Finding your Sea Legs
Sailing to a dream can meet with mega storms,
but if your dream remains precious to you,
life will teach you your sea legs, captain!
Sunday night I made myself a fort in bed, I ate snacks, sipped wine and watched the Oscars live on my laptop. I love a good entertainment industry awards night and the Oscars are by far my favourite, as is a cosy night in away from thinking about work.
I love seeing what everyone is wearing, allowing myself to be a judgmental yet supportive spectator… discovering what hair and makeup choices were made, and of course, I love the entertainment and the speeches.
AHHHHHH The speeches – to me, these are a glimpse into the state of the world and each year, I find them eternally inspiring - seeing creatives who started with a seed of an idea that morphed into a dream and now are blubbering their way through an emotional Oscars acceptance speech.
I live for these stories of triumph.
Artists often refer passionately to what it has taken for them (and their teams) to realise the dream of that project. What these creatives have overcome to tell a story they believed in or to create something that once was ‘just an idea’ that they followed are the stories I can’t get enough of. I love hearing what their award means for the equality conversation. What these creatives now believe about what’s possible for themselves and anyone who has a dream. Awards night speeches are like a yearly drug for the part of me that loves to be inspired by stories of dream chasing. And it is never really about that award… yet a big nod from the academy (and the world) that all finalists are on the right track… are making valuable pieces of art for the world. The winner getting the most honorable nod.
This year, Lady Gaga won the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ from her film with Bradley Cooper “A Star is Born” (That I embarrassingly have not seen yet… I’ll fix this later this week). Also winning for that song was Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt. In Gaga’s emotional acceptance speech, she passionately said words that were pure warm milk and honey for my ears:
“And if you are at home, and you're sitting on your couch and you're watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I've worked hard for a long time, and it's not about, you know...it's not about winning. But what it's about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There's a discipline for passion. And it's not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or you're beaten up. It's about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.”
I woke up this morning to Facebook reminding me that today marks the 5th anniversary of my first official meeting with the publisher to work on my books “Makeup Artist Bootcamp” and ‘We the Painted.’
We met at the gallery of NSW, and as an old friend from my 20s, we spent time catching up as well as talking about my plans from turning my course into a book and a body art coffee table book. This led to her and I creating a contract for her to be my publisher as well as graphic designer and post production person, and I excitedly got to work on a huge dream of mine that made me weak at the knees.
I was finally going to write a book
…and as I had already written so much content for education facilities… I was beside myself in inspiration and motivation. I KNEW the philosophies and ideas of this course helped me break through my own idea of who I was as an artist to realise ‘impossible’ career dreams and these ideas were already proving to be hugely beneficial for other artists as well. I was so inspired to think once the book was out… these philosophies would be easy to share with other artists and it wasn’t going to be JUST from when I did live courses - I still had my own makeup career I wanted to pursue and I wasn’t going to be teaching ALL of the time. Tools on how to pick yourself up when you fall… and how to flourish exactly where you are WORKED for me and the artists who applied it to their careers. I wanted to share the education on a broader scale as I knew I was onto something impacting and incredible.
A lot of people know what happens next.
If you don’t, the summarized version is:
I finished writing and content creating for the book and it took 3 years to complete on a very small ‘single lady living in Sydney’ budget. What I DIDN’T know, was my ‘publisher’ completely lacked integrity… pulled some shady and manipulative moves on me and my investor and ended up convincing us to pay her in full, in which when we did (as she was an old friends and I trusted her) she washed her hands to a majority of the contract, took her money and did not honour the contract. I was left with nothing but an incomplete PDF of a book designed in a hurry that was unusable. In fact… she even got paid more money for a copy editor that didn’t even exist! I had to move back to Sydney, pick up my life (as I was on my way to America but had to delay that) teach myself graphic design and the publishing business, and somehow make every thing work in a small amount pf time with pressure coming from every direction.
I was in damage control trying to keep my head above water.
I was already in pre sale (with prices set by the publisher that were based on zero fact … which led me to personally paying more for the books to be made than they were ever sold.) I had people impatiently waiting for the books based on a timeline created by a publisher who had no intention on finishing the job unless they were paid more money regardless of the signed contract. There was an impossible budget blowout as part of the future they created for us in the 11th hour before ‘going to print’ (that I l soon learnt was never happening) … it was all a giant sham by a charismatic person who was, and always has been, a charlatan.
I just never knew until it was too late.
I had to do something to continue fulfilling on a big dream I’ve had since a kid - writing a book. Especially as the course was all about growing your career as an artist in an authentic way… and despite the giant roadblocks… I still saw value for myself in seeing it through. I HAD to see it through.
I used all the ideas, tools and philosophies I was already talking about in ‘Makeup Artist Bootcamp’ and got out of my own head in regards to what I thought was possible for me to create… and I graphic designed, illustrated, and published ‘Makeup Artist Bootcamp’ and ‘We the Painted’ myself. All at the same time as we launched Laud Magazine and picking up my freelance work up in Sydney again. They were some of the hardest times in my life but I did it! WE did it (I did have support). I may have lost friends from the lack of my ability to embrace my bubbly self whilst working 16+ hour days, 7 days a week for months under huge amounts of stress. I learnt who my authentic friends were. Some gave an ear to vent into and a shoulder to rest on… yet some didn’t like stressed and survival mode Becca and friendships evolved just like I was. “It was the best of times and the worst of times” as they say.
