The Power of Networking with Your Peers

I was recently told by an artist they didn’t feel like our networking events were working for them because it was “just a bunch of Makeup Artists standing around staring at each other.” Yes we are a network of Makeup Artists and if you attend one of our events you will find yourself in a room full of your peers. I think the real problem isn’t that our networking events are filled with a room full of other artists. I think the issue is that Hair & Makeup Artists are under the misconception that all fellow artists are just their competition. But here are the hard facts: most of your work is going to come from other artists.

1. Film & Television Hair/Makeup Artists work in crews and that crew has a department head or a key that will hire you (not the producer).
2. Makeup Artists often bring the hairstylist onto a project (and vice versa) so take the time to network with them.
3. Network with more established artists (they often need an assistant or extra person on a job).
4. There are many times I am unable to do a job and I pass off work to other artists I know and trust with my clients.

Networking is sometimes an uncomfortable thing. It forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to strangers. It’s not that networking with your peers doesn’t work because it does. It usually isn’t working because either you feel too awkward to introduce yourself or you feel intimidated by other artists. Or maybe it’s not working for you because you just don’t know how to network.

1. You have to feel confident enough to introduce yourself to others.
2. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you do and ask to trade work with them.
3. Don’t just give someone your card and expect they will magically call you. You have to ask for their card, make a note on the back about where you met, and take the time to follow-up with them.
4. Don’t just keep bugging people for work. Take the time to build the relationship with them over a period of time (lunch, dinner, drinks, event invites).

If networking with your peers isn’t working for you then I would reevaluate your approach. Start by building your networking of peers with a group of five people. Pass off a job with one or two of them and see what starts to happen. I’m sure you will start to see your jobs increase. And if you don’t, you need a new network of artists (either ones who are working or know how to network). Take these steps and your career will turn a corner, I promise.


September 6, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Reinvent Yourself In 2010

I was on set this morning and the caterer all of people made a very valid point about creating an image in Hollywood. I know that it may sound strange that the caterer was handing out advice on self-image, but she used to manage top recording artists in her early days in Hollywood. As the caterer and I talked, she gently pointed out how she was surprised I was the makeup artist for the shoot because I was “dressed down”. She said, “she usually sees the celebrity makeup artists dressed like a million bucks.” I could have take offense if I didn’t already know that she was right. For as long as I have been in Los Angeles I have been dressing for comfort and not for style. I guess it has been a combination of being lazy and heavily influenced by my super casual surroundings. In Hollywood, people wear jeans and flip flops every where they go! It astounds me that people show up to movie premieres wearing jeans rather than a dress. Where did the glamor go in Hollywood? I guess I can’t really talk because I have been doing what everyone else has been doing. I forget that if you want to work with the celebrities and their people you have to also look the part. It was suggested to me that I take sometime in 2010 to reinvent myself and my image if I want to attract better clients. Now, I never show up looking like what the cat dragged in but I do dress for comfort. I was told that I should take some time add some more style to my wardrobe and add some highlights to my hair. It may sound strange, but this is Los Angeles where image is everything. And if you want to run with the movers and shakers, you have to look like them as well. It may sound crazy but I know this personal Makeup Artist for a well know dance show. She dresses to the nines every time I see her. Her hair is perfect and she always looks hot, but more importantly she works all the time! So maybe there is something to be said about creating an image for yourself by the way you show up dressed to work. It certainly is something to consider when you are out networking in this town. So I suggest we take the artist manager turned caterers advice and reinvent ourselves in 2010. Think about where you want your career to be and project an image that will make you stand out. After all your image is your brand!

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.

Are You Spending Too Much Money On Your Portfolio?

I just did a presentation today for the a local beauty college in Los Angeles and many questions came up about building your portfolio. One of the main points I addressed was that building your portfolio shouldn’t be costly to you. Yes, you will need to spend some money when building your book, but you should still be smart about how your money is spent. In the beginning, I would use photo labs to print photos for my portfolio. Each custom photo was between $75 and $100! The most frustrating thing was that I would very quickly replace the photos with better ones. That meant I was wasting a lot of money. It was then that I realized my money would be much better spent investing in an Apple computer, Photoshop, and a large format color printer. By doing this I could customize the photos myself and print them straight off the computer. So, when it came time to replace the photograph, I had only spent a couple of dollars. An Apple computer costs between $1500-$1700. Large format Epsom ink jet printers cost around $500 and Photoshop can cost around $600. Today, large format ink jet printers can produce amazing photos. I know it might seem like a lot of money up front, but you will be saving yourself thousands of dollars in the long run. Imagine if you are testing every week and replacing old photos with new ones twice a week. Then imagine it taking you two years to build your portfolio. How much money do you think you would have spent then? There is something to be said about being penny wise pound foolish. So be smart and make the investment. You will have saved yourself so much time and money in the long run. Your career is an investment in your future.

For more career information and tips go to

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

The Hair & Makeup Artist Network’s Testimonial For Success!

