It is FRIDAY!!! And wow, has this year gone by SO FAST!... With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I am blown away that we are nearing the end of the year, and already amongst the crazy busy-ness the lovely holiday season!
This week, we are featuring an outstanding artist based out of Sydney, Australia! (Some where I have always dreamed of visiting!) Michelle Dube is not only a makeup artist, she is the true definition of a successful female entrepreneur. Between staying busy on sets and being in charge of her online business, she still makes time for continuing education, it's amazing! She even wrote a book, Makeup Artists Inc. which is all about the business aspects of being a freelance makeup artist, how amazing is that?! I'm sure you can see why I am so AMPED for this interview, as I know every one reading this will be able to learn from Michelle on so many levels!
1.Tell us about yourself
I am a makeup artist from the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. I specialize in makeup for print and tv advertising. I have wanted to be a makeup artist since I was in high school. I remember driving past a shoot one day and saying to my mum that that was what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be on set. After highschool, I took a more traditional approach to job hunting and ended up working my way up the ladder to become a TV producer, but makeup was always in my heart. One day I just said to myself it was time to do what I wanted to do and it was then that I started working in makeup on counter at Bobbi Brown. I haven’t looked back!
2.Did you attend School.
I call myself a self taught makeup artist because I didn’t attend a college or get a degree in makeup. I have, however, done a lot of short certificate courses and workshops with amazing artists and I’ve assisted some great makeup artists. I think the best training I received was during my time working on counter at Bobbi Brown. Bobbi was always one of my hero’s. I loved her philosophy on makeup and I loved her style. Working on counter for Bobbi Brown meant I was constantly being trained and always had faces to practice on.
3.What is it like working in Australia as a makeup artist? You’re always busy with gigs. How do you pursue them?
Working in Australia is great! I love Sydney. I am really lucky to have found my “tribe”. That’s one of the things I talk about in the book – finding the people you work best with. People work with people they like, so find your tribe of like minded people and the work will come. I love advertising, I love the people, I love being on set with big crews and small crews, I love working with ‘real people’ as well as models and actors. Working in advertising gives me the opportunity to do this. Getting work is about building relationships and then being the best makeup artist they have ever booked! Being helpful and flexible on set is very important. The most important tool you will ever have in getting gigs is building a list. Again, this is something I talk about in Makeup Artists Inc. build your list, build your relationships and be awesome on set! You can’t fail!
4.Your work is flawless , Where do you get your inspiration from.
Firstly, thank you! Inspiration comes from so many places but to be honest, I actually find it difficult to find inspiration. I know a lot of artists who say “oh I find it in nature, or architecture or music” but I don’t! I find inspiration in the creative process of actually doing the makeup. For example, In the picture of the gold painted model – we started that shoot with white body paint as the main idea. As I was painting I really liked the texture I was creating. Then we shot a few shots and we just built from there, adding gold and the inspiration was coming from the actual creating. I was constantly saying “oh what about this?” “what about if we tried that?” Those shots were published in Laud Magazine. Inspiration for me can also come from a word or a brief. Example “Gold” or “Pop of colour” or “summer” or some thing along those lines and then just create!
5.What is your favourite piece of work you are most proud of that you have worked on.
Without a doubt my greatest pride is my entry into a makeup competition here in Australia called Face2Face. Years ago I had set myself a goal to win this competition. I had entered several times but had never managed to get a place. In 2016 I put everything I had into my entry. I lived and breathed it. I practiced. I made the headpiece. I envisaged it. I dreamt about it. I even printed out a picture of the model and did the makeup look on her photo so I could see exactly how it was going to look. It was a highlight in my life to take out first prize for these shots. I’ll never forget that moment they called my name and afterwards holding that trophy and having my photo taken. I’m so proud of them.
6.You have created an online business which is amazing. Tell us about that.
