Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where do you draw the line??

**  I hope those who read this post and aren't professional makeup artists can understand where I'm coming from.  I don't mean for anyone to take offence.  **

Back in the good old days, there were clear distinctions for everything.  You had makeup artists, and you would have people who did their own makeup.  This latter group were a varied bunch, ranging from those who knew nothing about makeup to total junkies who could pick an Orgasm-ed cheek from a mile away.  They had personal stashes that could rival a department store - but that's just what they were.  Personal.

Nowdays, the line between artist and client is blurry.  More and more people consider themselves to be makeup 'artists' when their skills (and sometimes their kits) may be questionable, and clients want to learn how to do their OWN makeup so well that they take professional training.  For themselves.  Not to work on other people outside their own friends.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  I know what it's like to have a passion for something that you consider to be a hobby, and even if you don't want to make it a career you still want to be good at it.  That's great, and I applaud you.  Hell, let's go out to coffee and wax lyrical about gel liner vs liquid.  We'll be best friends for life!  The 'artists' with questionable skills - well, I'll deal with that in another blog.

It does raise an issue though, which was recently brought to light after a now infamous post about beauty bloggers been given press passes at industry events.  Where do we draw the line?  What defines a 'professional' compared to an 'enthusiast'?  And who should have access to what?

My first taste of this dilemma was while attending IMATS in Sydney last year.  For those who aren't already aware, IMATS (International Makeup Artists Trade Show) is open to the public - it's not a trade-only show.  I went there with the intention of stocking my entire kit (and I did just that, thanks very much!).  I had already researched every brand that was going to be there, I knew what I was after and I knew what questions I wanted to ask.  Yes, I'm a makeup nerd.

While standing at Media Makeup I waited patiently for someone to assist me.  They were BUSY, as were almost every major brand.  Which is fine.  I waited.  When finally served by a lovely lady (gosh I wish I remembered her name) she helped me choose between foundations for my needs, chose a range of colours for my kit, and assisted with some other products.  She was amazing.  What was NOT amazing was the three or four girls who kept INTERRUPTING me to ask the sales assistant to colour match a foundation FOR THEMSELVES.  I'm sorry but I waited in line, and now it's my turn.  I was spending a lot of money for a professional kit and needed help.  I would have only been with her for maybe 10mins in total, but I had a lot of questions.  I needed her attention.  The testers were there on the counter - if you've come to a makeup artist trade show, I would hope that you could successfully chose your own foundation colour.  Geez.

Everywhere I went I started to encounter the same problem.  I would be queuing up to buy hundreds of dollars worth of product, and I would have to wait for the girl in front of me to have a colour recommendations for her personal use.  This may be really bitchy of me, but this is not the time or place to discover if green eyeshadow suits you.  It's a professional event, not the cosmetics department at David Jones. It annoyed me even more when I would be in workshops that I had to cram into the back to see, and the questions asked of the presenters or panelists were so basic a simple Google could have given them the answer.  WHY go to a professional event if you don't have basic knowledge??  I just don't understand it.

This made me wonder why IMATS isn't a trade-only event.  But as I asked before - where do you draw the line?  A business card would certainly allow makeup artists and hair stylists in, but what about beauty bloggers?  Some have very professional blogs and have a great knowledge and passion for makeup, but they wouldn't have a business card.  Some bloggers are not professional.  Again - where do you draw the line?

I get it.  The discounts are great.  It's brands that can be hard to get in Australia.  It's a buzz to have an inside look into the industry.  But I'm trying to establish relationships with vendors whom I will potentially be making multiple orders with throughout the year, and I'm fighting for their time against people who are usually one-off purchasers.

Personally, I think IMATS needs to have a trade-only DAY.  Extend the show to three days, and have Friday as a trade-only day.  Keep workshops at a professional level, allow artists to look at products and speak to vendors in a professional capacity.  Then the weekend can be open to the public, workshops could be on a more basic or generic level.

Is this elitist?  I don't think so.  Reports from around the world complain about crowds at IMATS, and it is such a turn off for so many people.  If we somehow separate the masses, then not only do the attendees get better service but the vendors know who their market will generally be on the day.

But this goes beyond IMATS.  One of my suppliers whom I adore immensely is running a series of workshops, one of which I attended last night.  Afterwards she mentioned to some of us that she would do a bridal workshop, and open it to non-MUAs due to the huge number of requests from non-pros.  This is great in theory, but after she left a few of us raised concerns about it.  Firstly, how much of the workshop would be used explaining basic techniques and products?  If I went along and spent the evening listening to basic foundation matching and how to apply lashes I'd feel really cheated.  And secondly, how many of these non-pros would then go out after a 2 hour workshop and think they could become a bridal MUA?  But the question remains - where do you draw the line?  A self-taught artist might come along for some hands-on training, and then be right to go.  Others would think they know it all after seeing one application on one face.  And if you've ever seen a pro at work, they make it look easy.

I'm not saying that I have the answer.  And any time a group of people are excluded from anything they feel entitled to bad feelings will arise.  But we need to ensure the quality of our industry, and a line does need to be drawn occasionally.

I just had to get that off my chest.  I await the slander.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Blog Formerly Known As...

So I've changed the name of this blog to My Brilliant Makeup Career (for those not aware, it's a play on the classic Australian novel and movie 'My Brilliant Career'.  I'm not big-noting myself!!).

I found that once I started blogging I wanted to be really honest - about my experiences, about my career, about the good times AND the bad times.  And I felt that by putting my business name on the blog I was restricting myself in case a potential client came across it and lost faith in my skills.

So Bella Chic Makeup Artistry will have a new blog, but it will be geared towards my private clients and stuff they might like to know.  MBMC will be about my 'journey' (god, that's so The Biggest Loser) into my new career.

Now I can REALLY tell you all the bad stuff.... only kidding  ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feast or Famine

I'm either dead quiet or I'm turning work away... it's crazy!  I've had no work for a few weeks (that was kind of by choice... I didn't go chasing anything either) but now I've got 4 gigs this weekend!  I'm excited about them all, they're all very different and will be great experience  First up is a fashion show tonight - I haven't done a lot of runway and this will be my first with experienced models, so I'm excited!  I believe there is a bachelor auction as well, so hopefully they'll be some eye candy as well... that never hurts  :)

It got me thinking though (and sorry for going all Jerry Springer on you) - this is what it will be like when it's my sole source of income.  I'll be flooded with work (hopefully!) and then it will die down again.  Coming from a background of steady employment, this makes me really nervous.  And it's something that although I've known about it and I've accepted that it's part of being a freelance artist, I've never considered ALL the implications it has.  Like - will I be able plan a holiday and then be able to save enough money?  What happens if I fall and break my arm during the busy season, and therefore can't earn what I need to survive?  If I decide to move to another city, how long will it take me to get established again and get work?

Even with all the research I did into this career before I made the switch, even through all my study and work experience, there are some things that you just don't realise until you're on the job.  Or you may realise them, but you don't take them too seriously.  Maybe it's the wisdom that comes with experience - as much as you can tell someone that it is so, you just need to figure it out for yourself.

Take care of yourselves. And each other.  :P
BC  xx

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Allan Border Medal wrap up

Sporting awards ceremonies are always interesting times for fashionistas.  The WAGs seem disgruntled that the focus is on the men, so it's usually a boob bonanza and dress splits till Thursday.  I personally think that cricket is a little more refined than football, and had high hopes for some gorgeous gowns.

As much as I *liked* a lot of the dresses worn by the ladies, there wasn't anything that totally wowed me.  And normally this would make me sad - but it IS about the men on this one night, so I actually think it's a great thing.  Most stayed classy and understated.... most.

Enter Hayley Bracken.

Oh dear lord, who thought this was a good idea??  It just screams 'look-at-me-pageant-queen'.  Which is quite ironic, since she apparently plans to wear this 'self-designed' (uh oh) gown at the Miss World Australia AND the Miss Globe Australia pageants.  WHY would you debut such a memorable dress BEFORE the pageants??  And WHY wear the same memorable dress to TWO??  Clearly she's also trialling the bigger-than-Texas hair and OTT cheesy grin.

Have some style, girl.  You're meant to be supporting your successful husband, not putting your own goodies out on display.  I will go on record to say that I DO NOT like this sort of upstaging AT ALL.

