Glam time is a superpower

Local makeup artists share behind-the-scenes experiences

Makeup artist Shelby Davidson co-created signature makeup looks for musician Rayannah. (Supplied photo - Travis Ross)

Applying foundation and blending eyeshadow with precision isn’t as easy as it seems. Makeup artistry’s value is often overlooked, but according to Winnipeg freelancers, this trade is worthy of recognition and respect.

Shelby Davidson, a youth mental-health coordinator at the Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba and Winnipeg, has been a freelance makeup artist for years. Whether preparing a bride for their big day or crafting a look for a local musician, she says the secret to being a makeup professional is focusing on the details.

“It is really important to read in between the lines and hear what (clients) are saying on a deeper level than the words they are expressing themselves. Paying attention to the choice of words that they are using or their previous relationship with makeup is all useful information when approaching it,” she says.

Davidson has worked with many local artists for photoshoots, music videos and live performances. An experience that stood out to her was her first time collaborating with Franco-Manitoban musician Rayannah.

“The first look I ever did on her was an orange eyelid, and eventually she started doing that look on her own on tour or whenever I wasn’t around to be hired for the makeup. She even made an Instagram filter with the orange eye look, so it’s cool that the work I did with her transcends that one experience,” Davidson says.

Rachel Lynne Jones is a makeup artist who is also pursuing a different full-time career path. Currently, Jones is a Creative Communications student at Red River College whose makeup looks landed in Elle Canada and Into the Gloss. What started as a fun activity to do with friends led to even greater accomplishments with the guidance of hair stylist Kitty Bernes.

“Almost on every single shoot, she and I will have a moment when we look at each other on set, and there’s no discussion to be had, just this beautiful collaboration where you understand each other’s artistry so much and how to work with one another in super tight locations,” Jones says.

Although makeup can captivate people’s attention, the art of creating makeup looks is still undermined as a solid career option. However, the perks of prior experience with this craft equipped Jones with “magical superpowers” to pursue her chosen field.

“Makeup artistry is so much more than buying something at Sephora and smacking it into someone’s face. You have to be gentle with your client. You have to work with so many people on set. Before studying media production and photography in college, I went in with knowledge about composition and how lighting affects the face. It’s such an intense art form that complements many different things,” she says.

Both Davidson and Jones advise all freelance makeup artists to get started with a ring light, a makeup kit and, most importantly, a positive attitude.

“If you are enthusiastic and love what you are doing, you might get hired based on your attitude alone,” Jones says.

Follow @shelbydavidsonartistry and @rachellynnejonesaesthetic on Instagram to keep up with their creations.

Published in Volume 76, Number 19 of The Uniter (March 2, 2022)

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