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Meet Sherman Oaks Makeup Artist: Meredith Menchel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meredith Menchel.

Meredith, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up attending a very arts-driven school in LA, so I’ve always loved the arts and consider myself to be very right-brained. I unintentionally sort of taught myself the techniques of makeup at around 12/13 years old by watching hundreds of YouTube videos on how to perfect imperfect skin. However, I really found a love for it when I discovered Pat McGrath’s work, which made me realize makeup’s transformative nature and how much of an art form it truly is. After graduating high school in 2014, I took a course at Make-Up Designory in Los Angeles and pursued makeup artistry as a career. After that, I reached out to modeling agencies & started doing makeup for some of their test shoots, and it all kind of snowballed from there! I think what really leveraged my career was having the opportunity to be the key makeup artist for the VFILES Fashion Show for S/S16. I signed up for their competition to be the key MUA after my sister introduced it to me, and I checked back in a few months later and I won. It was super surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had that opportunity. It proved to me that sometimes you just have to take chances!

Has it been a smooth road?
I definitely wouldn’t say it’s been easy! I suffer with a lot of anxiety so it took a lot for me to really put myself out there and get to a point where I felt comfortable being with strangers. This is also an extremely competitive industry, so I try to give it 110% of my energy at all times whether that’s updating social media, researching/reaching out to new people to collaborate with, etc. I didn’t understand for a while that jobs don’t necessarily just come to you, you have to seek them. I also had to do a lot of unpaid projects and jobs I didn’t like, but if you’re good at your craft and have a clear aesthetic you will eventually find people to collaborate with who share a similar vision. All in all, it’s hard work but it’s extremely rewarding, and I absolutely love what I do.

Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
I’ve definitely never considered quitting, however, there have been some difficult moments that made me question what I was doing. I’d say one of the hardest aspects has been spending so much time/money without receiving any further compensation other than sending photos. In order to do my job, I have to have quite a good range of products– for instance, I have to own foundations that can match any skin tone & any skin texture. You’ve gotta splurge in order to get the best results! I didn’t really have much of a choice starting out, though, because smaller projects/clients usually have little to no budget at all. Regardless, I love what I do SO much that I can’t even imagine quitting. It’s just a matter of finding a process that works for you and a way to make it manageable.

What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
I can only give advice for MUAs wanting to be in the world of fashion since that’s what I know, and still, I’ve only been doing makeup professionally for around 2 years now so it feels pretty surreal. However, my biggest piece of advice is to not let the failure and rejection stop you. It’s definitely much easier said than done, and it took me a while to practice that, but the fashion/beauty industry is so competitive that you’re destined to hear ‘No’ time & time again. Understanding that it’s just a part of the process and not necessarily worth taking to heart makes it much easier to be comfortable reaching out for things that may seem a bit daunting. For example, I reach out for projects/collaborators that seem WAY out of my league… A lot of the time my proposals are rejected, and sometimes I actually land the job and it feels incredible. All in all, it makes me want to work harder because I then have something to work towards for the future.

What are you looking forward to?
I’m mostly excited for things I’d like to do in the years to come. I think when you’re not focusing on your goals farther down the road, you can get stuck in the present moment & feel like there isn’t much else to work towards. The experience of being the Key MUA at the VFILES Made Fashion Show for Spring/Summer 2016 made me realize how much I love doing makeup for runway. I absolutely love working with designers and helping their vision come to life. I learned SO much by having that experience, so I’m definitely looking forward to working hard so that I can do more of it.

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