Career 26th October 2015 by Genevieve Wilson
How I Got My Job: Michelle Montgomery, Award Winning Make-Up Artist
Michelle tells us how she made it to the top of her game and also gives us some expert tips on achieving flawless make-up.
Job Title: Make-up artist
Facebook: Michelle Montgomery MUA
Studied: CIBTAC Diploma
Tell us how you first got into makeup?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my last year at school, but I knew I had a flair for art and so I enrolled in a Beauty Therapy course. After experiencing all aspects of beauty therapy I realised that I was most interested in make-up and concentrated on that.
Where did you go from there?
Whilst training at the college I worked in MAC as a cashier so I was able to get a sense of what counter work was like. After I got my qualification, I went on to work for other brands such as Armani Cosmetics, Smashbox, Dior Cosmetics and Inglot before setting up my studio in Dundrum.
Is the training to become a MUA difficult?
It’s an ongoing learning process. The courses teach you the basics; it’s up to yourself to put in the work. You’re always learning new trends and techniques and there are always new products and brushes to try out and learn about. Only constant practice can make you better.
What does a typical day entail for you?
Every day is different which is one of the reasons I love my job. I could be in the studio in Dundrum, or on a photo shoot or travelling round the country to people’s homes or various wedding venues.
Whats the best part of your job?
Meeting new people every day and making people feel good about themselves. I get a lot of job satisfaction from what I do.
The most difficult?
The business aspect of things! I’m definitely more of a creative person.
What are you most proud of career-wise?
Leaving my job at Inglot and setting up at 53 Main Street with three more beauty experts: Michele Burke Nails; Kim Ryan of Waxworx and Victoria Jackson Bowen Practitioner. I was so nervous to go out on my own, it has taken a lot of time and effort but it has been so rewarding and I have loved every minute.
What are some of the challenges you face as a MUA?
The hours can be long on really busy days or when you’re working on shoots so some days are tiring, however it’s all worth it in the end when you know a client is feeling great or delighted with your work.
What are your favourite type of clients?
Clients that aren’t afraid to tell me exactly what they want or need. I also love clients that push my creativity, it may be an interest in a new product or a new trend that they would like to try out or literally just giving me a colour to run with.
Which are the most difficult?
There are no difficult clients. In my eyes a client would only be difficult if she wasn’t happy. I have a number of questions that I’ll ask a client so I can determine exactly what she wants. Once I have a clear vision of what she’s used to or comfortable with, I can create a look for her that she likes.
What challenges have you faced on your career path?
I realised as a make-up artist that while I’m busy Thursday to Sunday, things can be quieter early in the week. I have recently qualified as a semi-permanent brow artist and this means I can work at that when the demand for make-up isn’t as high.
Any stand out career highlights?
I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside some TV celebrities in photo shoots with RTÉ and various newspapers and magazines. I was also asked to work with SoSueMe on a photoshoot for the launch of her SOSU nail collection. Since then I have worked with her loads of times and she has recognised me as one of her top five make-up artists in the country!
Can you recommend any good make-up courses?
There are so many courses out there at the moment so I can only speak from experience. I loved my course in senior college Dun Laoghaire and I know some amazing MUAs that have trained in LA Make Up Academy. It’s definitely working in the industry with influential artists that helps you learn and build on your skills.
Any advice for people hoping to pursue a career as an MUA?
Make sure you’re learning from a good source, and practise as often as you can. The more you work with different types of clients, the more experienced you become. I think starting off with counter work is really important. You’ll also learn a lot from your colleagues by watching them. Customer service is also just as important as being a good make up artist.
As an expert, what brands and products can you swear by?
I have always been a big fan of MAC. I mostly love their variety of products and range of colours. If I had to pick products I would go with their lipsticks and cream blushers, also the Prolong Wear concealer if you’re looking for something to really stay on! I’m also a massive Inglot fan, I love the eyeshadows and gel liners, they’re definitely the longest lasting I have ever found and Inglot is really affordable. The Armani fluid sheer collection is definitely a favourite of mine for bridal make-up and some of the Buff make-up Lipsticks are seriously long lasting.
Again, as an expert, can you give us five tips for flawless make-up?
1. Always have a good beauty regime, make-up always looks better on skin that is looked after.
2. Build your make-up gradually. By layering the products they’ll last longer and look better.
3. Blending is key to making your make up appear more natural and airbrushed looking.
4. Clean, good quality brushes are so important if you want flawless make up.
5. Product choice is also really important, Ask one of the girls at the counter to help match your skintone and colouring for products.
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