Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Mitchell.
Hi Jennifer, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started my journey as a freelance makeup and hairstylist here in Los Angeles back in 2017. Upon graduating with my B.A. in Communications at Cal State Fullerton, I wanted to break into the beauty industry in some way, shape or form. Upon doing my research into the people and companies I was interested in on LinkedIn, I noticed a common thread. Many of these people had a background as a freelance makeup artists and were now working as Project Managers, Social Media Coordinators, etc.
That got me thinking that maybe the best path to achieving that kind of success might come from a solid foundation in understanding the products these companies were creating and marketing on a firsthand basis. Being a recent college grad, I figured not only would going to makeup school provide me with a semi-steady gig while I was still looking for work, but that it also would open up more doors for me than just simply having my bachelor’s degree.
In the winter of 2017, I enrolled in Makeup Designory, Burbank, and it honestly changed my life. Going to school there opened my eyes to the possibilities I never knew were out there. I learned about the various career paths one can take while being a freelance HMUA. Upon graduating in May of 2017, I began working on small student and independent films, fashion shows, collaborating with any and every photographer willing to work with me. I hustled to find gigs through our student portal and on craigslist.
To this day, the hustle of this industry is real! So much of it is making connections, sending cold-call emails to production companies, finding agencies willing to put you on assistant lists, and so so much more.
Over the span of the last five years I have been incredibly humbled and grateful to say I’ve worked with a multitude of large brands, worked on big campaigns, and connected with some incredible talent from the photographers, models, wardrobe stylists, prop stylists, and behind the scenes people.
One thing I really appreciate about being in this industry is that you meet people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses. I think it’s really important to understand how hard every single person around you on set is working every single day. No job on set is too small or too big for me, and honestly, I’m always just grateful to be there and working.
After being in the field of fashion e-commerce for the better part of four years (both full-time and as a freelancer), I am now back to being a full-time freelance artist, and I recently signed with the lovely Brandy Flint of the Taylor Christian Agency. Working with Brandy has been amazing thus far and I’m so excited to see where things will go from here!
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?
The biggest challenge I would say is honestly the financial aspect of working as a freelance hmua. As the old saying goes, “it takes money to make money”. Starting out in this industry, you often don’t get paid as much as you would like, and many times you’re doing a lot of free work or trade for print work. Having the capital to buy the essentials like brush cleaner, sponges, and especially all the fun, shiny new makeup is hard! I wish I would have known earlier to really fight for a kit fee on jobs that I didn’t get paid on or even negotiating a higher day rate from the get-go. Knowing your worth in this industry is crucial to your financial, mental and emotional wellbeing!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a freelance hair and makeup artist who specializes in the art of creating a real, beautiful and authentic version of the person sitting in my chair. In this industry, there are so many different makeup styles, and they all hold their own value and beauty, but I think from the jobs I’ve worked on, at the end of the day, people really want to see themselves through the work you do on them. Whether it’s a commercial client I am working for, or a bridal client, or for a photo shoot, I always aim to present a sophisticated, pretty and elegant makeup or hairstyle. I think this is where I shine the most!
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Yes! I gotta give some big shoutouts to my makeup mentors– DeShawn Hatcher on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DeShawnHatcher
Tania D. Russell through her blog, https://www.makeuptogo.com which offers incredible insight to up and coming HMU’s
For beauty inspiration, I love watching Hung Vanngo’s tutorials on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/hungvanngo
And because I am an obsessive beauty junkie who loves all things skin, hair and nails, I love listening to the Gloss Angeles Podcast where they consistently interview incredible Makeup Artists, Hairstylists, Estheticians, etc.!
They keep me up to date on the newest trends in the industry and are so fun to listen to!
- Website: https://www.jennifermitchellmakeup.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennifermitchellmakeup/
Erik Junke Megan O’Dell Kevin Ragsdale Ericka B. Photography Maxine Balchus