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Life & Work with Jessie Gaston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessie Gaston.

Hi Jessie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My mom used to be a Mary Kay Consultant so we had binders and binders of sample makeup in our garage. Whenever I had a sleepover, my friends and I would play with all the makeup and even though we had zero clue what we were doing, we had the best time! As I grew older, I would beg my little sister to let me do her makeup for her school dances and dance recitals. I think that’s when I started truly falling in love with makeup. The fact that she trusted me to do her makeup (even after I pinched her eyelid with an eyelash curler) and allowed me to help her get all dolled up brought me such joy and pride. It’s been a long time since then (I promise I know how to use an eyelash curler now) and it took me a minute to find my way back to my love of makeup. Fast forward a few years after high school; I was working at a law firm and not feeling completely fulfilled. I saw online an old friend of mine just completed her courses at MUD Makeup Academy and I immediately looked into classes and signed up. A fire was lit inside me and I had to take a leap of faith and pursue a passion I had put on the back burner.

Fast forward a few more years, I took another leap of faith in decided which route I wanted to go with my makeup career. When I was in school, I had thought I would want to pursue makeup for film. I had the opportunity to work on a few sets and although it was fun, I found myself being drawn to bridal makeup and editorial makeup. Right after Covid began, I created my makeup account on Instagram and turned my focus to those areas. Being able to help a bride feel her best for that special day gives me pride in what I do and it makes me feel so honored to help in a way. My belief when it comes to makeup (in particular bridal makeup) is not to hide a person’s face. It is just to highlight the beauty that is already there and help my client feel comfortable and be their most beautiful self. Since focusing my energy back on makeup, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people, push myself out of my comfort zone, and grown both personally and professionally. I am excited to see where my business continues to take me and can’t wait to work with more wonderful people along the way.

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?
It has not been a smooth road to get where I am. When I got out of high school, I was so unsure what to do in my life and which direction I wanted to go. I ended up working as a clerk at a law firm and although I excelled there and became a paralegal, I still felt something was missing. I have also struggled my whole life with anxiety and depression. When I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, I was going through a particularly rough bout of depression and I felt completely lost and alone. Since then, I have gone therapy which gave me the tools to understand myself more and how to handle my anxiety and depression. Throughout the years after going to school for makeup, I have had ups and downs in my personal life, many moments of self-doubt, and questioned if I was ever really good enough. Sometimes I wish I had been able to realize my passion a bit earlier in my life but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and I needed all those years of learning who I was as a person and understanding myself before jumping into my makeup careers. Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments of self-doubt and times where my anxiety and depression hit me. But, I have learned to allow myself some grace, celebrate the little wins, and keep pushing even when times get tough.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a makeup artist in Orange and La County. I specialize in bridal makeup and furthermore, in natural/soft glam bridal makeup. My thoughts on bridal makeup is that it should never cover the client’s face completely to the point that they don’t feel like themselves. I believe in just extenuating the beauty that is already there and I think that is what sets me apart from others and why clients continue to return to me. Some women have never had their makeup done until the big day which makes them a little nervous. But by assuring them I am just here to help them feel like their best selves and not cover them up, they trust that I have their best interest in heart. Although my focus is on bridal, I have participated in a few styled shoots that have been published. The styled shoot I am most proud of was a Day of the Dead-themed bridal shoot. Since my focus is on soft glam/ natural makeup, I don’t typically do a lot of over-the-top looks. The shoot coordinator requested that I do sugar skull makeup for the groom and bride. It was daunting but I did my research, put together a concept, practiced (quite a few times because I am a perfectionist) and executed the vision that day of the shoot. I am so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone for that shoot and trying something I had never done before.

What does success mean to you?
I think nowadays, a lot of people measure their success by how many Instagram followers they have or how many like they get on a post or reel. Although I do recognize social media is an important way to get business, I don’t necessarily agree with defining success by that. To me, success is when a client messages me to tell me how beautiful they felt when they took their engagement photos. Or when a client looks in the mirror on their big day and lights up with a smile because they feel gorgeous. Success to me is when I get a text saying “I saw your work and love it” or a text that says, “so and so referred me to you for makeup and I would love to schedule with you”. My success is defined by how I make my clients feel and the joy that it brings to me. My business is still growing and I have a lot more work to do but I do feel successful in all the little moments and I am proud of my wins no matter how small.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: jlgastonmakeup
  • Facebook: JLGaston Makeup

Image Credits
Emily Van Gorder (emilybphoto), Bree Gutierrez (breealimaryphotography), Megan Cushing (hellomjphotography), Trista Maja (tristamajaphotography), Renata (renatafrancescaphoto)

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