I remember when I was first starting out as a makeup and hair artist that I had no freaking clue what I was supposed to be doing. I had taken my classes, earned my credentials, and then … well … what? What was I supposed to do?
At that time, and I’m really aging myself here : Facebook was just on the rise to the huge platform it is today. Twitter had not yet existed. And I’m pretty sure that the iPhone hadn’t even made a splash yet. Don’t even ask me if there was Instagram!
So there I was. A makeup artist with credentials but no connections to anyone in the makeup industry. My portfolio was filled with five photos taken from my courses (and let’s be straight, the photoshoots set up from your classwork are not ALWAYS the best work). I knew nothing about getting my foot in the door, anywhere.
But – to my benefit – I was ballsy.
I remember my first “assisting” gig. I used to be a big fan of So Chic with Steven and Chris. Please raise your hand if you remember that show? (Anyone? Anyone?) On that show, the chosen Canadian Cinderellas would be treated to a shopping spree, have their hair done, and enjoy a complete makeover. The on-air makeup artist was Kim Primeau.
If I recall right, her beauty website was something like “Kiss and Make-up”. I remember sending an email – not a DM, not a comment under her recent post, nor a text – to Kim herself. A cold-sent email telling her about myself, my goals for my makeup career, and asking if I could assist her. To my surprise – she said yes.
The gig was in preparation for a show revolving around LBGQT community, and my main job would be to groom the male contestants. Reduce shine, make them bronzy, groom stray brows, and soften lips with lip balm. Kim had told me to pack some translucent powder, bronzing powder and products to groom brows with. I was to meet her at a bar right on Church Street, south of Wellesley – where Pride lives! That night was crazy, busy, and while I was getting the job done, I wasn’t sure I was completely doing it all right.
It was an evening gig, and I remember being picked up by my hubby afterwards, with my 2-year old in tow. The line-ups and crowds outside Church Street were in full-swing by quitting time. And while I spent the gig being nervous and scared of fucking up a gay man’s brows, I remember standing outside the club at the end of it all, getting into the car and thinking to myself, “Yes – I really do want to do makeup …”. It was a wake-up call at how much more I needed to learn about makeup, hair, the industry … everything.
The whole experience was an eye opener, and one I will never forget.
While I checked in now and then with Kim for more assisting after that, she became busy with her TV work and that night was the one and only time I assisted her. She probably wouldn’t remember any of this if she read it and most likely doesn’t even remember my name. And while I found more ways to get my feet wet in makeup: taking on time for print creative shoots, friends of friends weddings, etcetera, I’ll never EVER forget the kindness she gave to me by just saying yes. She didn’t know me, nor did she owe me anything, but she let me come to this gig on Church street with literally no previous TV experience and assist her.
Over 16 years later, with that one kind gesture she awarded me, I’m still doing my best to pay it forward …
Today, our phones are like tiny encyclopedias to learning about an industry in one day. Connections can be made almost instantly (and virtually). Finding a dream team to work with can be done by liking posts and leaving emojis. Even still, entering the world of beauty can be daunting. Scary, even. Maybe you are stuck on your next move. Maybe you’re not moving in the right direction. Maybe you haven’t even packed up to move just yet. It’s okay. I get it.
I’ve been building this brand from the ground up since 2002; 2004 as BlushPretty. Along the way, it’s grown and while artists have come and gone, more have stayed than left. And nothing makes me happier when a BlushPretty artist calls, or emails, or TEXTS to ask me for help. It reminds me of this whole story of me not having anyone to bounce my ideas or concerns off of but eventually by chance, finding one GREAT PERSON to help me with a brief moment of their time.
If you are a new artist, a stuck artist, or an artist who just needs a bit of help … please email me. I’m here to help, to guide, and to inspire.
I will be your Kim!