In a recent session with a coaching student, she remarked - "I can't wait until I have more experience then I won't have to deal with all these things that go wrong as a newbie".  I couldn't help but mildly laugh...  Somewhere along the way an expectation has grown that if you do something enough you'll escape future drama and chaos.

It made me realize that her thought process was somewhat prevalent with newer artists now. I'm not sure who spread that little rumor, or if there is a huge part of the population walking around with rose colored glasses on... but let me tell you glamsters - it's just not that way.


Let me share my own little meltdown story from a couple of years ago.

 The shoot was in North Carolina.  And even though I've spent many years traveling for gigs this one was a big honor because the client also works with some big name artists.  Sadly, it wasn't the pretty picture I'd hoped for and  I spent most of the flight home figuring out how I was going to change my identity and start all over again - To say I was mortified would be an understatement. 

I was booked with a celebrity who I admire greatly.. and who I know happens to be very particular... something I actually prefer to someone who has no idea what they like.   I had done her makeup a couple of times and was ridiculously thrilled to be invited on this job and even more so once I arrived on set and received my call sheet.  I found out that one of the other makeup artists (there were three others total to handle the extras) had already done makeup on this celebrity prior.... I was crazy flattered (Wow!) and simultaneously nervous (yikes!) because you know you better bring it baby.

As Murphy's law would have it, the weather turned ugly... Rainy- awful -ugly to be exact and despite my best efforts the hair was not exactly looking like the on-point sexy do' that I have given this famous face in the past.  Once the rain stopped the 99% humidity was not a friend to those normally shiny locks - the hair looked like a frizzy cluster... Definitely, definitely not the look I was going for. (insert four letter word here)

So what's a little ol' makeup artist to do when the client is not feeling it AND the other makeup team is saying "bless your heart dear" (southern translation - you poor thing you're an idiot) and the production crew is trying to keep things moving and the whole crew within budget? Why "Plan B" of course...

I spoke to the client and asked for an extra 15 minutes to tame that  mane.  In this case since this "face" was famous, I was given the time but what happens when you are on a model test, a fashion shoot or on a brides big day and things go awry?

This is where your skills really need to be sharp and you need to be a quick thinker to solve the problem pronto!

In my case I have dealt with difficult hair and unfriendly weather conditions hundreds of times so even though I was silently praying Lord please make that humidity go away, I knew that as is I had to turn the situation around.

First - Know your products inside and out. Know how they will perform on different skin (or hair types if you also do hair) and in different weather conditions.  If you are going to use a product for the first time play with it at home and try it out under different conditions ie: dryness, humidity, cold and hot before you even entertain the idea of bringing it on set.  Giving yourself time to practice with it on a few people before the gig- is a must no matter how experienced you are.

Second- If you have a weak spot practice, practice, practice.  If you know that doing liquid liner is a challenge, practice it every day.  If you aren't great with lashes practice. If you haven't mastered airbrush and the client wants it... get in front of the mirror and practice.   This way when it really counts and a client wants something specific - you can handle it.

There was a time early in my career when I did lashes everyday, then natural lashes were in and no one was doing anything but a little mascara, so when the big ultra lash look came back again years later it only took one lash falling off in 115 degree weather to make me realize, I really had to revisit my lash skills ASAP.

Third- If you are stuck and aren't sure how to fix the problem - ask your client a) what don't they like and what else they envision.  If they don't like the lipstick or the eyeshadow you chose define further what they like and in the words of Tim Gunn -make it work!

Fourth- Never ever make your client feel bad -the customer is always right! I don't care if it's a personal client, an ad agency, commercial client etc  It's your job to provide the service to the best of your ability. Don't complain, have an attitude or get defensive. Show some grace under pressure.... your client will appreciate it and probably want to book you again if you solve the problem.

Fifth- One of the things I teach artists that I mentor and even those that work with me on my team or as assistants - never take a job above your skill set.  There is a big epidemic to "fake it til you make it".   I am on board 100% when it comes to "faking" being in a good mood when you aren't, or giving it your all even when you are tired, hungry, cranky or have the mother of all backaches .... But faking your abilities such as claiming you can do airbrushing or hair or wardrobe styling when your skills aren't sharp enough to slay it isn't going to win any clients or friends in the industry if you crash and burn... especially when someone is paying for your services.

