Almost every client that sits in my chair asks me the inevitable question, “So when did you start doing makeup?” Of course I’ve always had the option of answering with a simple, “I’ve been doing this for 9 years” but it’s not that simple. My mind warps back to a singular moment and that’s the story I proceed to tell the new face in my seat.
My older sister, Anna, started freelancing as a makeup artist after family and friends kept approaching her to do their makeup. Her makeup was stunning but her business was lacking a crucial element. She had no photos of her work. Meaning, once she went home, she had nothing left to prove of all the talent she just put forth. Although that seems odd today, you have to remember this was well before the time of Facebook and Instagram, and the newest trend in taking pictures was a disposable camera at most. So, I convinced her to let me tag along and take photos at the end of each bridal appointment. I would proceed to print them at the local Walgreens and literally added them to a physical portfolio.
Well, one day, Anna and I got to the Marriot Hotel where she would be glamming up a bride. Per the usual, a separate hairstylist was on site to style the bride’s hair. Unfortunately, her work was nothing short of an eyesore. This poor bride had these awful, over-sprayed, tight curls that were textured and pulled back into a bun of sorts. When the stylist left, the Mrs.-to-be started balling her eyes out! Anna and I tried to calm her down but the devastation of an awful hair-day on her biggest day was mortifying. I remember her exact words were, “I look like Medusa”. That’s really what she looked like… a head of snakes. We felt terrible and now her makeup was running off like oil on a wet road. I didn’t know what to do but offer my help. I told Anna, “I think I can fix it” and she proceeded to say, “What do you mean you think?”. Being 11 years younger than my sister, it didn’t seem like the best idea to entrust me with the job. But she knew I worked hard at anything I did and if I said I could do it, I would deliver. I ran down to the convenience store at the hotel and bought a $15 Conair curling iron, some bobby pins, hair spray, and a comb. I ran back to the suite and worked what I guess was the start of my magic. To mine and Anna’s surprise, I turned the Medusa-do into a Cinderella story. And it’s not to say I was some kind of magician, but rather it was my compassion for this sweet bride that had put my hands to work. I will never forget her face when she looked in the mirror with complete relief and gratitude for what I had done. When we left, Anna looked at me like the big sis she was and said, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU COULD DO THAT?!”. Truth is, I had no idea.
From that day on, we decided to tag team together and work as Lipstick Squad. We spent wedding seasons after wedding season traveling to brides in and outside of Chicago. We weren’t limited to brides though; we had the chance to work on all sorts of photo-shoots and fashion shows. We even worked with the Chicago Luvabulls for five years (which was one of my personal favorites given I’m a HUGE Bulls fan).
But what is my answer the even better question, “Why do you do makeup?”. And to answer that, I could go on for hours… but I'll save that for our next appointment ;) But for now I can tell you, it is the perfect outlet for a sense of creativity I have had for as long as I can remember. Even more, it’s the perfect balance to my alter ego, Amana the Science geek. But above all, I love doing hair and makeup because I get to make people feel beautiful. And I don’t mean to sound like some angel here… it’s totally selfish of me! I love that moment when a bride sees herself in the mirror for the first time and tells me she has never felt more beautiful. I get to be a small part of someone’s big day. I get to throw myself into this unique relationship where the bride opens up to me with all of her fun secrets, nervous moments and old stories. Where she entrusts me with one of the most important details of life. I am the one who helps decide if she should wear the diamond earrings or the pearl ones. In those four hours, I am her number one confidant and it is not because I ask to be, but because they want me to be. I’m a small part of why the groom’s heart skips a beat when he sees her for the first time. And why a mother tears up when she seems her little girl look like a bride. When someone looks back at their wedding day, they get to remember those 4 hours before everything goes fuzzy and recalls Amana B., “The girl who did my hair and makeup”. I get to be a small snippet in these peoples film. And that to me is more gratifying than anything else I get to do creatively.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648