I started Makeup Artists Inc. earlier this year after I had received yet another email from an assistant asking how they get paid and “how do they send an invoice”. I couldn’t believe that students could go to college for 1 year or more, spending more than $10,000 to learn how to become professional working makeup artists and yet they didn’t know how to get paid. I then started asking questions and was stunned to learn that most students graduating from makeup school actually don’t go on to be makeup artists. It seemed to me that it was because they just didn’t know how to become successful working artists able to financially sustain their careers. They knew how to do a great makeup but they didn’t know how to run a business as a makeup artist so they gave up. This, to me, was so disappointing. That there were all these gorgeous young makeup artists out there not living their dream because they didn’t know how! So, I decided to try and help them. I decided to put all my knowledge into a book. It started with “I’ll just show them how to write an invoice” and ended up as a 15000 word e-book. I am now taking pre-orders for a hard copy as I’ve had so many requests and I am also looking to expand into other downloadables, such as contracts, a bridal business bundle, deal memo’s etc. I really want to help these girls. I have just started private coaching calls for artists who have specific business related questions they need answered. I am also just about to launch a podcast with another makeup artist interviewing top Australian makeup artists about their journey to where they are now. I actually can’t wait to do that. I have so many questions!!! It’s called “Behind the Brushes”.
7.It’s amazing that you have written a book as well. Tell us about this book, where artists can purchase it and any advice you have to give others who may have the desire to write a book.
The book is the nuts and bolts about starting out. I’ve written about things like taxes and invoicing, social media, building a list, on set etiquette, what to wear!!! I think I covered everything you would need to know if you had just left college and were wondering “what do I do next?” It can be purchased online in my store at makeupartistsinc.com.au. If you have a desire to write a book, my advise is to just start. Don’t think about it too much. Just open up a word document and write your contents page. Aim to write 10 minutes. Everyone has 10 minutes spare. I bet you don’t just stop at 10 minutes. Once you get started you just keep going. Take it one step at a time. My dad always said to me when I was writing Makeup Artists Inc. “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”. It is so true. Just one word at a time.
8.All of us go through times of struggle as makeup artists. What do you do during these time to keep yourself motivated?
Yes, I definitely go through times of struggle. Social Media is awful during these times because I constantly scroll through my feed comparing myself to other artists. I know a lot of creatives that really struggle with intense periods of feeling down and self doubt. So, during those times I acknowledge to myself that I’m having a down period and always tell myself it will pass, It is temporary, and then I try and do either a test shoot or some form of education – a workshop or a look and learn. I always find my motivation comes back after a workshop and nothing makes you feel more excited and inspired than an awesome test shoot.
9.What advice would you give to other aspiring makeup artists who want to get into this industry.
OK, I have lots of advice for artists wanting to get into this business. 1. Treat it as a business! Get your finances in order. Organise your tax, bank accounts, invoicing system etc. Get ready to make money! 2. Decide what area you want to specialize in? Is it film, fashion, commercial, bridal. 3. Once you have done that, start reaching out to people in those areas. Don’t be afraid. Just do it. 4. Build your list and keep building it. 5. Assist, assist, assist. Get on set as much as you can. 6. Don’t stop trying. Devote every spare moment to working on your business, sending emails, organizing shoots, meeting people, workshops, practicing. Just keep going.
10.Describe “What it takes” to be a successful makeup artist today.
I think it takes an open mind to be successful. Be open to opportunities, advice, experience. Be open to assisting other artists and doing the yuk work – washing brushes, cleaning a kit, packing the car, anything it takes. Be open to working hard, getting up early, coming home late, working weekends. Be open to learning constantly. Just because you have finished college you still have a lot to learn. I still assist sometimes. I am always learning from other artists. I still do workshops, listen to podcasts, watch tutorials, just take it all in and be open to learning. Lastly, what it takes to be a successful makeup artist is integrity. Don’t steal images, don’t credit yourself for work you didn’t do, don’t undercut other artists, don’t steal clients from artists that have shared work with you. Be a good human!
facebook: makeupartistsinc. https://www.facebook.com/makeupartistsinc/
Are you feeling super inspired now?! I know I am! Michelle is one of the kindest artists I have ever met. I hope to meet her some day, she has so much knowledge of this industry, it's incredible. And her support for other artists is so refreshing to see. I love it!
Be sure Connect with Michelle on social media!
facebook: makeupartistsinc. https://www.facebook.com/makeupartistsinc/
And check her website out as well as her online business where you can buy her e-book!
Thank you for tuning in this Friday. Do you have the desire to create an online business, or perhaps write a book? Comment below!
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Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Amber Talarico and Kenneth Alexander. Amber is the Director of What It takes, and Kenneth is the producer. Our mission is to motivate, inspire and empower freelance makeup and special FX artists around the world to pursue their dreams by sharing knowledge, encouraging artists at all stages, and bring a voice to our industry as professional makeup artists!