Education

#CareerFocus – Neurosurgery

1. NeurosurgeryIn today’s #MyCareerStory, the APH had the opportunity to interview Dr Douglas Okor.  Douglas is a brain surgeon in the UK and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (the oldest Surgical College in the World).. In this insightful interview Douglas offers his perspective about life as a neurosurgeon and demystifies this pathway for aspiring surgeons. Enjoy!

APH: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I am Douglas Emeka Okor, Nigerian born, in Benin City in Nigeria. I am a brain surgeon and a passionate Nigerian health sector advocate and an entrepreneur. I grew up in Nigeria and had my education in Nigeria. I saw there was a significant gap in the healthcare space in Nigeria hence my decision to become a brain surgeon.

APH: Can you tell us about the different stages of your educational career to date?

Douglas: I had my nursery, primary and secondary education in Nigeria. I went to a grammar school in Benin City and the University of Benin where I graduated in 2002. I worked for a couple of years in Nigeria then left for the UK where I spent 8-9 years training to become a brain surgeon. In the last year I started my sub-specialist training in two areas – skull based and vascular neurosurgery.

APH: When did you decide you wanted to become a medical doctor?

#MyCareerStory Careers Education UniAdvice