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Meet Dawn Coleman of Lady D Makeup in Mar Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Coleman.

Dawn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my journey as a makeup artist in 2008. I went to my first fashion show and the energy was crazy! I was talking to a few makeup artists, models, and photographers who lit up when they talked about how much they love what they do. The entire time I was thinking, “people really get paid to do this!” I was a behavioral interventionist for special needs children at the time and I come from a background that instilled education and working a consistent job, preferably with benefits and retirement. As much as I loved doing makeup as a hobby, I never imagined that could be a full-time makeup artist until that show.

I connected with those creatives I met at the show and started doing test shoots and took a few classes. My first job was in 2012, assisting on a music video for B.O.S.S entitled Major Love. The feeling I got during and after the shoot was so electric, I started to believe being a makeup artist was my calling. Next, I worked on my first short film, Jamaica T. Jones, in 2014 as the key artist and I knew without a doubt this was my calling. There’s something so special about being a part of a project and helping to tell a story.

Later in 2014, I Advance my skills and education by enrolling in Empire Academy of Makeup where I was properly trained by makeup artists Donna Mee and that was the best decision and investment I ever made. Donna really helped elevate my knowledge and my skills but I was still working with children full time because I found safety in my comfort zone, even though I was miserable in it.

I finally quit working for someone else within the month my youngest Aunt suddenly passed away. She wasn’t even 50 years old and it broke my heart that she passed away before she could live her passions. I realized how short life was and I didn’t want to waste another day not living mine. So I quit my cushy job at the school district and started working freelance at counters which lead to more film, TV, Runway, and Print work. The rest is history and I never looked back.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t say it’s been smooth Road, exactly. I think when starting and managing a business for the first time, there are always ups and downs. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster but I think it’s how you look at it. I choose to look at my situations with gratitude and a learning experience. Because of the struggles, I feel I am more confident and smarter going into certain situations. The main struggle has been believing in myself and not giving up. It’s not always easy when productions slow down or when clients decide to go for a cheaper artist but when I remind myself that being a makeup artist is my purpose and that everything works out exactly as it should, things are a little easier and I can keep pushing forward. I’m grateful to have supportive network of family friends and other artists to seek advice from, be my mentors and to vent to.

Lady D Makeup – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My journey has lead me down the film, TV and commercial path doing Beauty and special effects. That’s where most of my jobs come from. I also love creating beauty looks for print and editorial shoots, headshots, and special events. I love doing it all! I love creating Beauty and I love making my clients feel and look beautiful. I always strive to bring out their natural beauty.

What sets me apart is my passion and my Integrity. I listen to my client’s needs and concerns and I give them exactly what they want or I offer and explain to them alternatives to what they want to achieve. I love the creative process and I like to collaborate with the team in creating something special. When I’m on set, I treat my actors and models like my best friends. I always keep their best interest in mind and I tend to get protective of them. I want them to shine! Actors and models have a job to do and my job is to make sure they’re confident and ready to perform and not worrying about how they look. I Like my clients to feel they are the most important person in the world when I’m with them.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success by how my clients feel about the work I’ve done for them. The best feeling in the world is when my clients admire themselves in the mirror after I finish a makeup, whether its beauty look or a transformation/special effects look for film. When they start taking selfies of themselves, I know I did my job. When a client or producer refers me and/or rehires me, I know I am doing something right. Referrals and repeated clients are the bulk of my business and I am so grateful for them.

Of course, my own validation is important, which is why I always continue my education and learning. There is always something new to learn in this industry and I like to stay up to date on trends and new techniques. Success for me, is growth and adaptation. Everything else will come into place.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Saryn Christina Photography, Lowell Taylor Photography

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