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Meet Valley Village Makeup Artist: Leesa Simone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leesa Simone.

Leesa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Leesa Simone knew she had found her passion when the head Makeup Artist of her first fashion show, unknowingly walked out and to her surprise was left alone to do makeup on 26 models in a few short hours. It was in that moment she realized this is what she was meant to do.

Growing up she wasn’t into makeup and fashion. Her focus was on gymnastics, acting, singing and dancing. It wasn’t until later that her soon-to-be career would end up finding her. After working at MAC Cosmetics and various freelance makeup positions in Denver, CO, she relocated to Los Angeles, CA to further her career. She graduated from Make-Up Designory in Burbank, CA with a Masters Diploma in Makeup Artistry. She is certified and experienced with beauty makeup, special fx makeup, hair styling, men’s grooming and spray tanning.

Leesa comes from a family successful in business. She credits her father, (who previously was the President of their family corporation, turned owner of a successful Real Estate appraisal company and now in retirement, established himself as a publisher and best-selling author) as providing her with a business-minded acumen. Although she generally defines herself as a Makeup Artist, it is her father who taught her to be a person of business first, creativity secondary.

She believes she has also gotten to this point in her career due to a kind and personable nature. “I’m mostly easy-going, besides being self-diagnosed with OCD and like to create positivity around me. Nobody wants to work around negativity. I believe in Laws of Attraction,” she shared.

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles Leesa faced in her career was having to re-establish herself as a small fish in a big pond. In Denver, she had built a good reputation, so when she moved to Los Angeles, it was like starting from the bottom again. “I’ve always been a humble person, but when you have to rebuild your network and prove yourself – it really does make you appreciate what it takes to make it in ‘Hollywood’ and how much harder you have to work just to survive here. When you’re still building a name for yourself, the work isn’t flowing in every week. So I had to buckle down to make sure I made smart financial choices because even now there are days, weeks and sometimes months without work; especially around the Holidays.”

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far is the way people react to sitting in my chair & having their hair or makeup done. I’ve had actors and actresses, some who have had 20-30 plus years in this industry, share with me that, “This is the best experience I’ve had in the makeup chair in a really long time.” I’ve worked with some of my favorite actors as a child – tell me that they feel so relaxed and that I help them start the day off feeling good and end the day on a positive note. I like to keep things positive and fun when I’m working with people. The goal is to do a great job that the talent feels comfortable enough to continue to work with you again and again.

Tell us more about the struggles you’ve faced along the way.
I have only been living in LA for a little more than two years. Every day is a struggle because I am a Freelance Makeup Artist. I am not represented by an Agency nor do I have a Manager. I am my own Manager, Accountant, Personal Assistant, Web Designer, etc. Living here for a shorter amount of time is like starting over again in my career. I have to prove myself on every gig and make sure I always give 100 percent on the job. I had a good reputation when I lived in Denver, CO. People knew I was a Makeup Artist, I was a big fish in a small pond. Here in LA, I am competing with thousands of other Makeup Artists. Everyone wants to be recognized and given the chance. The struggle is training yourself to be positive, to work harder, to learn something about your craft every day, to continue to push forward and not give up, especially when there are times when it seems like everyone is getting a gig but you.

What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
LA is still the place to be if you want to work in Film and Television – but it’s not the be all end all city. I decided to move out to LA – because I knew if I moved here, I would increase my chances to continue to do what I love to do – on a grander scale. The majority of people who are starting their career may have moved from their hometown to attend a Makeup School in the LA area and decided to stay. The one thing I can recommend to people starting out is that it is expensive. Living here is expensive. So stay on top of your finances. The majority of people I know starting out had to get a day job just to pay for their livelihood. I’m really fortunate that I haven’t had any other job but doing makeup out here. The city isn’t what needs to improve – it’s our industry. There are too many people who want to be a Makeup Artist – because they see Influencers on Youtube & Instagram who are profiting from company sponsorship and endorsements. That isn’t being a makeup artist, that is being a really good spokesperson. Some of these up & comers are offering services at really low prices just so they can do makeup because they want to make money any way they can. We need to hold a higher level of integrity. Being a Makeup Artist is not glamorous. It has its perks, but it’s mostly a lot of hard work, education, and experience. Someone who is starting out shouldn’t be competing for a job with someone who has years of experience. We ALL have to start at the bottom. People need to get back in touch with working hard for something and paying their dues. If you want to be a Makeup Artist in LA, do it because it makes you happy and you can’t think of anything else you’d rather do. Money & experience will come – but passion – has to come from within YOU.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.leesasimone.com
  • Phone: 425-830-2834
  • Email: leesa@leesasimone.com
  • Instagram: @leesasimone
  • Facebook: Leesa Simone Makeup Artistry
  • Other: Twitter: @leesasimone

 

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