6 August 2015

Life as a makeup artist!

So, I have been inspired of late.  This is not to bitch about my job. I love my job, when I do it... "When you do it?" I hear you ask.

Well I'd like to set a few things straight when it comes being a Freelancer.  Especially in this case a Freelance Hair and Make-up Artist.  Because apparently I have the best, most glamourous and easy job ever.  I mean what can be better than being your own boss, picking your hours willy nilly, schmoozing with all the right fancy people, getting chauffeured from job to job, Tonnes of freebies and sipping on champagne cocktails when I am not actually being "Bussssyyy" working.  Wow! your right that job sounds amazing.... Where can I get it, cause trust me it is not mine.  

There is a hell of a lot of competition out there and jobs are snapped up, artists are fighting for work.  It is tough to get out there and make a success of yourself, whilst remaining afloat financially.  For years, too many years!  I worked a full time job that almost paid for me, to do my freelance job.  I then grew a pair and quit my soul destroying office job, to take the plunge to go fully freelance.  Scary?  Yes scary.  Did I know when my next pay day would be?...No!  Did I make the right choice?..Definitely, my mental health and stress levels are much happier.  Everything in life takes time, you just have to be persistent and not give up.  I am still telling myself, and that's coming from someone with the patience of a nat!

First things first "The Kit". Yes that massive case you can often see me, on a good day sashaying down the street rolling it effortlessly beside me.  Oh, but on a bad day dragging it like i'm hauling a case of rocks and stopping in intervals to shout/kick at it.
So anyway the contents of the kit, this has been collected over time.  You don't just buy a kit, time goes in to selecting/ hoarding products that work best in your eyes, as a professional and some that aren't always needed, but you swear that, on a rainy day it will be needed so hold on to, just in case.  So to clarify, no the kit has not been given to me, I pay for everything that goes into it.
Ever thought, on purchasing that Dior foundation, wow that's a bit pricey?  Yeah try purchasing 5 or more, to cater to the nation.  Kits take time to build, and everything is hand selected personally.  So, if you were thinking about plucking my Cosmetic A La Carte lipgloss out of it, please refrain.  As, no!  I won't be getting 5 free ones thrown at me to replace it.  Borrow anything from the kit, but pleas put it back after.
There are many a day I feel like letting my kit roll on to the tracks, never to be seen again, at the same time I wouldn't be without it.  That case holds my livelihood, tools of the trade, without it I would be pretty stumped in terms of work.
On the plus side, one silver lining is the case does come in handy when there is no free seats on the train at the end of a loonnning day.

Speaking of long days!  The hours tend to sometimes be absolutely fine, sometimes really long and beginning in the early hours.  While your still tucked up in bed I am en route to where I need to be, when your finishing at 5 and heading home.  I am still perfecting a look, heading off to do a trial or generally on hand set.  Work can be very anti-social at times, both with the hours and with the fact you can tend to work solo a lot of the time, no christmas parties for me, on the other hand I can be working within a really great creative team, where we all know we are doing what we love, making it even more enjoyable  and apparent how lucky we are to be doing what we are, both good at and loving!
Do I miss my weekends?  Yes sometimes. A lot of my work happens on the weekend, as well as within the week.  Gone are the days where I am "living for the weekend".  In fact i'm not really sure where to place my weekend, days off happen sporadically.  Sometimes never to be seen in weeks, but then can be so quiet your almost willing to be working again.  Besides, sometimes weekends just get frittered away, so it makes sense to work if I can and then I appreciate the time off I do get.

"In the office"
Even my days off turn into working days, as usually this time will allow me to catchup on invoicing, accounts, blogging, emailing....It goes on.  Perks of my office life, when the suns out the office becomes much more fun, it almost makes you feel guilty for being able to work in such free conditions.
  That's why when the work is rolling in I may be busy, tired and wanting a break.  I will never knock it, when you are self employed it is a blessing and a great feeling to be working, no matter how much you want a break, when those quiet times hit, along with it comes panic.  I instantly panic that all work has dried up and I am doomed.  Then before you know it another busy period comes around and the whole cycle repeats itself.

Now about those "Freebies".  Everything has a price, I do get the odd freebie.  This usually goes straight in my kit and to have received this "freebie" in the first place I would've had to have done something to warrant it.  Usually in the form of a review.  Which is absolutely fine by me, however involves time and research, as I don't like giving great reviews to just anyone or anything, unless it really warrants it.  You then sometimes have to ensure you get the right contact to even make the review and even then your request to review can be completely ignores.  Everyone is a blogger/ critic these days, so even in a profession such as mine, I still have to stand in line with the rest of the mere mortals.

Discount cards and subscriptions.  Yeah I am lucky enough to have a few, however bear in mind I did the time and worked the job to gain that invoice, that proves I'm a pro.  I spent 3 years working my socks of to get my degree that shows I earned my stripes.  Oh!  No, silly, you don't just walk into a brand and get handed a discount card, you need various copies of paperwork stating you are actually working in the industry and actually be worthy of it, not to mention your do have to pay a subscription fee for it too!

Getting around town, I am not chauffeured anywhere!  I either drive, which can sometimes involve a temperamental sat nav, taking me right to my destination or leading to on set road rage, when it takes me off the grid.  The other option, would be London Transport.  Which yes, I like the millions know TFL has its moments.  However, when it's me and the Kit you suddenly realise how many stairs there are on the underground and how much a day of work for me also turns into a day of working out.  I definitely get my steps in on the plus side.

 Travelling allows you to take in the sites, and become a little more familiar with your home turf.  Also you get very good at eating on the go....

Hills! this.......with "The Kit".  Thank god it was a lovely, sunny, cool day!

Come rain or shine!  It has been particularly hot of late, after my case workout here, there and everywhere, on hot days the trick is to always position yourself behind a window, so the air blows in your face as the train moves forward...instant cooling.  On rainy days there is just no helping yourself, as I found out last week when it poured.  On trying to find a clients venue, I had case in one hand, google maps in the other, the result no hands for umbrella = soggy me and a soggy I-phone.  I would merely settle for an in between temperature, where by I can arrive at my clients looking normal instead of  a sweaty mess or wet weekend.

Advertising and all those extra costs.  Of course to get your name out there you need to invest in yourself, unless you are particularly lucky and word of mouth has done wonders.  Any artist in the know, will be sensible enough to have a good business card, a place where by people can see examples of your work, background and contact details.  Everyone loves a recommendation, people like to know you are reliable and good at what you do.  Even if you get that word of mouth, potential clients still want to visualise what you can do.  Get a site set up, make yourself stand out, be professional.  I recently refreshed everything, new business cards, new site and even added advertising to my car!


Other perks of this job s variety.  No day is really the same, venues are ever changing.  One day you visiting someones house, the next a studio and the day after that your in the country in the middle of nowhere.  I get easily bored so constantly need to be on the go, busy.  On the other side I can be a creature of habit and I still like to moan about it, this doesn't mean I don't enjoy what I do.  I am only human.  Great clients!  If you want to meet people of all walks of life this jobs allows this.  I am rarely surprised by anything anymore, you learn in this industry quite quickly nothing is that shocking.  Obviously the downside is there are often a lot of really dogs body jobs we have to do.  For Fashion shows for example some of the male models might need to have moisturiser rubbed into there washboard skin....It is a really tough job at times.  I mean the below pic is a prime example of the sort've shoddy jobs we have to do.  In a field, in the sunshine with a half naked not bad looking actor.  It gets tough, but we are professionals and we just plough on for the love of our art!

You may be able to talk the talk, but when the going gets tough, and in this industry it gets really tough.  People want to therefore know you can walk the walk.  I have been doing this for nearly 10 years and in all honesty I still have moments of doubt, you are constantly criticised, challenged, someone dislikes what you've done even dislikes you, you get bad feedback.  At times I have wanted to give up, questioning is it all worth it?  Not everyone is always going to like you, you can't please everyone either, just dust yourself off and keep moving forward.  It is swings and round abouts, one bad week can create a moment of weakness, and then before you know it the following week your back at the top of your game, everyone loves you, your confidence is back up, you receive some amazing praise.  Which is exactly what i got the other week with the thank you note I recently got below.  Just a lovely gesture like this restores your faith that you can both totally do your job and you are most definitely appreciated.

So if this helps convince you that, whilst my job is a massive challenging rollercoaster ride.  I wouldn't be doing anything else!