One of my most hated upstagers from last year's event was Jessica Bratich, who wore a gown that *oops* revealed her underwear.  She of course claimed that it wasn't meant to happen... but yet she wore coloured underwear... if you want to hide your underwear you wear nude colours, don't you??  Anyway, look at what 12 months and an engagement ring can do:

Ahh... that's better.  Although not great - the dense sparkles make it look like her boobs look tiny and out of proportion.  I think if that panel was slightly larger, or maybe the crystals weren't quite so dense it would have been more flattering.  But in general a massive leap forward.  Loving the hair clip as well - such a wearable look, and an easy way to dress up hair for a special night out.

Other notable mentions for me include:
What's a cricket event without Lara Bingle?  Love the white Michelle Jank dress, but it's the straight from the runway Chanel fake tattoos that really set the outfit on fire.  She's also showing off some sexy skin, yet remaining classy and demure.  Nice work.  A simple bronze smoky eye and golden cheeks set the dress off nicely (too dark and it would have bordered on vampy), and a simple bun pulls focus to the face and keeps the look understated.  Hayley Bracken - take note.

Lee Furlong, I just love you.  This subscribes to the Lara Bingle 'understated class' theory of dressing, and I think it works just as well.  Keeping the neckline high but with a plunging back gives the audience an unexpected treat, and the messy low bun highlights this feature.  Makeup is classy and sophisticated.  High fives all round.

Rhianna Ponting is one I normally don't look at, but this silhouette at the back is just divine.  The angles just make it geometrically sexy.  I imagine there will be some brides copying this look - after all, when you're walking down an aisle everyone's looking at your rear view.  Why not make it spectacular!

Now it wasn't all black and white - here are my favourites:
Amy Hussey was a bright spark in this great turquoise dress and sparkly chandelier earrings and clutch.  Katrina Quaine is a face I'm not familiar with, but her soft rainbow dress will make me look for her again.  The side pony is great, but the eyeshadow seems to be a little too frosty for my tastes - but I'll forgive her for that.

All in all, it was a great night, with a lot of the ladies hitting the mark.  Hopefully they are starting to realise that an awards ceremony is not their chance to get noticed by Zoo Magazine.

Did you have any favourites?
BC  xx

Monday, February 15, 2010

Epic makeup FAIL....

I couldn't help but post this, because I've been giggling for about 10 minutes about this.

The eternal self promoter that is Napoleon Perdis is currently in New York for Fashion Week.  Follow him on Twitter (@napoleonperdis) and you'll find he has an assistant (winner of his reality contest maybe??) taking pic after pic of the models backstage that he is making up.

One tweet that caught my eye was of him working on Shenae Grimes from 90210 - rather proud he was!  Gotta love a celebrity endorsement!!

So you can imagine my amusement when I check out one of my favourite blogs ( to find this little gem, under the title 'Epic Makeup Fail':

Oh no!  She's been Napoleoned!!  Those cheeks... those lips... those eyes... it's just BAD.

Moral of the story is - if you Tweet it, make sure it's good!!

BC  xx

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Website is.... ONLINE!

It's finally done! Let me know what you think  :)

Check it out -

BC  xx

Monday, February 8, 2010

20th post - and new pics!

Hooray for my 20th post!  In celebration I bring you some images from my shoot with photographer Geoff Francis (whose work I just adore - he's so talented, and great with beauty work!) and model Miyuki.  It was a fun, 60's themed shoot which was pretty challenging for me as I've never had to do this style before, but I'm pretty happy with the results. 

We decided that we would work on two different looks - one traditional 60's look, then work on a more 'broken' look for contrast.  You'll see what I mean.  Miyuki and Geoff were a dream to work with, the shoot was so relaxed and we all had a great time!



What do you think?
BC  xx

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More work images for you all!

Hey everyone!  Since my website is taking a while to be completed, I thought I would post some images on her of brides and formal girls for anyone who was interested in hiring me!  If you want to ask me anything you can email me at and I'll get back to you pretty quickly.


I'm a total magazine junkie. I love them. I read them cover-to-cover, and then refer back to them when I need to. A good magazine should be inspirational, relevant, well-written and not conform to any 'formula'.