After learning these new skills under pressure for fulfilling on book’s people had already paid for… I finally released the books at the Sydney Beauty Expo and got to hold in my hands, a book that was so hot off the press the glue was still drying… and get up on stage and talk to makeup artists about ‘yes you can if you have the dream.’ I had a milestone in my hands with only hours to spare to the deadline of the launch.
What a moment.
Fast forward to 5 years after that first meeting, and I can’t say I regret those decisions. Maybe a little regret in not trusting the red flags that popped up over time until it was too late. Maybe a little regret not shopping around for other opinions. Or maybe I just feel a little sad about my willingness to trust ‘friends’ charismatic involvement in my dreams… yet our relationship being only about what they can get from me for their own gain whilst making me feel like I had done them wrong in some way. Manipulating and taking all they can get like a vampire sucking the blood of a relationship and then once drained… then literally moving away. And I’m not just talking about the publisher either. I know we have all had similar experience of some version of that. AND IT’S OK to trust and love new and old friends. AND IT’S OK to breath life into projects that have caused much pain but growth. AND IT’S OK for relationships to come and go and for you to still have happiness… Because somewhere deep inside there is a flame that burns for our dreams and keeps us awake at night thinking about them. And whilst there are burning dreams inside of us, they will always be worth pursuing. AND IT’S OK for me to talk about the reality of the journey… because I know everyone is dealing with their hopes and dreams for themselves and I hope my story helps another artist keep going with their dreams… and practices happiness in the now in all the moments of now that their dream will occupy.
So, THANK YOU Lady Gaga, for using your own moment of elation and recognition in your own life to generously remind us all that dreams start somewhere in our hearts and are only realised when you ride the waves on the journey to get there.
Some journeys are smooth sailing yet some are like a catastrophic perfect storm where you don’t know if your dreams will come out on the other side alive. But to keep going…to keep dreaming and pursuing with happiness in your heart knowing you are spending energy on something you care about… BIG or small… life along the way to teach you what you need to know to help realise that dream. So many of those waves that crash over your head feel like you may not get out alive… but they are not only teaching you how to survive, but how to thrive. And, If you carefully observe, learn from and believe in that dream, still, after all the waves come crashing down, there is ALWAYS the possibility that your dream will one day arrive in your life as a real experience.
When you get to realise that one dream, (solo or with others), one thing is for certain... no one will come out the other side of experience the same human again.
‘There's a discipline for passion.’
The church of Gaga has spoken! I could not believe in this more. And maybe these words are what I have been searching for to describe the work of ‘Makeup Artist Bootcamp’ – it is a nurturing discipline for the passion you feel for your life and career.
Selling out the first print run for me was never the end of this story.
Having now spent some time settling in to NYC and getting some distance from that turbulent ocean I was in… I’m freshly inspired to stand up, dust off and breath life back into a dream that was not fully realised to my imagination for it. I’m now redesigning, in my own time and with new energy, the next evolution for the books and course… and I have never felt so excited for what I am creating. I won’t say too much yet except some people will be very surprised and I hope all artists will be over the moon. The old books and course is wonderful… amazing…. beneficial and STILL useful to artists … yet, in my own eyes, look like a visual representation of an artist doing impossible things yet just surviving the storm. I can do better.
The next evolution of Makeup Artist Bootcamp will be a reflection of what I have imagined for this work the whole time. It will also be a celebration for getting through the most intense storm of my work life and coming out the other side again being an example of the work. More a reflection of a THRIVING and not ‘just surviving disaster’ artist.
If you haven’t noticed the slow changes on Instagram… the course will now be called ‘Makeup Artist Mindset’ as is the best reflection of what we do in this course. (It’s such a new name I haven’t even got a logo yet!) This course is a MUA discipline to learn and then grow your career from within (wherever you are at in it)! I’m not only reinventing some known aspects of the Bootcamp course that we all love… but even the other day realising what I ACTUALLY am doing is writing the ‘advanced course’ and mixing it all in together.
And yes, people who still think it’s a body art course, we DO practical activities using body art. I am not suggesting you have to monetize this aspect of your makeup practice to benefit from painting NOR do I think you need to be overly interesting in the body art world to love or benefit from this course. These are taught to open up the idea that playing with body art will most certainly refine your Makeup and Brush Skill as well as ground your confidence in your own creativity and abilities – regardless of the focus of your makeup career.
We are artists. It’s written in the job title. It’s time for us all to allow ourselves regardless of out makeup career dreams to nurture and care for our work like true artists.
LOTS of announcements to come this year. Get ready! I’m sooooo excitied!
In the meantime… ALSO SINCE SUNDAY NIGHT I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET THIS OUT OF MY HEAD.
Skip to 4.26 mins for a visual representation of my brain since the Oscars thanks to my imaginary husband, Paul Rudd.
Not to be outdone by another favourite: