Fed up with a dead-end job and a salary that doesn't cover rent? Make a fresh start! These sunny career paths will shine on no matter how stormy the economy gets.
Do we even have to tell you that Jessica Simpson doesn’t apply her own mascara? Makeup artists help women (and occasionally men) enhance their look and personal sense of beauty. A good artist incorporates not only the latest trends coming off New York’s runways, but also examines each client’s personal sense of style. It’s generally considered a recession-proof career because, as one artist put it, “when the economy is down, lipstick sales are up.”
Rachel Elmore is the Midwest lead trainer for Nars, a boutique makeup brand that locally operates counters at places like Saks and Nordstrom. She says talented artists can advance within a company either by going corporate or traveling with it to major runway events, while others may skip sales and work strictly for modeling agencies.
Entry-level artists may make anywhere between $11 and $17 an hour plus commission at a store like Macy’s, while experienced artists working at boutique department stores like Barneys may earn $20–$25 an hour (excluding quarterly bonuses). Runway artists may start at $250–$700 a day while top talent (say, for a movie star) may get $1,000–$2,000 per day.
This career is for you if…
You’re a fan of fashion—but keep in mind that artists are expected to make monthly sales goals to stay competitive, regularly deal with some pretty finicky ladies and stand on their feet for 8–10 hours at a time.
You don’t have to have a degree or formal education to become a makeup artist. The best come from backgrounds as diverse as retail, theater or sales. “In this industry, it’s not about having a license and being able to do hair,” Elmore says. “It’s more about how creative and artistic you are.” That said, Elmore stresses the importance of education while also encouraging interested folk to walk into a store and fill out an application. Here’s where to get hands-on experience:
Make Up First (28 E Jackson Blvd, suite 1910, 312-880-0801) is the only school in Chicago dedicated exclusively to a comprehensive certification process in makeup artistry. Enroll online and dive face first into Basic Makeup ($900), a nuts-and-bolts prerequisite introduction into the fundamental principles of makeup artistry.
At Last Looks Makeup Academy, weekend classes are held throughout the fall at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Tuition varies from $299–$899 for topics ranging from makeup for runway and photography to just eyes. Successful completion of each course comes with a certificate.