Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Oprita.
Sydney, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was exposed to stage makeup at the young age of seven. I essentially grew up on stage–where I danced competitively from the time I was seven until I was 18 years old–it was my entire universe. Attention to detail is everything in dance which is why we supplemented our routines with the allure of makeup. So, throughout the countless routines, I was a part of each year, this allowed me to get pretty darn good at applying many different performance makeups. We put on elaborate productions that incorporated multiple characters and an array of costumes. One year I even played BeetleJuice, which was the first time I had an opportunity to recreate an iconic film makeup. This sparked something within me and led to me doing my friend’s makeup for performances, as well as their homecoming/proms. I really started to entertain the idea of a career in the makeup world, but I didn’t know how to achieve it. When I was really young, I used to think that when I graduated from high school, I’d go straight to New York City and perform on Broadway. But, as I grew older, that dream faded and my makeup dream began to surface. I’ve always had extremely supportive parents–I’m lucky–but they are also practical and weren’t going to let me wander the streets of NYC with no actual plan in my adolescent mind. Collectively we agreed that I should first get my degree to offer alternative perspectives while allowing my makeup dreams to manifest. I was accepted to Michigan State University (MSU) but struggled to pick what my path would be at MSU because none of them truly aligned with doing makeup professionally. But, at this point in my life, I didn’t know if this was still just a dream of mine or if it was really something tangible. I chose to major in Advertising. My line of thought was, “If I do choose to pursue the path of a professional artist, I’m always going to have to market myself and become my own brand, so I might as well learn about it.”
During my undergraduate years at Michigan State University when I wasn’t in class, I doubled as a freelance makeup artist. I did everything, from 21st birthdays, to special events and even date nights for students. I also worked on the creative beauty team for a magazine called VIM, the school’s student-run fashion publication. As my senior year was coming to a close, I had to make the decision to act on my dream or to play it safe and start applying to advertising agencies. If I’m being honest, the latter was never really an option; I could never picture myself confined to an office. So naturally, I started to research makeup schools. Through countless hours and multiple days of searching, I decided to apply to Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles, CA, “Hollywood’s Top Professional Makeup School”. Which coincidentally at the time was being run by famous Makeup Artist Ve Neil, who was the original makeup artist for Michael Keaton’s BeetleJuice–quite the full circle moment for me. And just like that three months later, I packed up my whole life with my partner by my side, and we drove 2300 miles from MI to CA to follow our dreams. I went through Cinema’s Complete Track makeup program which allowed me to take every class they offered. These classes included beauty makeup, airbrush, photographic hairstyling, digital FX, Zbrush, character makeup, prosthetic makeup, special effects makeup, advanced lab techniques, advanced beauty theory, creature maquette sculpture, and sketch & paint techniques.
It was a dream that I turned into a reality and this year marks four years of being in LA and three years pursuing my career as a professional makeup artist. Since graduating, I have worked on commercials, short films, photoshoots, music videos, live performances, weddings, in sfx makeup shops and on a feature film. I’m so grateful for the path I decided to take and know that this is only the start of my career. It’s not always easy to pursue and definitely comes with detours, but I do believe it’s the one worth navigating. Cheers to chasing the dream, no matter what the journey entails.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Hahaaa, does the term smooth even exist in the world of a creative? But in all seriousness, my experience has been up and down, like anything in life. Even just our journey to actually get here was a bit of a struggle. I love to tell the story of when we were driving to LA with all of our things but no place to actually live. We spent the majority of the drive calling different places to set up showings. To make a long story short, we did not find a place by the time we arrived and had to stay in one of the cheapest options available, which turned out to be donut-themed airbnb, yes like the morning treat. I’m talking donut pillows, posters and of course bubblegum icing colored walls for a week and a half before finding a place. But those are honestly the times that make it all worth it. Looking back on that story now makes me feel so grateful for how far we’ve come from that day.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I chose to attend Cinema because each class gave me a taste of different parts within the makeup industry. Some people choose to become specifically sfx or beauty makeup artist, but I truly enjoy both. I love the idea that one week on set I can be doing full on disco glam looks and the following week be creating a devil like creature in an abandoned barn. It keeps things exciting and creative opportunities flowing. I also get really inspired when reading scripts or looking over a mood board knowing I’m going to be a part of making that character or vision come to life. That’s why being out here in the film/entertainment industry is so exhilarating as an artist, I’m surrounded by loads of creativity that in turn gives me inspiration for my own craft. With that being said I offer beauty, editorial, avant-garde, character, sfx makeup and male grooming for the greater Los Angeles area and I’m willing to travel for work as well. I take pride in not only the artistry aspect of my job but also genuinely making sure people have a wonderful experience in my chair. It’s a running joke that hair and makeup artists also act as therapists, but I truly enjoy this aspect of my job. I love getting to know people and being able to create a safe space for people to have a moment to relax in the hustle and bustle on set or just in their daily lives as well. It always makes me happy knowing someone leaves my chair loving what I’ve created on their face, but also the time that was spent in the chair. It’s the sappy truth, but kindness is key, spread it always.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Hmmm, I would say most people who know me within the beauty/entertainment industry probably don’t know that when I’m not doing makeup, I’m designing jewelry. During the pandemic, when my makeup work slowed down, I started playing around with wire and crystals, which has now turned into my small business titled Cecelia Solstice. It’s a passion I didn’t expect to find and I’m so grateful for it. You can follow my jewelry work on Instagram @cecelia.solstice.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @sydneyopritamua is my makeup account. My jewelry account is @cecelia.solstice
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