Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandra French.
Alexandra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Thanks for having me! So a little about me: I am makeup artist based out of LA. I was born in Texas, and then raised in Munich, Germany. My family moved us back to the States when I was in middle school. I was fortunate to spend my senior year of high school in Campo Grande, Brazil as an ambassador of the Rotary Club. As part of that program, I attended the local art university — studying printmaking, calligraphy, and color theory. All which helped build a strong foundation for my future career as a makeup artist in LA!
After high school I applied to art colleges, worked to save up money, and then took off a gap year in Europe to visit with friends/family, explore, and adventure. During that time I met a lot of creatives participating in the same WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteer program. At the end of my trip I joined a high school friend, Michelle Patterson, to hike the Camino de Santiago together. This was a 6 week hiking adventure by foot across Spain and a digital detox. We completed the trail and then the good news came: Michelle had been awarded a film scholarship to USC. We both flew home, packed up our belongings, and moved to LA.
Next thing I knew, I was a 20 year old artist living in Koreatown with no money and very little plans. I hadn’t previously applied to colleges in California. Instead I worked at Coffee Bean and Edible Arrangements. In my free time I helped Michelle with her film school projects. I was hooked!
Working at Coffee Bean, I got to know the students and instructors who were a part of the Cinema Makeup School above the iconic Wiltern Theater. As a painter, I was super inspired by what they were contributing to the film industry. I enrolled in the fall of 2012.
I kicked off my makeup career working with my friends from USC — doing small indie films with James Franco, other student shorts, and low budget music videos. Those same friends graduated and became amazing producers, writers, directors, photographers. I still work with them today and it has been so amazing to see everyone grow into talented, successful artists.
I was working exclusively in film until I met this amazing singer, Cyn, through a mutual friend. Working more in beauty, it opened a whole new creative world for me and I knew I’d found my home.
With film and character building being my background, I started bringing character work into my beauty world. I stayed busy with beauty, until my friend Michelle Miller called me to work on PEN15 with her. I watched the proof of concept and immediately said YES!! We had so much fun on set and I will forever be grateful for that phone call. As a result, I joined the union, Local 706, after six years in the industry. And I’m super proud and excited that PEN15 will begin filming the second season this Fall. Stay tuned 🙂
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?
Nothing is ever easy. I’m from North Carolina with no LA film or industry connections, so had to build my career from the ground up — focused on quality & creativity. My mom always stressed how important having a job was, so I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. Thanks Mom!
When I started my makeup career, I also kept my job with a local company that made beauty products. They were incredibly kind and allowed for me to have a flexible schedule to accommodate my makeup jobs.
Most people tell me to choose one world: beauty or film. I currently work in both and plan on keeping it that way. I have so much to learn still and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
For those looking to break into the industry, my advice is be tough, be strong, and work hard. The hours are long, but the people you work with on set are amazing. The end product is always a delight. You just have to keep your head up and keep going.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Trends are always changing. At the moment, I love using and working with color. There’s unlimited possibilities working on mood boards and channeling inspiration. Meeting new people and feeling out their vibe is one of my favorite parts of the job. For beauty, I aim to bring out their personality through the makeup.
I am always learning new techniques, experimenting and pushing my creative boundaries. As a makeup artist, I love, love, love assisting other talented artists and learning from them. We all handle the demands of the industry differently. And I admire those who feel empowered to use their voice and take our creations to the next level.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My two favorite days: working on PEN15 and then subsequently joining the Local 706 union. What an awesome group of passionate, driven people. I am so inspired by them all.
- Website: WWW.ALEXANDRAFRENCH.WORK
- Instagram: @ALEXANDRAAFRENCH
PICTURE 1 : PHOTOGRAPHER ARIEL FISHER
PICTURE 2 : PHOTOGRAPHER ARIEL FISHER
PICTURE 3 : PHOTOGRAPHER ELIZABETH MIRANDA
PICTURE 4 : PHOTOGRAPHER LUCY SANDLER
PICTURE 5 : PHOTOGRAPHER ALEXANDRA FRENCH
PICTURE 6 : PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLOTTE RUTHERFORD
PICTURE 7 : PHOTOGRAPHER ALEXANDRA FRENCH
PICTURE 8 : PHOTOGRAPHER ALEXANDRA FRENCH