How to Become a Successful Makeup Artist: Interview with Jennifer Burks

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Jennifer Adriene Burks is a Makeup Artist by day and music journalist by night. On her blog Music, Makeup and More she likes to write about her passion for music and beauty.

Jennifer recently completed some Beauty and Fashion courses with Trendimi (Makeup Artist, Personal Image and Beauty Expert, Fashion Store Assistant & Personal Shopper) and we asked her a few questions about her career as a Makeup Artist.

In the interview she talks about how she started her career and gives some great recommendations to anyone who wants to break into the beauty industry.
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Trendimi: Tell us how you started your makeup career and what you are currently doing.
Jennifer: I became a Makeup Artist four years ago by starting my own freelance company. I started out as a commercial, promotional and hair Model. I saw there was a need and demand for Makeup Artists in the market. I have always had a passion for art and saw the face as a canvas waiting to be enhanced. I met many photographers, models and agents through my work as a Model which helped me find gigs.
My early Makeup Artistry work included fashion shoots, runway shows and model agency collaborations. I worked with both female and male models and became known for my attention to detail. I taught workshops for agency-represented models to learn how to create presentable looks for their go-sees and auditions.

After a year, I moved into consumer work with Sephora and Estée Lauder and did head-to-toe personal beauty consultations for clients to revamp their images and learn new artistry skills. I also taught weekly seminars for clients. Now, in addition to makeup consultations, I blog about beauty, fashion and entertainment.

Trendimi: What excites you the most about working in the beauty industry?

Jennifer: What excites me most about working in the beauty industry is taking trends and making them relatable and wearable for my clients. Using inspiration from high fashion and editorials to create makeup looks enhancing a woman or man’s natural features and encouraging them to experiment.

I have learned so much from taking the Makeup Artist, Personal Image and Beauty Expert, Fashion Store Assistant & Personal Shopper courses. The beauty industry is always changing so it is important to always challenge yourself to learn more about your field.

What I liked most about the Trendimi courses is that you use practical and visual examples. I received many comments from my family, friends and co-workers that my artistry skills had improved and I credit that to taking these courses.

Trendimi: What has been your biggest challenge in this industry?

Jennifer: My biggest challenge working in the industry has been wanting to always challenge myself to become better, to be innovative, but not having a supportive environment that has encouraged change or creativity.

An environment that wants to do things the same way every time because it is easy or convenient. To be truly creative you have to be willing to break the rules, try new things and challenge the status quo.

I think the best in the industry are the artists who are always open to learning more. Get feedback on your work and know that each day is an opportunity.

Trendimi: What advice would you give to someone trying to break in the beauty industry?

Jennifer: I recommend anyone interested in getting started in the beauty industry to learning as much as possible through courses, photoshoots and other artists.

Then decide whether you want a stable position with an established company, to become a freelancer or be a combination of both. On average a full-time Makeup Artist may earn between 30,000-53,000 per year plus bonus working for a boutique or at a counter. Freelance rates really vary per project and market. In the US, a Mak-up Artist’s freelance rates could be anywhere from $50/hr to $500/hr. I prefer doing a combination of both full-time work and freelance projects.

The biggest challenge a Makeup Artist will face is becoming skilled enough in negotiation to charge the rates you deserve. When you are starting out try to minimize taking unpaid projects. If you price your rates too low or have no rates at all you undermine the value of your work. Do research on your local market for the average salaries and rates and don’t sell yourself short.


We’d like to thank Jennifer for the time she took answering these question and sharing her own experience and advice with Trendimi readers and students. You can follow Jennifer on instagram and visit her blog Music, Makeup and More to check what she’s up to.

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