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Meet Liza Macawili Ramos

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liza Macawili Ramos.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Liza. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a kid, I loved fashion. I would tear out pictures from my sister’s Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines and tape them to my wall. My mom bought me a toy called fashion plate where you could interchange the plates to make different outfits. I loved playing Barbie and I had a Barbie doll head to practice different hairstyles on. I come from an art family so it was only natural to gravitate towards makeup artistry. But I had different passions and ultimately, I’m a dancer at heart so I chose to dance as a career. Usually, dancers do their own makeup and I got pretty good at doing mine, and dancers would line up before a show and ask me to do theirs. I went to beauty school when I was 19 but I was already starting to dance professionally so makeup was my side gig until I retired from dance. I have been working as a makeup artist since I retired from dance in 2001. What’s fun is life comes full circle often when dance friends become producers and directors and ask me to do makeup for their productions. Just last season I had the pleasure of doing makeup for the LA Rams Cheerleader tryouts when they came back to LA. I was on the last LA Rams Cheerleaders team in 1994 before they moved to St. Louis!

My career as a makeup artist has been a great ride. I’ve worked on over a hundred magazine covers for the automotive, fitness, glamour and beauty industries. I’ve traveled domestically and internationally as a makeup artist and worked on some amazing shows and lovely people. I believe I have been able to work consistently because of my work ethic. I show up early, I work hard and I work on my craft. I try to keep up on what’s new in product and trend. And I cultivate relationships with clients I want to work with. Some of my clients I have been with for my entire freelancing career.

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?
When I first started freelancing makeup, my career went pretty smoothly. I remember after two years I was jet setting around the world, one week in particular, I did an Agent Provocateur runway show, flew to New York to do a campaign for Wella/Regis and came home to do a magazine cover featuring Ice Cube. I thought I had made it! Oh, how naive I was. I thought it was always going to be like that. And for a little while it was. When the recession first hit in 2008 I didn’t think it would affect me, but by 2009 everyone was cutting corners and I was hurting. Clients were starting to cut rates and hire more inexperienced artists who charged less. But every time I wanted to throw in the towel and switch careers, the work would come back. Choosing a freelance makeup career is about perseverance. You have to learn how to enjoy the downtime because the work always comes back and you always end up dreaming about when you can take a vacation. Right now, my challenge is finding balance between working and taking care of my parents. They are my priority right now and I try to find ways to be stable in the freelance world so I have enough time to take care of them and not let my career go.

I feel like the business of makeup has changed so much that another one of my struggles is to stay current. With social media, the old rules don’t apply anymore and you either have to adapt and find your place or become old news. Ultimately, I believe talent will always find a way to shine, and if you put in the work you will be rewarded.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Because of my love for magazines, I wanted to do mainly work in print. But I had to reinvent myself when the print industry started to switch to digital so now most of my clients are corporate fashion and beauty. I think I’m best known for being reliable, pleasant and versatile. What sets me apart from others is my experience. Having been a performer myself, I can relate to the talent and the crew.

What were you like growing up?
I am the youngest of three sisters and the daughter of immigrants. My family is a military family so we moved around a lot but I was born and reared in California and Long Beach is home. I was labeled gifted and was a nerd. I was a member of the stamp club and the computer club. I was a cheerleader too so I liked to a little bit of everything. I love boxing. My dad and my brother in law were fighters. I wanted to fight but my dad talked me out of it. I don’t have many regrets but I do wish I had at least one bout when I had the chance. My husband is a martial artist, personal trainer so I get to spar with him. That’s the closest I get to a bout lol.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Adam Adolphus
Nick Berardi
Robert Valentine
Michael Pool
Reinaldo Robinson
Eric Freimanis

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