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Meet Alyssa Romano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Romano.

Alyssa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Born and raised just northeast of Detroit, my passion and love for makeup started at a very young age. I was constantly getting into my mother’s and grandmother’s makeup, and since I was about three years old, I’d completely destroy it. I was fascinated by it! So many colors, textures, and finishes I couldn’t resist smashing my small fingers into products and smearing them on my face.

Teenage me also couldn’t resist makeup either. Like a lot of girls, I’d have to sneak out of my house to wear my makeup how I’d actually like to. Don’t get me wrong, my mom allowed me to wear some makeup, but jet black cat eyeliner and darkly lined lips with a nudy pink center was too much in her mind. My mother didn’t rock much makeup, but my grandmother on the other hand had makeup and beauty products galore. I guess you can say my grandmother liked all the goop, dust, and glitter as much as I did. She openly admitted she was the influence of my makeup obsession.

At that point, I didn’t really think I was that great at makeup, but looking back I would have friends ask me to do their makeup. I remembered I was always so nervous, but those that let me do think makeup we’re happy with the job. I remember feeling really cool when one of my friends older sisters who worked in a salon suggested I doing makeup professionally. I didn’t have much money at that point in my life, but I guess I still did a killer look with drug-store makeup and those crappy sponge applicators.

Outside of makeup, I also took a great interest in art. I was lucky to have art classes all throughout my academics. Even without art in a classroom, I had plenty of arts and crafts to keep me busy at home. My art teacher in middle school seemed to take me under her wing. She helped me realize that I actually had an artistic eye for art. She gave me the privilege of designing our art show t-shirt. Apparently, she thought an oil crayon piece I had done was so snazzy that she had it shown at a local art gallery. After those small accomplishments, my father suggested I pursue a career in art, but at that time it wasn’t really on my agenda. I didn’t really have the desire to become a Picasso, and at that time I didn’t understand the artistic of makeup.

After high school, fast forward to 2010, I packed my car with what I could fit and my dog and headed west to start a new life. Didn’t have much of a plan. I always wanted to do makeup professionally but never took it serious enough. In 2011, I decided to go to college. Thanks to social media, I was inspired, although I believe it was also a calling, I started to get serious about doing makeup. During a break between semesters, I decided to take a certification course in makeup artistry. Once I was certified as a makeup artist, I started taking freelance jobs between bartending and attending college full-time. There was a period I had to step back from freelancing to finish school, but after I earned my business degree with a marketing emphasis from the California State University of Fullerton, I got right back into makeup professionally.

I would accept a makeup counter position at a department store in Newport Beach, and I worked that job for about a year. It was awesome to work with people who were just as enthusiastic about makeup like me, and I also enjoyed learning the ropes of cosmetic sales. What I enjoyed most about working at a cosmetic counter was the interaction I had with clients and teaching them about cosmetics, beauty products, and application. There’s something special about having the ability to help people look and feel better about themselves.

At this time, I also made it a priority to reach out to people that worked in any field that should need a makeup artist. Sure I could do makeup, but something that I think sets me apart from other makeup artists is the business degree I earned and the people skills I’ve acquired from working behind a bar. I could understand the importance of not only creating art but also the business aspect of being an artist and how important it is to create and maintain relationships with others working in the industry.

I’ve been very busy and having a lot of fun doing makeup for all sorts of freelance projects in Southern California. I still haven’t reached my peak in my makeup career (I’ll get there, dad), but I stay persistent and patient. Booking freelance gigs have come to a halt due to the stay at home order because of COVID-19, but that not stopping me from doing my own makeup! Luckily I can still practice and create on myself and share with the world via Instagram, but I am antsy so starting creating with other professionals again. Being stuck at home has actually allowed to tap deeper into my creative side and brainstorm about projects for the near future. I think once the stay at home order is lifted and salons and spas can resume business, I’ll start booking gigs and projects again. Although I can’t do what I love at the moment, the future looks bright.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Trying to start a career as a makeup artist hasn’t been a smooth road. I mentioned in my story that I had to step back from freelancing because I needed to finish school. That step back lasted two years! I was so burnt out with school, and all I wanted to do is start my business as a professional. I’m no quitter, so I took on a crapload of classes so I could just get it down and over with. It was a struggle but I’m so glad I finished school. It’ll help me in my professional career in any direction I desire to take it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
When people learn that I’m a makeup artist, their first question is usually is “What kind of makeup do you do?” My reply is simple, “I apply it all!” It’s important to be versatile, especially when just starting out. I’ve been doing makeup professionally now for over 6+ years, and I haven’t even reached my tipping point. Lots of patience and persistence. Lots of risk-taking. Makeup is constantly evolving and changing, and so should artistry. One should be comfortable, but never too comfortable when it comes to business.

I think what sets me apart from other makeup artists is the business degree I earned, and the people skills I’ve acquired from working behind a bar. I can understand the importance of not only creating art but also the business aspect of being an artist and how important it is to create and maintain relationships with others working in the industry.

What were you like growing up?
I was really into arts growing up. Painting, drawing, dancing, music, and acting. I loved it all.

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Image Credit:
Erik J Berry, Morgan Chase Gardiner, Clair O-Toole, Catalina Yue, Genevieve, Tiare Rush, Taylor, David Molina, Kim Souliere, Aylen Lombardi, Regina Knoll, Jay Coronado, Kathy

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