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Tutor Focus - Christiana Howell


Our Media Makeup tutor, Christiana, gives us her top tips and insights for aspiring make-up artists including how to get noticed, where the employment is and useful secondary skills to advance your career choices.


Back when there were very few make-up courses available Christiana traveled from Devon to complete here Higher National Diploma in Media Makeup at the University of Plymouth (Somerset college of art). Once Christiana completed her study she took a low paid job as an assistant to build up her experience. From this role she learned not just practical skills but also gained insights into the industry such as industry-specific terminology, the industries demands and expectations and the reality of being on set. Christiana says that her time as an assistant gave her the experience and contacts to be able to start working as a freelance make-up artist now recognised and recommended for work in the industry.


Some of the brands Christiana worked for during her time as a freelance make-up artist include; Microsoft, Samsung, Canada TV, Avena, Quakers.


Top tips for building your portfolio and making contacts:

  • Do voluntary or low paid work or internships to gain experience. This will give you an understanding of what it is really like on set, learn the industry standards and build your portfolio.
  • Network! Meet as many industry people as possible. Film and photography students are great contacts, working together with film and photography students will allow you to practice techniques and styles for these formats and provide you with photographs and films for your portfolio.
  • Attend make-up trade shows, there is a wealth of knowledge to be tapped into at these events. From exposing you to all the possibilities of the industry to attending talks from professionals as well as keeping up-to-date with the industry trends and know how.
  • Practice as much as possible on different face types - try new techniques and experiment.
  • Keep visual references of your own work and the work of others including different techniques and styles, you can also keep a Pinterest account for this.


Top areas of employment:

  • E-commerce is a huge area of employment at the moment and this area will continue to grow as companies advertise on websites and social media which are constantly updated - these are generally full-time salary roles.
  • The theatre is a big employer in London.
  • Photography
  • Television is a good employer of make-up artists however if you   are looking to get into television although television is highly competitive and will often only take you on if you have both a makeup and hair and barbering qualifications
  • Madam Tussauds is also an employment option as a stepping stone job into the industry.

Top secondary skills to help make it in the industry:

  • Hair and barbering qualifications are often required as a secondary skill for jobs that require both functions to be performed, usually, television jobs would like you to have these skills before taking you on.
  • Good discipline and a general knowledge of good planning and budgeting. These skills are essential for freelance make-up artists who will need to manage their own time and budgets to succeed.
  • Social skills are also a huge benefit as a make-up artist you will be required to effectively communicate with your clients who are often insecure or opinionated which requires some patience, diplomacy, and empathy. You will also need to take direction from several people whilst on set, often with conflicting opinions, so this will require careful communication to keep everyone informed and happy.
  • Social media and e-marketing knowledge and skills are also a plus to market your business or work in a cost-effective way.

How WAES courses can help make it in the industry:

  • By providing tutors with strong industry backgrounds, many of them award winners and having worked across many areas of the industry and qualified to give realistic advice and guidance depending on the learners' direction, abilities and restrictions such as family and work commitments.
  • The learning environment and equipment are exceptional and really good to work with.
  • The tutors don’t just tick the boxes of the curriculum to meet the criteria but really teach the student all the aspects of the course that will be required for entering the workforce. 

For all WAES 2018 Make-up courses click here.



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