I used to be so obsessed that I could tell you on any day what week of the monthly 'cycle' we were in, what was coming out that week and on what day. I would regularly buy 9 mags every month (Cleo, Cosmo, New Woman, Marie Claire, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Madison, In Style, Woman's Health) and have enormous stacks in my living room. Then I just got over it - the articles were always the same, the recommendations were false ($$$) and they all became bland to me. Cue a few months of being magazine-free, and a reassessment of what I wanted. Now I buy selectively, and I feel a lot better for it.

I may be a bit slow on the uptake here, but I'm only just getting into international magazines. I must say that Brisbane isn't great for foreign selection - the only real option we have is a trip to Borders. Oh, what I would give for a Mag Nation up here... anyway, I'm so disgruntled with most Australian magazines that I hardly bother with anything beyond Madison and occasionally Marie Claire.

Vogue has disappointed me month after month with their obvious choices and shoots lacking inspiration or innovation. The final straw was the current March 2010 issue - which any fashionista worth her stilettos knows should be the beginning of the autumn editions, looking at layering and light jackets to stretch the summer wardrobe out for a little bit longer. So what do Vogue Australia do? HAVE A SUMMER ISSUE. Aside from the fact that most retailers have moved on from the summer season and are starting to stock knits and boots, Vogue is meant to be a trend-setter. The go-to mag for the new season. So why are we looking back??

Luckily I have bought two FABULOUS magazines lately that have restored my faith. I've never bought either of these before, and it's really inspired me to be more eclectic in my choices.

1. Culture Yearbook 2010 - wow, this packs a punch! A mainly hair-focused magazine from Australia, it showcases hot new talent alongside veterans in the industry. For me the makeup in the editorials was just phenomenal, and I already have plans to recreate some of the looks in some fashion shoots. Creative, on-trend and inspiring. Everything I love.

2. In Beauty - This. Is. Amazing. A summary of all the hair and makeup looks from the Spring/Summer runways all over the world. Oh god, it's just.... amazing. So inspirational, and so ahead of the trends. It cost me dearly ($50 at Borders - ouch!) but I'll be getting this magazine every time.
(Thanks to Jessica Jean Myers for the image below -

So tell me - what are your favourite magazines?
BC xx

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Need... more... blogs...

Well now that my work has blocked Model Mayhem access (oh no!!) my entertainment for the day relies on blogs. But I need more to follow!! Any recommendations for beauty/MUA/fashion blogs?

BC xx

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Heart Assisting

I really do. I get something out of EVERY experience. I love watching other artists work, watching their techniques, their setup, their setiquette, and the answers to my many questions! I also tend to have certain things that I want to focus on, so instead of learning a little bit of everything I pay attention to a small number of things that I can remember and take away with me.

This year I want to do a LOT more assisting work, with as many different artists (and as many different genres) as I can get my hands on. I want to try everything that I can possibly experience before I try to specialise my skills. I might love beauty work now, but then I'll work on a TV set and just fall in love. Or I'll dabble in SFX and be really good at it. Who knows?

I had the opportunity to assist the oh-so-lovely Rachael today on a corporate makeup job. She is not just a MUA, but owner of Makeup and Glow ( which is where I buy 85% of my products. Forever patient when I bug her with millions of questions, and an amazing artist to boot. Although today was quite a simple, natural look for two lovely ladies I had three things I was focused on learning more about:

1. Kit organisation - I want to make mine smaller and lighter, which she has successfully done. Palettes seem to be the key, as well as see-through bags to find everything quickly. It's also in a small wheeled suitcase, small enough to be carry-on on flights. I want that.

2. Eye technique - I've lost a lot of confidence since experiencing some unusual eye shapes lately. I did speak to Rachael about maybe having a private lesson on this, but she's so busy I may just have to pick her brain occasionally. It was great to see her colour choices on the mature ladies, and the way she did eyeliner.

3. Foundation - I am OBSESSED with foundation, as I always think I don't have the right product for the job. Rachael's priming technique was something I'll definitely take away with me (one primer for face, one for under eye - brilliant!), as well as adding a Beauty Blender to my shopping list. I also want to experiment more with my Graftobian palette, and look into the Yaby cream foundations.

So a massive THANK YOU to Rachael for letting me tag along, and being so free and open with her wisdom and experience. Looking forward to doing it again!

What tips have you picked up from working with other artists?
BC xx