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Boss Girl Interview: NinaMarie Makeup

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Hey guys!

It's Lay.

For our last blog post for a while, we are having makeup artist Nina Marie take over and answer questions about what it's like working as a freelance makeup while having another job and being a full-time student.

I am not going to talk too much because this post is well detailed enough. Thank you so much to Nina for doing this and I hope you guys enjoy reading and get inspired even if you aren't into makeup because I know she definitely inspires me with her work ethic and crazy ambition.

One of the only pictures of me and Nina

If you want to reach out to her or see more of her work: Her Instagram is @ninamariemakeup and I'm also linking her website

1. What is your story on what made you want to become a makeup artist?

I think I was always into makeup, even when I look at old pictures of me from when I was 12, you can see the frosty white Lancome eyeshadow all the way up to my eyebrows. Whenever my mom went out to run errands, I used to go in her huge grey caboodle (when those were a thing) and look through all the sample makeup that she would get that she never used. I don’t know why I was so secretive about this but I was always so excited when she would leave the house because I knew I was going to spend some time looking through everything and carefully analyzing what they’re used for. As I grew older, I realized that a normal 9 to 5 office job would be my literal worst nightmare. It wasn’t until one day my aunt suggested “Why don’t you be a Makeup Artist?” When I realized that was a possibility and can be a career choice for me. I never thought of it before and I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do in life, I just knew it had to be something fun and creative. I started to play around and do my friends’ makeup for occasions, watched youtube videos (like OG Jaclyn Hill when she did beautiful natural makeup and explained how and why to do everything), and just went from there.

2.What was your favorite experience when you had to do a client’s make up?

It’s always fun working with friends and my team on photoshoots. The energy is light and fun and it’s so cool to work all together on something and then see it all come together in the end. It’s such a cool feeling to see the photos as we go and look at each other and say “Wow, we did that!” If you don’t already know, I work with a friend who is an extremely talented photographer, you can find him on Instagram @mayalouisphoto and his website.


3. Covid has been really impactful in people's lives. How has it impacted you and your business?

This summer, I missed out on prom season and lost an abundance of appointments that I had booked. I usually get the most business during prom season, not to mention that the makeup looks are more fun, adventurous, and glittery for prom--so you can imagine how bummed I was. I’m slowly booking more appointments now since some venues are opening and special occasions are starting up again. It’s still weird though because I have to wear a mask while working, that’s something I had to get used to. Now, I have to really sanitize ALL of my tools and products after every client even more than I already did.

4. What do you want people to know about your services as a makeup artist?

I give all of my clients a small goody bag after I do their makeup. This includes some makeup samples and a business card. I also give my clients the box to the lashes that I use on them so they can store their lashes and reuse them if desired. Lastly, I am very hygienic with my kit. All my tools are wiped down with Isopropyl alcohol and brushes are cleaned with microbial disinfectant between every client. I also use disposables for things, such as lip applicators.

5. What makes you different from other Makeup Artists?

What makes me different from other Makeup Artists is that my style is very different from what you see online now. I can do “Instagram” makeup, but that is not my preferred style to accomplish on an everyday client. My style is more natural and scaled back from the so-called “Instagram” look because I personally don’t think that overdone makeup looks flattering in person. I like to keep it, as Scott Barnes says: “Snatural”.

Nina's "natural"

6. What is a common misconception about makeup artists?

The most common misconception that I recently discovered is that people think it’s easy becoming a makeup artist. I am here to completely debunk this theory and tell you why it’s not true. First off, any type of freelance career in the art industry is extremely challenging, everything is about connections. You have to work twice as hard to put yourself out there, spread your name, and build a clientele. People also forget the fact that it takes money to make money. The first thing you need to do to even work on a client is to have a makeup kit. It is very expensive to start building a makeup kit that is compact, diversified, and portable. Not to mention, you also have to remember that you have to always replenish your kit and keep it new, clean, and updated.

Another misconception is that we are miracle workers. A Makeup Artist will try the best that they can and do everything they can to make you look and feel you're most beautiful. With that being said, there’s only so much we can do. I want to emphasize an issue that I often encounter, which is that you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT cover wrinkles. I can’t tell you how many times a client has sat in my chair and said they wanted to cover their wrinkles. That’s just not realistic. Once a wrinkle is formed on your skin, it’s there and can’t be covered with some concealer, it’s not just simply discoloration.

