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Meet Rachel Nicole of Face by Rach in Mid Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Nicole.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’d always been fascinated by makeup, even before I was old enough to wear it. Being an outgoing theatre kid, I had ample opportunity to do makeup for myself and my friends growing up, anything from high school shows, to bar mitzvahs, or going out dancing in Miami with fake IDs. I always considered it a hobby, because for most of my life, I set my sights on being an actor. After I moved from NYC to LA, I was really unmotivated and worn down from the auditioning circuit. I was aimless, confused, and my depression was getting the better of me. I was in a long distance relationship with someone that I knew from back in NYC, and after dating for two years, he dumped me over skype a week after he had come to LA for a visit.

Now, normally, I would take that hurt and pain and anger and completely internalize those feelings and get pretty self-destructive… but I was so furious that I had all this energy and no idea what to do with it. So, I googled the phrase “makeup artist Los Angeles” and emailed the first 20 people that came up, explaining that I was interested in makeup and wanted to intern and assist for free, just to learn and see what that job actually entailed. A couple of wonderful artists actually responded, and I spent the next few months assisting them, slowly building a very basic makeup kit, taking a couple of classes from high-profile artists, and putting makeup on anyone who would let me, all while working two jobs to keep my bills paid. I also volunteered as a model at the Joe Blasco makeup school, so although I wasn’t enrolled, I still paid attention during the classes, and watched the teacher demonstrations closely in the mirror.

Eventually, the artists I was assisting started to refer jobs that were below their own pay grade to me, and I put myself on teams of TFP shoots, and started to put together a portfolio. I networked with other artists, continued to take classes, and slowly grew my business until I became a full time, freelance makeup artist!

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?
The biggest struggle was the financial investment that you have to make in order to do beauty work. I had to find ways to make one product work for several different uses. Several makeup companies offer pro discounts, but you need to either prove that you’ve worked on a publication, you have a website, you’re with an agency, you’ve graduated from a beauty school, or that your name is on a call sheet from an official production company. Right now my kit is insured for up to $10,000, but between buying supplies and paying for classes, I had shelled out about half of that before I even really started to do makeup professionally in any capacity.

Makeup is also very much an oversaturated business, especially in Los Angeles. It’s hard to stand out, and it’s often difficult to remember that you are bringing major contributions to the table that are wholly unique. Even if you keep reliably doing a great job over and over again (and there will always be days of intense self-doubt, or when you’re just not in the groove), it may be years until you start to see steady referrals and a full work schedule. I’ve only recently been able to focus on makeup, you definitely need survival jobs when you first start out!

Being a freelance artist, I have to be highly self-motivated. Due to my depression that I was diagnosed with 13 years ago, many days are incredibly difficult for me when it comes to bringing positive energy to a job, but even more so when I don’t have a booking. I have to push myself to find new clients and projects to work on, and not let myself slip into a negative headspace if I’m going through a slow time.

It’s also rough to completely change your career at 27. I feel like I’m behind some of my peers, but I try to only compare myself to the me of the past. If I’m booking more and improving my skills as time goes on, what more can I ask? I don’t think my time spent in acting was wasted; the knowledge and skills I acquired there are what help me stand out as a makeup artist. On dark days, that can slip my mind, but for the most part, I wouldn’t change my journey.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Face by Rach story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a freelance makeup artist specializing in editorial, event, and headshot makeup. Even more than my makeup, I think I’m known for my personality and how I make my clients feel in my chair. I make it a goal to have my client be an active participant in the look we create together, and I always customize the style of makeup to best suit their individual features and style. I focus on creating beautiful, glowing complexions without making the makeup feel or look heavy, and making sure my clients feel and look like themselves on their best day. I like to play music, chat, and just create a positive, fun, relaxing environment! I’m also known for telling stupid jokes on set when we need a real genuine smile in a photo.

I always feel the most pride when a client tells me “I normally want to go change something when I get my makeup done, but you did everything I asked for perfectly!” It happens relatively frequently, and I think my return rate speaks for itself. I want my clients to always leave feeling like they were really listened to.

I also offer private makeup tutorials, as well as personal makeup shopping services, for anyone who doesn’t feel confident about what products work for them, or how to apply them to create the looks they want on their own.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Well, honestly, I already had the massive good luck of being born into a family that always supported my wild dreams and nontraditional career aspirations. I’m also lucky in that, even when I was working two jobs and spending all my extra money on building my kit, if something went horribly wrong, I knew my family could help me financially to get me through. I also am incredibly lucky that I have no major health issues that stop me from working on my feet, with my hands all day.

And I guess I’m lucky that I was dumped by my ex like that. It took a time of deep sadness, anger, and loss for me to prove that I could rise to the occasion and grow, rather than collapse, under pressure.

The main bout of bad luck that I had was having my car broken into and my hair kit stolen in the same week as my purse was stolen at my survival job. It took a while to replace everything because there was no way I could afford to all at once.

In general, I consider myself to be a very lucky person, and I try to earn the support system that I have.

Pricing:

  • Personal 90 minute beauty shopping services: $175
  • Private makeup tutorial: $200
  • Headshot makeup: $125 per session
  • Headshot hair and makeup: $175 per session

Contact Info:

  • Website: facebyrach.com
  • Email: facebyrach@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @facebyrach


Image Credit:
Leah Huebner
Eric Reid
Mary Costa
Jessica Robles
Anastasia Ostashevska
Jessica Drosin
justjared.com

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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