Monday, November 12th, 2007

If you are a makeup artist who is interested in being interviewed, let us know at [email protected]!

Temptalia had the opportunity to interview MAC make-up artist and beauty blogger Jen M., age 36, who has been an artist for two years and with MAC for less than one. Even though she has no formal beauty training, she’s finding her way as a makeup artist just fine!

Temptalia: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
Jen: That’s a great question! I think I’m most surprised by the many women I meet who apologize for not knowing how to do complex looks with their makeup. How on earth do women expect they should have learned these things?! Unless you’re a makeup junkie and magazine addict, like I was, or if you had a mother who was a makeup junkie, there’s no way to expect that the knowledge would just “come to you”. That’s why there are makeup artists, and when you meet a good one he/she should be able to teach you some tricks so you can expand your own looks. The other thing that really surprises me is how many women immediately degrade themselves when they sit in my chair. I hear “oh- don’t look at my brows! I need to wax them” or “I know I have wrinkles, but – or “Ugh, my skin is so bad” or other things that are harsh and they wouldn’t say to a friend. Why can’t women be accepting of their own unique look?

You know you want to see the rest of the interview, so

Temptalia: Where do you find your inspiration?
Jen: My inspiration mostly comes from the women with whom I work. They tell me their stories, be it why they want a new look, or how many kids they have, or whether they’re going on a date – those things help me come up with creative ways to help each woman look her very best! I also find a lot of inspiration in my colleagues, both where I work and out in the rest of the world. I watch Top Model mostly for the makeup, and that’s the first thing I notice in all of my magazines (even Parents!). The I challenge myself to stretch.

Temptalia: What’s your favorite way to achieve the perfect natural look?
Jen: Ah, the natural look. It’s what most people want when they come to the counter – even at MAC! I think a nice healthy glow is important, as is wearing something that makes one comfortable. In addition, I recommend great skincare to keep skin at its peak condition. This whole process is different for everyone. For me, Clarins skincare makes my skin look gorgeous and healthy and most importantly: hydrated! Keeping hydrated minimizes those irritating fine lines that make me look my age. Besides, makeup sits in ’em! I also love MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinishes. I use the MSF Natural in Light as my foundation most days (sometimes I substitute Armani Designer Shaping Cream Foundation – in fact, I do so more and more often, lately!). I also like Shimpagne and Lightscapade to add highlights on the cheekbones and under the brow. A bit of blush that makes it look like I just ran up the steps (not ran on the stairmaster!) helps, as does a pale eyeshadow in a shade that compliments my eyes. A bit of lipgloss or a natural tone lipstick. Always mascara to really help the eyes look big and awake. That’s all I use on myself and that’s all anyone really “needs”.

Temptalia: What feature do you love to accentuate?
Jen: This is definitely different for each woman! I think lately everyone is focusing on the eyes, but I love to really feature each woman’s best asset. Many women have great skin and that should be the focus if that’s you! Glow, get dewy, maybe even get your shimmer on! For women with huge or particularly pretty eyes, make that the focus. If your pout is superior, that should be the focus. I have deep-set, small eyes, so unless I’m working at the counter (when I have to pile on the eye makeup) I play up the skin. I sometimes shift focus to the lips, since mine are full and fairly decent. I like to switch it up.

Temptalia: Do you love working any specific brands or lines?
Jen: I love working with MAC, of course, but I’ll admit it’s not the only brand out there. I love Armani foundations and Face Atelier foundations. I think that Bobbi Brown’s correctors are one of the best things in the industry. I had the privilege to test products from an up-and-coming line called Yaby ( and really like them a lot. Shiseido and Lancome actually have some lovely eye shadows. Clarins skincare – I can’t say enough!

Temptalia: What advice do you have for those wanting to become a makeup artist?
Jen: Practice on other people – lots of different types of people. Working with people who don’t look like you is one of the harder things to get used to. The second thing I’d recommend is that aspiring artists should try to reproduce looks from the pages of magazines, fashion websites, and any other sources they can find. And don’t just try to copy them – try to adapt them for the person you’re making-up, so they “read” well.