7. What advice do you have for people who wants to become a make artist?

My advice is to make connections. Making connections and building a clientele is probably, hands down, the single most important thing you need to do. I think it’s a good idea to make yourself some business cards and give them out to everyone you can. I used to give stacks of my cards to my dentist to put out in their waiting room. Every time someone in public compliments you on your makeup, give them a card because you never know who they know and where that connection can lead you. It’s also a very good idea to start a website because not everyone has socials where they can look you up, you will reach a larger audience of people if you have a portfolio of your work online, and put it on a business card. Not to mention, it’s more professional to have an online portfolio as well.

Another important aspect to include in your portfolio is professional photographs.

Now, back in the day, MUAs used to have to keep in touch and get huge prints from photographers and put them in a gigantic physical portfolio. Nowadays, digital photos from photographers can be sent via google drive and be uploaded onto your portfolio website. The best way to find local photographers for free creative shoots is to post on socials that you’re looking for TFP photographers and models. This means you are searching for “time for print” photoshoots which means you are agreeing to both works for free with each other on a creative shoot that you can both include in your portfolios. This is also an agreement that you will both promote each other’s names and work. Finding different photographers who are willing to work TFP shoots will bring you so many connections within itself.

Working on your portfolio is a whole other topic that you should do your own extensive research on. I will, however, share just a couple of tips about building a portfolio that I have learned in Makeup Academy. In order for your professional portfolio to be really outstanding and display the skills and techniques you are capable of, you should have different types of photographs included: a black and white photo, editorial makeup, clean makeup, avant-garde makeup, etc. Lastly, you should include no more than 10-15 photos in your portfolio, all differing from each other, and strategically placing your best images as the first AND last photo in chronological order - because some professionals skip to the last photo because they think you only put your best work first.

8. When did you decide you wanted to work freelance and why?

I decided I wanted to work freelance when I was taken advantage of at my salon position. I wasn’t paid enough for what I did and for the long, crazy hours I’d be there for. I distinctly remember I had to be at the salon at 6 am sharp on New Year's Eve and I was there till 5 pm - and I didn’t even make $100 that day. I knew that my full potential could never be released in that salon, so I quit. Once I quit that job, I realized that I can be more successful in booking my own clients and charging what I think is appropriate. Plus I’d have more freedom and be able to book appointments at venues or onset.

9. What is the best and worst thing about being a makeup artist?

The best thing about being a makeup artist is that there's a different routine every day. You get a fresh new canvas to work on with every client and get to use different techniques and colors for everyone. There are also so many connections in the field and you can end up doing makeup for weddings, magazines, music videos, creating your own beauty brand, and much much more. There are so many paths to travel down and so much to do in the industry, you never know what one connection can lead you to. The worst thing about being a makeup artist is probably how difficult it is to build your clientele and jumpstarting your career. As I mentioned before, it is very difficult creating a steady income when you first begin working freelance, but it’s rewarding in the end.

10. What is your favorite style of makeup to do and why do you prefer it over styles?

My favorite style of makeup can seem unconventional to others. I love to play up the eyes and keep the face natural. I love doing a nice smokey outer corner with winged eyeliner and experimenting with all different colors and tones. I even love doing different color eyeliners (on myself, I love purple winged eyeliner). I like when the eyes are smoky and sultry and really stand out, but the face is still natural and looks like your skin but better. I also love a bold lip with a natural eye look because it looks clean and classy but also done up and beautiful. I also feel like a bold lip can give so many people a confidence boost, which is the best part about makeup.

11.What steps do you take to improve your skills and/or business?

I always try to keep learning new materials and techniques. Learning never stops and the continuation of education is detrimental to improving your skills. Something I’ve learned from Danessa Myricks (MUA, photographer, and brand owner) is that the best way to find inspiration for new looks is to look at things that have absolutely nothing to do with makeup. For example, magazines, photography, paintings, etc, anything that allows you to see new textures and colors, which you can incorporate into your makeup looks. I always learn so much from watching Robert Welsh, MUA with 12 years of experience, on youtube. He’s really good at explaining the theory of makeup and color and always talking about techniques for different situations.

12. Who’s makeup do you dream of doing and why?

Okay, I really want to do Alayjah’s makeup!! I don’t know why, I just want to beat her face so badly, glitter and all. I feel like it would be so fun.