When things go wrong your best bet is to go into "fix it" mode instead of freaking or letting the problem get to you. Don't freak out, don't talk to everyone on set and their brother about it and don't let it change your behavior get you off your mojo.  Lock it UP!

Believe me, I could have definitely crumbled under the pressure of having literally 50 people on set all staring at my celebs falling curls, but crumbling would not have solved anything and I wouldn't have had the clarity to make good decisions. Having a plan B,C or D up your sleeve will always help to keep you calm and focused.

As always, I would love to hear from you.  If you have any topics you want me to cover you can send me an email,   or my Facebook page

And don't forget - if you need additional help, I offer one-on-one coaching, and there's loads of free resources  click here and in the newsletter or check out my coaching programs!


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Because I’m a makeup coach and mentor usually by mid –December loads of emails start pouring in from artists who want to up their game, but sadly by February most realizes that those things on the goal list may not come as easily as they thought so a bit of either desperation or depression sets in.  

It's usually around the same time that I hear comments from peers telling me - I have an advantage when it comes to reaching my goals or getting better gigs because I’ve been doing this a long time.  You see, people mistakenly think things are “easy” for me or they think that I mustn’t face any major obstacles because I work all the time.   

Well guess what… I’m calling “bullsh*t” on that!  That's right - you heard me love.   It’s all a façade!  Everyone goes through their own stuff and it doesn't matter how long you've been doing something or how many connections you have. 

The industry goes in cycles and sometimes clients you've had forever move on, change directions or go out of business. Nothing is guaranteed.  And, looking to the left and right and thinking that everyone else has it soo good (except you) or assuming that everything is so easy for everyone else (except you) is nothing but a mindset minefield that traps you into the most disappointing, dirty comparison pit around. 

Here's the thing my friend, it does NO GOOD to curl yourself up in the pit to roll around with your mucky “I’m not good enough” sabotaging chatter… and once you are there it’s easy to get stuck by that beautiful “woe is me” distraction.

You open the door to an icky can of worms… The best case scenario of those “ I’m not good enough” thoughts leads to, second guessing your skills, becoming insecure about what you offer, making excuses and  ultimately not doing a good job for your clients because you are too busy swirling in the head game to show up and actually rock it out with your artistry.  We’ve all been there from time to time. The worst case scenario of this mindset leads to gossiping or criticizing others, having a bad attitude on set, lack of focus and self-sabotaging behaviors.

Whatever you do, don't cozy up to the popular crowd of comparison and her annoying bff called fear because fear is the nastiest of friends, leading to – disillusion, anger, bitterness, loss of motivation and even blocked creativity.  So let’s kick this little beatch of fear and comparison and all that they bring with them to the curb.  Let’s drive right through them like a point guard takes the ball to the basket (seriously did I just write a basketball reference?) In any case… let’s dominate!

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Here are a few steps to take:

1)      Focus on your own path and figure out your WHY? – I always say we are created uniquely and in the big picture what is meant for others is not always meant for us.  Why do you want to achieve the goals you have set? Why are you passionate about them?  Start with the Why?

2)      Focus on the privilege and blessings – if your passion is makeup and you get to do it in ANY capacity count your blessings!  The number of people who have dreams of doing it but never try or never do it could pave the road to the land of OZ… if you are doing it say THANK YOU God and keep up the gratitude!

3)      Embrace the obstacles… you needed them to sharpen you, refine you, push you and get you closer to where you want to be.  Trust me, I have not built a career that is free of obstacles, I just powered through them (sometimes with tears, sometimes with ice cream or chocolate) and sometimes I found the path around them. You can’t escape them so stop expecting to! I get work because I work at it… you can never afford to become complacent no matter what level you are at.

