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Life and Work with Julie Hassett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Hassett.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I kind of fell into doing makeup! Growing up, I never really even used to wear it or knew how to apply it properly on myself, but I had been creating visual art since as long as I can remember, so that eventually lead me to this career path.

I had just moved back home (after living in NYC for years) to live with my family in Western Massachusetts where I grew up. I was planning on staying for 2 months but stayed for 2 years. During that time, I started really focusing on honing my painting skills for the first time since college. I found a random job on Craigslist that was super part time and consisted of me teaching art to kids as part of an after school program, but also during private parties. Face painting was part of those private parties as well, and I ended up taking to it relatively quickly since I already had experience with painting on a canvas.

After I learned more about the face painting business and had practiced for a couple of years, I moved to Los Angeles with money I had saved up from a job in sales I had taken on in the meantime. Once I got to LA, I started a face painting business called Let’s Gogh Paint! One day, a friend of mine had been body painted for a fashion show and he told me he had given my information to the producer. I had never body painted before, but I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity! I asked my sister if she would let me body paint her, so I could have something to show this producer if he ever called! This first body paint took 4 hours and I completely fell in love with the process! After that, I painted my roommates and friends of friends to build my portfolio!

Soon after, I booked my first job with a director I met at a wedding. It was a body painting job, but he also needed me to apply a prosthetic. I didn’t know how, but I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity, so I researched and figured out how to do it! After that job, I dabbled in makeup effects, but still concentrated on face and body painting. Eventually, I started booking short films and lots of digital media gigs. Most of these jobs were low budget and couldn’t afford to have both a body painter/SFX makeup artist in addition to a beauty makeup artist… so I was asked if I could apply beauty makeup as well.

I was terrified because although I had been practicing on myself, asking questions of other makeup artists and researching as much as I could, I didn’t feel I knew enough or had enough makeup in my kit to consistently take on film makeup jobs. Eventually, I moved on from just powdering people to actually applying makeup and soon felt confident enough to take on jobs that we’re just beauty makeup as well.

Since then, I’ve been Department head of Makeup and Hair on 2 seasons of a show (Zac & Mia), which was nominated for 6 Daytime Emmy’s and I have recently gotten into the Local 706 makeup union! I have been truly fortunate in all the help I have gotten from other makeup artists and fellow crew members, as well as friends that have referred me for jobs. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This has definitely not been the smoothest road. When I first started, I ran out of money within a couple of months of moving to Los Angeles before really booking anything. I was so broke that for a month, I stayed with my sister so I could eat food since I didn’t have enough to feed myself. Thank goodness, she lived here! I relied on the kindness of roommates and friends, who were forgiving when rent was a little late or I had to borrow from them until I got paid. Cash flow isn’t easy when you’re a freelancer, especially in the beginning when you haven’t made many contacts yet.

HOWEVER, something I learned throughout the periods where I’m making great money, as well as the periods where I’m struggling to pay bills, is that networking is constant and ALWAYS helpful. Personality will get you just as far as talent. People will refer you for jobs if you’re a pleasure to work with, even if you’re still learning, but if you’re SUPER talented and you’re a pain in the booty to work with, you won’t get far.

There are people who will want to help you and people who won’t, but no matter what, be that person who is willing to lift others up instead of tearing them down. I think it is particularly important for women to support women. There is plenty of room for all of us in this industry, and while sometimes, it may feel like we’re competing for jobs, keep in mind that when we help each other up, it benefits all of us.

Remember, we are all trying our best. Practice, ask questions, put your pride aside and learn from anyone who will help you. You just never know what a collaboration with other people will lead to, or what piece of advice from another makeup artist will really help you achieve in the future.

Please tell us about Let’s Gogh Paint!
I specialize in body painting, face painting, special effects makeup, henna and beauty makeup for film, television, fashion, commercials, etc. I am probably most known for my body paint since that’s what I really focused on for a while when I first moved here, though I love doing each facet of makeup art just as much as the others!

As a makeup artist, I am really proud of the fact that I’ve been able to dip my toes in so many creative waters. I find it really fun to be able to create in as many ways as possible, whether it’s painting pregnant bellies for Sara Blakley’s NY Times Best Seller, “The Belly Art Project,” creating monsters on set for digital series, designing and executing makeup for film and television or face painting at kids and adult parties. When I get to create avant-garde beauty looks, I’m happy. When I get to do makeup for headshots, I’m happy. When I get to be covered in fake blood and waterproof body paint for horror shorts, I’m happy! When I get to help a company advertise through body art, I’m happy!

I think what sets me apart from some others is that I show up, I do my best work every time, I can handle many different forms of makeup, I don’t let myself or others get taken advantage of, and I’m honest… and I love to have an amazing time with whomever I’m working with! I’m never done learning.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
I think women are well positioned for any opportunity that she creates for herself or is presented with. Yes, there are challenges. There always will be. Now more than ever, it feels important to support other women around us in their endeavors when we see them striving to make a change and/or follow their dreams.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Dark Tide Productions, Aaron Ruby, Rachael Thompson Photography, Bing Putney, Stephanie Lang Photography, Manny Llanura, Brooke Berry, Daniel Pham Photography, Julie Hassett

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