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Life & Work with Amber Burgin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Burgin.

Hi Amber, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Although I was not born in LA, this is where I was raised and the only place that I call home. Creativity runs in my blood. My mother has always been my biggest creative inspiration from makeup to clothing to aesthetics. We didn’t have much growing up, a two-bedroom apartment with seven people was rough to say the least. However our hardships never broke us nor did they define us, but rather fueled all of us to do more and to always stand out. My mom instilled a strong work ethic and sense of pride in me, she was the epitome of hard work and get it by any means! As a child she would dress all of my siblings in matching outfits, including bow ties and handkerchiefs for my brother, that she would make after working 12 hours shifts, and still always found  the time to look effortlessly stunning. This concept of always stepping out looking great and put together was ingrained  in me at a very young age. I remember vividly loving how she would do her makeup with just a few staples, the lipstick served as blush, eyeshadow and rouge and she would experiment with color that always looked beautiful and radiant on her brown skin.

Since childhood I have been passionate about the beauty world and in hindsight, I should’ve gone straight to Cosmetology school however my path was different but ultimately still led me to my true love. I don’t regret any of the steps because it shaped me into the professional I am now. Now let’s talk about this path for a second. Undergrad at UCLA, Non-Profit Program Director for seven years, Physical Education Teacher, Basketball/Volleyball Coach, Retail Management/HR for 8 years then back to school to get my Estheticians license during the Pandemic and currently a Self Employed, self taught, Makeup Artist and Esthetician. This is why I get emotional and I am so proud of my story. It took years, trials and tribulations to get where I am, and every step and stumble has only made me stronger and more determined to stay the course and continue to follow my dreams. My last job I gave nearly 8 years only to be let go despite the countless hours, constant travel, strain on my body, mental exhaustion, dedication and loyalty not to mention the amount of money I made for the company. Being fired for no reason with nothing really to show for it  was my turning point. The experience was very traumatic and sent me through bouts of depression and self doubt,  but at that moment I vowed never to work for anyone again. It was honestly a blessing in disguise. God literally was kicking me out the door and forcing me to walk in my purpose, and I am proud to say  I have not looked back since!

Doing makeup brings me so much joy; as cliche as it may sound the best part is the reaction on my clients face, the joy I am able to bring them and the friendships that have blossomed from my work. I love meeting new people and I am a people pleaser by nature so this profession is very fulfilling. Being an esthetician and makeup artist go hand in hand. The results driven side of me is satisfied and the creative in me gets to run wild. The goal is always booked and busy but I never let a day pass by without thanking the man upstairs, Jehovah God, for allowing me to get up everyday and do what I love. And those who know me know how important my family is, particularly my 100 year old granny and this job affords me the flexibility I need to care for her and spend priceless quality time with my girl. I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey, I am professional, talented, intelligent, seasoned and still very eager. With only 4 official years under my belt I can honestly say I am proud of my accomplishments. I have been published several times including  Vogue, French Fries, Fantastic Man, NY Times and Totem, I did work on the short film Starkeisha which  aired on HULU, Los Angeles Fashion Week with NoSesso and several other brand campaigns including Adidas, Waraire Boswell, Kiki De Montparnasse,  music videos for Theo Croker and King Sis and most recently I had the opportunity to work with Kelvin Harrison Jr. for Vanity Fair and The Met Gala.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Los Angeles is 100% the city of dreams, bright lights and glamour and being a Makeup Artist in this city definitely has its perks, but it is not easy. Saturation in the industry is a word commonly tossed around as an excuse for not getting far and whilst this city is full of MUA’s and HMUA’s there really is enough work for us all, but the grind is non-stop. I have weeks that are amazing and other weeks that are slow but that is the nature of entrepreneurship. I try not to compare my journey and/or success to my peers because that can cause doubt and angst but with social media that can be hard, however I use it is a constant reminder that I can always be learning more, networking more and just doing more. Every day for me is an opportunity to get better and perfect my craft and on my slower days I have to remind myself to either take a break or practice but most importantly to not get down on myself because I really have come so far. Another challenge is consistency. I cannot wait until everything becomes more consistent in the meantime I have to continue to put in the work.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a self-taught Makeup Artist. I have sharpened my skills by constant practice and watching countless videos on Youtube, Instagram and other social media platforms. I also take as many online courses as I can, in particular I love watching and learning from the Danessa Myricks University. This field is always evolving, and new methods and techniques are filtered out on a regular basis, so it never gets boring or stale. As I mentioned before I did obtain my Estheticians license recently after attending Culver School of Beauty. I have a private suite at Salon Republic where I practice esthetics and see makeup clients when I am not traveling or on set. Great skin is the canvas for flawless makeup so getting into esthetics was a naturally easy transition. It is very rewarding as well and with the state of the economy and inflation having another profitable skill set is absolutely necessary. My Esthetician page on Instagram is @Elaborate_Skin and your are able to book directly from the page or contact me via email or DM.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
My focus is on building my brand, Elaborate Faces, expanding my clientele and finding consistency. In the next five to ten years I would like to see the following things happen in my career: Makeup Artist on at least 2 movies, Head MUA on at least one, makeup team on at least two television series, several more music videos and magazine spreads, definitely the Savage Fenty Fashion Show and as far as Esthetics, keep my studio up and running, and start a simple line of products that I consider staples to facial care. I also want to be comfortable enough financially that I can continue to offer affordable simple facials so everyone can receive them; self care/skincare is for everyone.

I consider myself well rounded and as of now I am currently available for Editorial, Glam, Film and Television, Male Grooming, Weddings and all other Special Events and taking clients for all things Esthetics, so book that facial too! I refuse to limit myself in this industry. Doors are everywhere to be opened, maybe even kicked in! Every day I am blessed to be doing what I love so I don’t consider it work; it’s hard work but it is my absolute passion and mission and that makes it fun and worth it. I’ve come too far not to see my dreams all the way through.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Luiza Comsa Alex Free Clifford Prince King

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