This is the first question that I asked M.U.D students a couple of weeks ago to answer anonymously. For those of you who haven’t read the previous post… my session at M.U.D combined with the discovery of ‘Post Secret’ a couple of days earlier, led me to creating ‘The Anonymous Artist’… and with a few anonymous messages coming through already… I’m so excited to see where this will all go.
Yes… they are 100% anonymous. I get NO details about the sender. I promise. Ask Squarespace. They’ll confirm it.
I wanted to ask the M.U.D makeup students what their dreams were for their career, as I remember this was such an important question when I taught a Diploma of Makeup. In the final couple of weeks of the diploma… we would have one on one interviews with each graduating student and part of this was asking them where they wanted to be in 5 years. OH! WAIT! I remember now! It was all part of ‘mock job interviews’ we would hold so students could experience the pure weirdness of a job interview. (Don’t you think all job interviews are kind of weird? It’s like an intense speed date with someone who you want a long term relationship with even though you only know about them from their picture and description and MAYBE heard about what they’re like to be with from people who might be dating them now. And you both know you’re bottom line you’re mainly only in it for the money… yet they need to find out what living with you part time would be like… What you’re passionate about and why you should be THE new relationship.)
I would hear all kind of things like “I have no idea…” to “I’ll have my own makeup brand in 5 years” to “I’ll be working with famous people like Paris Hilton by then…” (this was when Kim K was still a random in the background of Paris Hilton pics). I used to think ‘shit.. the makeup world is so huge… if they don’t have SOME sort of focus by now, it’s going to be so easy for them to quit makeup when things get challenging.’
So I learnt to ask this question often! I took it personally too as I had spent the first four years of my career chasing an area of makeup that ACTUALLY deep down didn’t suit the lifestyle I wanted - Film - and I wished someone had sat me down to give me some real talk in the beginning… I might have not felt so lost with my arms flailing in the air as I worked it all out for myself over 4+ years.
**Side Note - I even moved to New Zealand to try and get onto Lord of the Rings. My fate with film was UNBELIEVABLY spooky and I still think people who hear my experience think I’m making it up… to the point I still laugh when I get offered a job on a film as chances are, the curse of my film fate will trample any and every chance of me working on that film.Every. Time. I eventually listened to the universe and what it was trying to tell me - film wasn’t for me. If you haven’t heard the story… my doomed film career was as ridiculous as meeting a guy at a party who upon telling him the story of almost officially getting hired for a film he worked on… his face went white and he went on to tell me the story of how HE was the reason I didn’t get hired - it was all down to him having met the second artist they were considering ONCE… and he just happened to be in the office when they were deciding between us. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough… it was because for EVERY film I ALMOST worked on, there was a twist of fate that killed my chance. Lord of the rings, King Kong, River Queen… the list goes on.
ANYWAY… My pursuit of film led me to finding editorial and advertising… something that had NEVER crossed my mind in the beginning. But film led to retail and some freelance… which led to teaching then freelancing full time… and I will forever stress the importance of doing at least some time in retail if you want to jack your makeup skills up in the formative years. Of course… my career was richer than that brief summary, but you get the picture. I realised after 4 years I didn’t want to work in a lifestyle that was similar to my brothers life in the Australian Army… always travelling and always working. So now I freelance and I’m always travelling and always working - except I get to choose where I go! I’m just glad I had a focus for that time otherwise I would never have had the grit to give my career the time it needed to flourish. Everyone’s artistic career has a different momentum and I’m glad I gave it the time it needed.
It was so important to me to know that my students back then had at least some idea of their real interest in the industry … otherwise what were they there for? How were they going to have the grit to give their artistic career a chance to evolve and flourish if they didn’t have a focus? (This was well before even Myspace so being an influencer wasn’t even a concept). Don’t you think it’s important to know where you want to go from the start or you could just get a bit lost and even fizzle out… I’ve seen that happen a lot. Not that the fizzling out is bad at all - if you’re not passionate about what your doing… do something else. There’s no shame in changing course… it’s YOUR LIFE. Milestones don’t have to be pursued for the sake of avoiding an outward appearance of failure… it may have been what you needed to pursue to work out the more meaningful milestone you didn’t know you wanted back then. Or maybe that was just me. But fizzling out because of fear and lack of focus despite talent is something that can be prevented if you are having the right conversations. And I’d like to support talent and the good humans in our world.
Also knowing the difference between fizzling out and running away from fear is very important. One of the main reasons I created The Makeup Mindset , to be honest, was to help differentiate between the two. To have the important conversations that I think we should all be having as a makeup artist. I also needed to bottle what I was doing to maintain my stubborn passion that over time looked like resilience because other artists said they wanted ‘some of what I was having’. I’ve certainly wanted to run screaming from this industry many times I assure you… but I can’t! I have a strange 19 year love for it. And all that’s in The M.M. certainly helps me not go crazy.
Now you can see why it was natural for me to ask this as my first question. And here is what they answered: