Saturday, June 19, 2010



I really wanted to touch on this to save you heartache.   Once you decide to become a makeup artist several things happen 
  • Your schedule changes dramatically
  • Your language changes dramatically
  • Your income changes dramatically

When this shift comes into your life there will be folks who are just not comfortable with it. Your mother may think you will be poor and destitute. Your husband doesn’t understand why you must work on this project for free. Your friends can’t flow with your hours and cannot understand why you just talked about the consistency of 4 different types of body lotions for an hour.
With my family and friends the question of how much money I made in the beginning would drive me to total frustration and to tears. They weren’t excited when I had just done the best shoot ever-- they wanted to know how much that shoot paid. I don’t know why when I finally decided to step out on my own and be self-employed this bought on barrage of invasive questions they never dared asked me when I was working in corporate America. I have never had so many people in my pocket before and it was too much to take

Now to their defense–I know it comes from concern, love and just plan trying to understand this business.  After all, I just left corporate america, my benenfits and my salary behind to suddenly make no "real" money--I totally get that I do  BUT dammmnnnn, must you really know how much the gig paid? And why must I justify why I’m doing what I’ve chosen as a career path every single time I mention my latest gig?  I longed for the day they stopped asking me–or they stopped blowing off my latest victory with a–well you didn’t make any real money how serious can this career be kind-of-attitude

I wanted them to come take the journey with me–only to realize they were incapable. I wanted people to marvel in my new found love. I wanted them to love it because I loved it. I wanted them to keep up my spirits when I was down. BUT they were incapable because what was needed was an understanding that they lacked and I grew so tired of trying to explain.

So my advice is–please keep your money to yourself. I made the mistake of thinking I would be rolling in the dough –due to reports on what folks like Kevyn Aucion made at the time. I thought if I made just 1/10th of what he did I would be good to go–WRONG. So I went around quoting income ala Kevyn but little did I know it would take me years to get that 1/10th

Please know your income will most likely be very very very–one more, very, small in the beginning of your career and you will be working for free alot--”paying your dues” Keep the talk about income to the only person that counts–a significant other you share bills. You may have to do this part time if your salary is extremely important to your households survival. People who are not in this business cannot wrap their brains around, working for free, little pay for crazy hours, no medical benefits and definitely no pension. In the end it will just stress you out–and a stressed makeup artist isn’t good to anyone

Now several years later and after much hard work, many highs and some serious ass-kicking lows I have finally made it to the point where my friends and family –who doubted my decisions are now proud of me and they have stopped asking me those damn annoying questions. And yes I do get to have dinner with the girls when I can and I pay my bills.

So to you newbies out there I understand where you are and I wish for you perseverance, patients, love, and a tenacious spirit. Never give up, never stop.   How will you ever see your dreams fulfilled.


  1. things that make you go hmmm...

    reading this DeShawn I kept thinking to myself "Is she talking to me?" (and you should know why). this is a great blog post. very pertinent information for new makeup artist and even some of us that are not so new but still climbing the career ladder.

    if i may interject my humble point of view, i would say that a contributing factor to the frustration is the 'get it quick, get it now' attitude of this generation. it seems that people have forgotten that real success takes time, effort, and PATIENCE to achieve.

    as far as the family and friends not understanding. i found myself shaking my head and smiling because i totally get that one and i am also tired of sounding like a broken record explaining why i do makeup.

    even with the tough times i have encountered, i am determined to hang in there. i have to believe that all of the blood, sweat, tears, and pain i have sacrificed for my art will reward me in some small way someday.

    thank you DeShawn for all of your support.

    Karen S., DC/MD/VA

  2. Hey DeShawn,

    Thanks for the reminder reality check! I will remember this as I step out on faith, patience and perservance in January 2011 to do makeup full time.
    You are an inspiration to all MUAs!

  3. DeShawn what you shared was Very well put. Thank you!

  4. Amen Rev. Hatcher!
    Very nice DeShawn. Salary was something I was not able to get past but for those who can, stay encouraged. Rev. Hatcher the Make-up Minister is a great mentor.

  5. OMG...D, I needed to hear that. Thank you!!!

  6. Thank you, thank you Deshawn. This perfectly explains everything I've tried to explain to my family for years, but in a more eloquent way.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I've been working corporate jobs for the last ten years and have recently decided to try something more creative (writing and makeup) and everything you described in this post is happening to me. I keep my lips zipped about salary especially when it comes to

  8. Your post really summed up everything I've dealt with as an MUA. Thank you for making me feel ok about my decisions!

  9. Very nice post! Everything in this post was dead on! But after years of going back and forth of just "doing" makeup I decided to make it a business or an extended service outside of the hair business....I get these questions all the time!

    I never really worked in corporate America but my family sometimes don't get why I have to use gas to go do a free gig! Ice tried explaining but no luck! After 2 1/2 yrs of deciding to make it a business things are picking up somewhat and when I can use that money to contribute to the bills the questions come in less and less.

    Thanks again for such a great post!

  10. This is definitely a read and re-read... even years later. And now that i have taken the step out on my own, it's even more of a direct hit. Thank you for putting this into words. You're an angel :)

  11. You are speaking nothing but truth! Thank you for sharing.


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