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.
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.
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”
About 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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