4)      Stop paying attention to what other people are doing …  I don’t mean you should be clueless to what’s happening in your market or with your peers, but stop gawking on  social media and keeping track of what everyone else is doing ALL the time.  This only leads to disappointment and gets you spinning in the “why not me” mode.  It’s a distraction that never helps.  Instead use social media strategically with purpose so it doesn’t derail your productivity.

5)      Make a list of what only YOU can offer people… I am not talking about some crazy makeup package or contouring technique… think about it - no one has your laugh, your touch, your sense of humor, your kindness, your smartness… you are the only one who is created just exactly like you… THIS is what you can do better than anyone else!

Now, pull on your get- me- out- of –the- pit “big kid pants” and get yourself in the groove again! You can do this!

And Remember!

 "You will never find in any dictionary where the word success comes before failure”- Diane Aiello


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You know by now being a makeup artist is a journey.  Your career will ebb and flow.  It doesn't matter if you have been in the game for twenty years or two years...  The amazing artist Joanna Schlipp once said to me..."The hustle never ends" and she wasn't kidding.

As a veteran makeup artist, I do have it easier in some ways than someone who is just starting out-  Maybe...  But if I have an easier time now it's been earned through years of hard work, sweat and adversity.

Starting out in the makeup biz my coaching students often tell me that- if they are good then jobs are going to come naturally. But then if/when  it doesn't  happen adversity sets in and creates a feeling of defeat or depression ... But here's the challenge that I've learned all too well when you are cloaked  in defeat, you can't be in a position to receive. 



Believe me I have been there.  In fact the last few years have held some of the biggest hardships of my career and personal life... Within a two week time period  my 20 year old cat, the cat that was my baby when I didn't have babies passed away and days later, I was helping a client with all aspects of producing a high end project I found them  find a photographer, gave input on models and agencies, procured and pulled wardrobe, then while in LA  everything was stolen - (makeup/ hair and / wardrobe kits) at the end of the first day of the job. It was a smash and grab.... Poof things changed in an instant. I still had day two to complete - and thank God I was able to ask the model to bring her own makeup!

The shots were beautiful and the clients were happy! Then upon returning home that night, while pulling together kit items for my job the next day and packing for NYFW I was cancelled from not one, not two, not three but 5 shows where I was to work alongside one of my favorite makeup artists for NYFW.    During that week I was hired to assist on a Vogue shoot - then released as they ended up  not needing an assistant, and watched while some of my fellow artists got booked on some of the shows that I had been cancelled from - since they worked with the brand that was sponsoring.

So why on earth am I telling you this? Because adversity is always there.  s#%t happens... And if you truly want something you can't let it defeat you.  Sure you can yell, and cry and get mad, but don't give in. Don't throw in the towel and don't let the dark cloud get bigger!

Since then the number of trying things I have faced would be more than I could count in one little blog post but through the personal losses I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing supportive husband and positive friends who have cheered me on..  They believed in me when I didn't and that is as good as gold.

So, I wasn't meant to work for Vogue... That time... I wasn't meant to work with one of my idols in the industry for five shows... That time.    But guess what?  I kept at it and eventually I worked with another makeup idol of mine and through those opportunities I even worked with some of the most beautiful amazing supermodels I could have hoped for.

As for my kit, maybe it was time to let go of attachments - even if those one of a kind brushes and limited edition palettes were like my best friends.... Maybe they were a crutch  that I relied on and it was time to shake things up.... Maybe all of these things were lessons to refine me as a person, to refine my skills and help me get to where I am really supposed to be.

The real lesson - it's not what happens to you but how you handle it.  I may have not handled it with greatness at every turn... I had sadness, anger, stress and tears... But I am committed to standing fast and being open to the possibilities ...Every adversity shapes us now for a future that we don't even know about yet.  And it's not even my job to know... On a spiritual level my job is to trust and be faithful and obedient to my purpose and my goals and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Today wherever you are, whatever is challenging you...Dig deep and look for your purpose... Find that sweet place where you feel inspired, motivated and passionate... Seek out faith, believe in yourself, believe in someone bigger.  And trust the process.   

Know that what is meant for others may not be meant for you... Keep walking on your path...  I believe in you and you should too... Keep going, keep going, keep going!