Temptalia: What are three important skills required to be a makeup artist?
Jen: Number one: patience, because you’re dealing with people. Two: adaptability. You’re going to need to think on the fly and change the original plan more often than you think you are! Third: diplomacy. Sometimes you’re going to be asked to do things that aren’t possible, and despite your urge to say “it’s a makeup brush, not a magic wand,” you’re going to have to find a nice way to nudge your clients in new directions.

Temptalia: Could you share your three beauty tips you could not live without?
Jen: . Have a good cleanser, moisturizer, night cream and eye cream.
2. Use primer for everything: skin, lashes, lips, eyes. It makes everything slide right on and then stay put!
3. Change your makeup every few months. By this I mean if you’ve been wearing the same 2 shades on your eyes for 5 years, you’re officially in a rut. So get a new shade of lipstick, try a different color eye liner. Do something to shake it up. Who cares about how you look- it’s how you will feel when you look in the mirror and see something fresh that counts!

Thanks for the interview, Jen! We really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you!

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12 thoughts on “Interview wIth Jen M. MAC Make Up Artist

  1. Lovely interview Christine, and way to go Jen, I love skinfinishes as well…

    I totally agree with dewy skin, I hate matte, dewy skin = a younger looking you…


    • Jen

      You and I are in complete agreement! (PS: Fix + is my friend, too!)

      Thanks for the comment.


    • Jen, this was a great interview and so thorough! I can totally relate to you about people sitting in the chair and immediately degrading themselves! I have no idea what’s going through their head but it takes the wind out of my sails :( Good luck to you, you sound like a smart cookie and a skilled artist!
      Anne Rogers

  2. sosoy

    you can be a makeup artist for mac without formal training? what do they require to be a makeup artist? please answer thanks

    • Jen

      I had to pass through rigorous interviewing and do a demonstration (“audition”) in front of the regional manager (who is an artist, too) and one of the national artists/trainers. It was tough, and most people don’t even get past the demo.

      It’s my understanding that in some states/areas, you must have a license, but that’s apparently due to either 1) demand in that market or 2) state regulations. The state I live in doesn’t have that kind of regulation at this time. The market here is tough (only 3 MAC stores in one metropolitan area) but not nearly as tough as say New York or LA, where they probably cut through the wanna-bes by requiring either a portfolio or a license just to get you through the door to the interview.

      The best thing to do if you’re interested in MAC is contact your local counter. The artists there can help you.

      PS: Once you’re in MAC, you get lots of training, and must complete certifications in a timely manner to stay employed with the company.

      Thanks for the question!


      • Faith

        They must of liked you. I had a very bad experience with trying to get a job with m.a.c.I dropped off my resume at one of the counters. Six months later i got a call from a counter hiring manager, very close to where I live. I had to bring a model with i had to find, and i paid her for coming along. i was told that i would hear something soon and that i would have to interview with the training artist as my next interview. the orginal person that I interviewd with never called me back but she faxed my resume to others counters way out of the area i was interested in. So I ended up having to get a second model for a interview with the instructor. I passed with flying colors, he told me that i should be getting a call from the hiring counter manager, which i waited a week, no call, so i called the counter myself, left a message no reply back. So inturn i called the trainer back to ask for info about why i had not been contacted, he left me a message to say that he would check into it. a week went by, no follow-up from him. So today i got a phone message from the hiring manager from the counter i thought had an opening part-time, just what i was looking for. She said there were no openings, and that she never got a call from me. There was a hiring freeze of some sort. I have never in all my 28yrs of cosmetics experience as a makeup artist and counter manager, been handled with such non-professional people in all my life. it was all a bunch of lies and my time and the time of others was wasted. I wonder why they even called me in the first place. I like Mac, i and a lot of my friends and family use it. But i am so disappointed in the company in how they treat people who are trying to get a job with them. I think I am too way over qualified and i have a look of class in how I handle people and how I carry myself. they only seem to hire people who are racy, simple and way over the top, and there is a lot of clicks with who they feel they want to hire. I look yonger than a lot of the 20yr olds they hire. It is your loss, too bad for you!!!!

  3. Great interview. Thank you Jen for the tips.