A couple weeks ago, one of my favorite photographer, Ernie Passwaters, put up a Facebook post. She was asking for women of color to be face models for the Academy of Makeup Arts. I submitted my picture and they chose me! I was impressed that the school wanted to work on women of color. The instructors felt that their students needed to practice on the different tones that are found in our community.
When I walked into the AMUA studio I was met with 20 models, of various shades from toasted vanilla to mocha brown, being worked on by mostly artists who were white. Well! Yes, let’s do it! I know they students were nervous, but the models were nervous too. Most models have horror stories of white make-up artists either ignore them or make them look casket ready (ie ASHY-McGEE!). AMUA is making sure to send their student artist out in the world, ready to tackle ALL skin tones.
The artist assigned to me was named Claire. She assessed my non-makeup face, asked me about my skin care routine, and complimented me on my clear skin. Thanks, Claire! Anyway she noted the dark circles under my eyes and hyper-pigmentation around my mouth. She wrote a couple notes and got to work.
Listen, Claire MADE my foundation! Now that’s a make-up artist! At first, it was a bit rocky, but ashy . . . and even Claire noted how this was the first time dipping into the darker pigments. It’s ok Claire, we can do this! A couple minutes later, we were in business. Did I mention, this was a TEST for Claire and her fellow students. They had a one hour time limit to created a smokey-eye red carpet look. Whew! Even I was nervous. But Claire, got it RIGHT! We were done with time to spare and she was ready to take me to get my photo done.
For our first go round, I think Claire did a great job! Claire remarked how she never has to do her eyebrows, but y’all know my eyebrows STAY on struggle. So, Claire had her work cut out for her! We were sent back one time to work on my contour, it needed to be a bit darker. I was impressed that the staff at AMUA were so sensitive, yet worked hard to help the students understand the intricacies of working with skin of color.
So, if you use a Make-up Artist from the AMUA school, be confident that they are trained to give you the look you are asking for. Also, when using a new makeup artist, ask a bunch of questions and get comfortable with your artist. Every new face is a chance to learn and improve on a new technique.
If you are interested in becoming a make-up artist, contact the Academy of Make-up Arts today. It’s a great school and they have classes in special effects make-up too! Give them a call.