A Week in the life of a makeup artist
Being a professional makeup artist in Sydney is one of the most varied, adventurous and crazy careers in the world. People are always asking me what my job is like. Is it glamorous? Do I meet amazing people? Or, is it hard? Is it stressful and draining? The answer … yes! Yes, to all of the above.
Today, you get to enter the world of a makeup artist. Let me guide you through an average working week of mine.
I start each week with one of my least favourite but most important tasks, administration. Being a makeup artist isn’t all glitz and glamour. Owning a business means doing the behind-the-scenes work too.
Monday’s include a Skype meeting with my assistant Caroline, where we touch base about the week ahead. Then, hours of emails, website maintenance, content creation and invoicing fill my Monday afternoon. It may not be the most exciting day of my week but it certainly is important.
My alarm goes off at 2:30am (don’t tell anyone but I do tend to hit the snooze button for the next ten minutes!). I’m out of the house by a little after 3:00am and on the road to Channel 9 Studio’s. This is where I spend my morning, making up the stars of Channel 9.
The first news reader arrives at 3:30am, to be made up for the 5:00am news. It is a blur of hair and makeup preparation to get the presenter on camera ready in half an hour so they can go and prep for the news. Sometimes I find myself trying to apply the perfect liquid eye-liner while the presenter’s head is being pulled back by a hair-dryer wielding hair stylist, all the while the presenter is busy reading from their laptop and preparing for their time on screen. It is hectic and a little crazy but that is the life of a T.V makeup artist. We always manage to make it on time because ultimately, no-one wants to wake up earlier than we already do!
At 4.20am, Sylvia Jeffrey’s and Lisa Wilkinson come in for hair and makeup. Again, we do “a double up” so hair and makeup at the same time. This time, a producer chats to the presenters about today’s segments and fills them in on any breaking news. Not much time for chatting!
Then, we make up the boys; Karl Stephanovic, Timmy Gilbert and Richard Wilkins A.K.A Dicky. This only takes between two to five minutes per person, we just even out skin tone and make sure they aren’t shiny under the spot lights.
At 5:15am, the hair and makeup team is out on set – making sure everything looks perfect. When the show goes to air, it is finally time for us to do our own hair and makeup. This is also the time for us to grab a quick breakfast before getting ready for the next round of presenters. During commercial breaks, we head back out to the set to do quick touch ups. Next, we do the makeup for guests on the show. This is my favourite part of the day because we have a little more time to chat with the people in our chairs. I meet so many interesting people; film and T.V stars, fashion experts, politicians, musicians, authors, sports stars and other fascinating individuals. Finally, I make up the stars and guests of Today Extra, including Georgie Gardner pictured below getting touch ups by me.
Occasionally Wednesdays start with another early morning at Channel 9. However, usually this day is set aside to meet with my bridal clients I normally have 3 hair and makeup trials on a Wednesday. I work with the bride at her trial to create her ideal makeup look and it is always great to get to know her before the big day arrives. One of the hair stylists on our team then comes to the studio and tries out the bridal hair trial – making sure every detail of the wedding day look is perfect.
Wednesdays can be a busy day for other members of our team, preparing clients for balls, galas and corporate events. This week, Gladis, one of our great artists, did two hair and makeup appointments for work functions.
My Thursday started at 7am in a high-rise office building in North Sydney. A company was filming training content and conducting a head-shot photoshoot which required me to do the hair and makeup for a group of both men and women. Less is always more, when it comes to corporate makeup so these appointments were short and sharp. It was chaos while I tried to handle a large group of people before filming began but, as always, we got through it and everyone ended up looking picture perfect.
Next, I drove home and did a three hour makeup lesson. These are always held at my little makeup studio and the perfect opportunity to get to know someone one-on-one, while teaching them new skincare and makeup skills. I love meeting new people and empowering them to look and feel their best. It is one of the most rewarding elements of my job.
The day ended with some admin (a constant in my life!) to keep on top of the business end of things.
This week, my Friday began at 6am on a beauty photoshoot. I worked alongside my hair stylist, Susanna. There’s a great energy on photoshoots – the music is blaring and the room is filled with creative, excited people. I created two popular and timeless makeup looks, a smokey eye and a red-lip, for our model Jemma. For our model Madeleine we created more whimsical and bohemian looks. Whilst our shoot is going on 4 of my team are busy doing weddings across town.
I then raced to my home studio in Potts Point to do the hair and makeup for a client going to an event in the city. She wanted a polished and fresh look – but not overly made-up (pictured below is my signature natural and polished makeup look).
After this, I was ready for bed but I hopped in my car and drove up to the Central Coast, ready for an early morning wedding on Saturday.
Saturday is our busiest day of the week. I personally only do one big wedding per day but across our team of artists, we cover about five weddings each Saturday. It is common practice for a day’s work to never stop during a wedding. It is all stations go, until the bridal party are all looking perfect. Often, we will go a whole day without a proper bathroom or food break!
Once the bride is ready, the final hair and makeup checks have been made and the pictures have been taken – I can relax. I often don’t get to see the bride in her dress, we usually have to get out of the way by then. But, when I do get the pleasure of witnessing her in all her bridal glory, the goosebumps come, every time. After years of being a makeup artists, this is still one of my favourite moments. Here are some photo’s of our recent brides that we were lucky enough to see in their dresses. We document everything – it seems like if it isn’t on Instagram, it didn’t happen!
I generally get home around 4pm on a Saturday. I have something to eat, schedule our social media posts for the week … and, then fall asleep on the sofa for a few hours! Sundays are my precious days off to spend with my Husband. After a hectic week, I am always ready for some down-time.
Welcome to the life of a make-up artist: insanely busy, stressful and demanding – but, worth every minute.
I hope to meet you and make you up soon!