13. What was your favorite and least favorite beauty trend?

My favorite beauty trend is the glass skin, natural beauty with pops of color. There’s something about shiny, clear eye gloss with a neon liner and inner corner that really gets me.

My least favorite was definitely people pretending to contour with crazy things like forks and cucumbers. I also really despise when people literally paint on a thick foundation and pretend that they’re walking in public like that. Come on guys, your skin is perfect and you barely need foundation at all.

Also, baking. Nothing else has to be said about that. Don’t do it in real life.

14. If you can go back in time, would you change anything in your career?

I definitely wouldn’t go back in time because, and I hate to be cheesy, but I wouldn't have learned and worked as hard as I did if things were different. To put it into perspective: if I didn’t quit the salon, I wouldn’t be in the Fashion Institute of Technology right now, I wouldn’t know Alayjah, and I wouldn’t have done the makeup for that music video shoot last week with that amazing videographer that I met. (you can find Corvyx @corvyxofficial and @vyxenvisions if you want to check him out on youtube or Instagram).


15.What quotes motivate you to keep going after your goals?

“Boundaries are for chickens, boxes are for cereal, and labels are for clothes, be whoever the fook you wanna be.” ~YUNGBLUD

I think about this quote every single day. It really inspire me to just be myself no matter what anyone says. I think once you love yourself and you aren’t scared to express yourself (whether it’s how you wear your hair, makeup, clothes, etc.) it’s really freeing and allows you to accomplish anything you want to, and go after anything you want to, no matter what other people may think. Keep going, keep persevering.

16.When was the first time you did someone else makeup and how did it go?

I don’t remember exactly who the first person was that I did a full face on, but I do remember doing every one of my friends’ makeup for their sweet Sixteens which was really fun and exciting. I’ve also done all my friends’ makeup for all of their proms and graduations, etc. One of my friends says that her friends still talk about how her makeup was slayed for her Junior prom.

17.Before makeup, what were your other interests?

Before makeup, I used to be really into nail art and I always had cool designs on my nails. I was also always into nature photography and painting. I think I just like to make things with my hands. Fun fact, I was in a dental assisting career program in high school (don’t ask) but my favorite days were when we actually made things. I made bleaching trays, custom trays, retainers, mouth guards, etc. I just like to make things, I wonder if I should get into sculpting, I mean I did sculpt a tooth from a bar of soap.

18. What are habits that a makeup artist should have?

Hygiene. Hygiene. Hygiene. You need to make sure everything in your kit is always sanitized and in top condition. I think it helps that I’m a little bit of a germaphobe, but I always spray alcohol on all my tools after every use. I clean my brushes in between every client, and deep clean (shampoo) them after every workday. You don’t want to be spreading germs around to your clients, this is extremely important because you are working on people’s eyes, lips, around their nose, and just their face in general.

19. How did taking courses impact your skills and views of doing makeup?

I learned so many technical details in the makeup academy. I learned proper hygiene of my kit, how to build a portfolio, create bridal contracts, draw up face charts, make a makeup resume, what to say in a makeup-related interview, how to land a job in the fashion-runway industry and what’s really required of you, and much much more. There is a lot that goes into branding yourself and getting your name out there, so it was really helpful to learn all the skills that you don’t learn just from watching MUAs online.

20.You are also a college student as you work freelance. How does college affect your career being freelance?

Time management.

Quick story time: last week, I had to do makeup for a music video shoot and I was on set all day. I had a class at night and the shoot was running a little late, so I had to leave early (I said I had another client to attend to) and I rushed home. I walked in my door exactly as class was starting so I rushed to the bathroom to wash my hands, of course, and I signed into class literally in the bare nick of time.

Thank you, Alayjah, for allowing me to share some of what I do with your viewers. It was an absolute pleasure sharing my experiences thus far with you all. I hope you enjoyed it! If anyone ever has any more questions, feel free to contact me! ;)


So that's all for today. I am going to miss posting but I'll at least have 1 post in November I'm working on things. I am going to try to be active on my social media, especially Instagram and youtube so please check those out. Stay healthy and safe and just know I'm wishing the best for everyone.

Until next time,

xoxo Lay 💋

My last blog post was: 19 lessons I learned in 19 years

I have a new youtube video up from my birthday as well.

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