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Junior Works as a Professional Makeup Artist in KC

Turning around to grab eye shadow, junior Claudia Griggs second guesses herself as she pictures her makeup design at her first photo shoot. Will the photographer like my idea? Did I interpret his vague directions the right way? Her nerves build up as she hears all the professionals talk about the best and worst photographers and makeup artists around the area.

Those nerves all go away as she hears the model and photographer talk about how well she is doing.

“It was just a little self confidence booster since it was my first time,” says Griggs, looking back at her first makeup experience in a professional setting.

At five years old, Griggs received a special Christmas present from her grandmother Mimi. Mimi gave her granddaughter a book, filled with makeup tips and designs ranging from everyday looks to eccentric styles, called “Making Faces” by Kevyn Aucoin. Written inside was, “To my little artist. Love, Mimi.”

The book Griggs got on Christmas was what first sparked her interest in makeup. From her first attempts at replicating looks from “Making Faces” to professional photo shoots, she has quickly improved her skills as a makeup artist without any professional training.

By fourth grade Griggs started wearing makeup to school, copying the designs she saw in “Making Faces.” In sixth grade, Griggs reached her eyeliner-wearing stage. She remembers getting in trouble at St. Agnes, where she attended Catholic school, for having makeup on. She didn’t let their disapproval get in the way of her love of makeup and continued wearing it to school.

Griggs grew out of her cake-face, eyeliner-wearing phase and became more serious about makeup in high school. The summer before sophomore year, she began to watch YouTube tutorials and experiment with different colors and looks. A lot of her knowledge about makeup has come from jazziebabycakes and xsparkage, two of her favorite YouTube channels.

After doing almost every makeup tutorial on YouTube, Griggs was interested in creating more original designs. She liked the idea of using a variety of colors, so she got a 94 pack of Crayola Crayons. Each day she would pick three random colors to base her makeup design off of.

Griggs got her first job at a photo shoot last February.

For the shoot, she was told to do three different designs. The first enhanced the model’s features, the second was a smoky eye and the third, her favorite, was the artist’s choice. The photographers gave very little guidance to what they were looking for, and although they weren’t specific, they were very picky.

According to Griggs, there is a significant difference between the levels of pressure involved in doing makeup on friends or herself and in a professional photo shoot. At photo shoots, makeup artists have to step up their game a notch. Those who might normally take risks on a makeup design might avoid doing so, but Griggs didn’t let the pressure affect her style.

“You can’t have any screw ups during a photo shoot because if you’re not perfect they won’t call you back,” said Griggs. “That’s why a lot of people play it safe, but I like to step out of the box. I think it’s more fun to go ahead and just play the wild card, and I’ve never gotten criticized for it.”

Being at her first shoot and having little experience caused some nerves for Griggs, but as uncertain as she was, she did her job well. The combination of her age and natural talent impressed the professionals at the shoot, and she ended the day with business cards from other photographers in the Kansas City area, which have led to more job opportunities at photo shoots.

To stay on her game for photo shoots, Griggs practices as much as possible. For the most part, Griggs practices makeup on herself, but she prefers working on other people. Every person has a different face structure. A different eye shape. A different eye lid. The shape of some one’s face can completely change a look, and it is important to learn how to work with as many different faces.

“It is kind of crazy how many rules there are when it comes to doing makeup,” Griggs explained. “I prefer doing it on other people just because it’s more fun. It’s a whole different territory.”

Griggs is hoping to get involved with helping out with makeup for the East theater department, along with continuing to do photo shoots in the future. Although she feels makeup won’t uphold a successful career, she is planning to carry on her hobby in any free time.

“I really see makeup as something fun for the side, or even just doing someone’s makeup for their wedding or something,” Griggs said.

To Griggs, makeup isn’t just an element of fashion. To Griggs, makeup is an art form.

“People underrate makeup,” Griggs said. “They don’t realize what goes into it. I see a face as an open canvas. You can make a person into anything you want them to be. You can turn a person into a zombie. You can turn a women into a man. You can make someone black if they’re white. It really is almost like magic.”

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Leah Pack

My name is Leah Pack and I am the A&E Section Editor this year. I have been a member of the Harbinger staff since sophomore year and participate in other school activities such as Student Council and SHARE. Read Full »

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