About a year and a half ago I got a phone call from a Bollywood production company looking for a Makeup Artist with a background in film. Immediately I started going through the profiles of artists in our database and called all the artists that they worked in film. Out of a hand full of people, only Makeup Artist Robin Slater returned my call. Since we are not any agency, I just gave her the direct contact information for the company. I didn’t know it at the time, but the film had fairly decent size budget. Not only did it have a decent size budget, it is now being backed by Fox Searchlight! Robin Slater not only got to work on the film, she and an assistant spent most of last year working in India. Now that the film is complete, advertisement for “My Name Is Khan” are popping up everywhere including in Times Square! Who would have ever thought one little advertisement for The Hair & Makeup Artist Network in LA411 would provide one artist with such a life changing experience! As Robin Slater puts it, “If it wasn’t for you and your network I would have never worked on this job.”

We may not be an agency, but we do give job referrals. So does our network help people? You bet! The proof is in the Bollywood pudding! And if you don’t believe me, just ask twenty year industry veteran Robin Slater! Now we don’t promise that everyone will get a trip to India by joining our network, but there is something to be said about networking and being in our database. Not to mention we offer a lot support and other benefits to network members.

To learn more about “My Name Is Kahn” visit
or visit Robin Slater on Facebook:

To learn more about our network:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Uncategorized, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Are You Affraid They Will Say “No” To Your Rate?

A few days ago I posted a blog about “How To Negotiate Your Rate.” A couple of the tips I gave was know your worth and be willing to walk away. I’m sure you might have thought, “easy for you say but I need the money.” The truth is that times are tough and we are all hurting financially. Although, I really believe we have to stand out ground when negotiating money.

The day before yesterday, I got a call to do makeup for a very well known person in the music industry. This was a personal request and the artist was going to be paying the rate out of their own pocket. The first important piece of information for me was that the artist was paying and not a large corporation. I know that artists will not pay as much as a corporation for obvious reasons. The assistant asked my my rate and then quoted some ridiculously low rate she was told. I immediately told her, “no I never work for that.” Then I counter offered a higher rate. The assistant told me she had to get approval and would call me back in the morning.

At this point, the conflict is that yes, I could use the money, and working with this person could open some great doors for me. However, I know that this person is established enough to pay my asking rate. I decided to take my own advice and stand firm on my rate regardless. The next morning, I call the assistant and I ask about the job. The assistant told me she decided not to go with makeup. I took and deep breath and said, “thank you anyway” and hung up the phone. For a slight second, I felt disappointed. I knew this could have been a great contact. Then I thought, “I did the right thing by not caving in.” I new that the artist could afford the rate and I really was worth what I was asking. Just as soon as I finished that thought, the phone rang. The assistant was on the phone and told me they changed their mind and to come in for the shoot.

I felt not only relieved but empowered. I took a chance, stood up for myself, and got the rate I asked for! So now, I have not only taken my own advice, but I put it to the test and proved that it works. You may not get the job this way every time, but at least you are not devaluing yourself. The truth is that people will respect you more if you stand your ground. And if they walk away, maybe it was just for the best. I know that I have been doing this long enough where I deserve to be paid for my experience and expertise. So what is your experience and expertise worth to you?

For expertise advice on negotiating rates watch our virtual classroom workshop with Cloutier Agency:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 28, 2010. Tags: , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Do You Know How To Negotiate Your Day Rate?

I know, its hard to have to negotiate money. As artists, most of us would rather just do the job and have someone else negotiate the money. However, the hard reality is this; agents only want to take on established artists. So this means you are going to have to do the negotiating until your career is at a level where an agent will take you on.

I think most of us don’t want to negotiate money because there are so many emotional attachments we carry with it. According to, ” There are four emotionally charged reasons that this happens:

* You don’t believe you deserve it.
* You don’t believe other people think you deserve it.
* You know you deserve more, but not how much more.
* You know precisely how much more you deserve, but you don’t know how to get it.”

I think as women this is particularly true (whether we want to admit it or not). I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be sweet and accommodating. This a great notion for the 1950’s housewife, but it serves no purpose in the business world. Growing up, I don’t know how many times I avoided the opportunity to make a better deal because I just didn’t want to create conflict. I just wanted to make my purchase and get out of there. It didn’t matter if I could have gotten my item for less as long as I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of haggling. But why? Why do we undermine ourselves? I think in competitive job market we mostly do it because of the fear centered around not getting the work. What if we over-bid for the job? If anything, I think we mostly of grossly underbid. This might happen for a number of reasons starting with not knowing what your rate should be, and not putting a value on your time.

Good negotiation happens when you know what you are worth and you are willing to walk away based on principle. Negotiation isn’t just about a dollar amount. It’s putting a value on how much time it will take you to drive to the job, how many people you will have to prep, how much product is being used out of your kit, how much time they are giving you to prep each of the talent, what the talent you are working along side you is being paid, and ultimately how beat up will feel at the end of the day. It’s not about how much you are asking or put some mascara or hairspray on someone. It’s about how much your time and expertise is worth. So do your homework. Know what the going rate is for your area, level of experience, and the medium you are working in. Then you have to know if your time, effort, and financial investment is worth what they are offering you. If it’s not, then be prepared to take a stand and walk away. CNN advises:

1. Don’t look at a deal as an either/or proposition
2. Know what you can part with — then part with it hard
3. Figure out the other side’s timetable. Then use it
4. Show people that you understand their position
5. Stifle your emotions
6. Don’t believe everything, but don’t call anyone a liar
7. Devise a backup plan that you could live with

I think that is great advice from a well respected resource. The day we all know what are worth, is the day we all get paid a fair wage. Just ask yourself, “What is that producer or actor being paid for their time?” It’s probably more than what you are getting.

For more career advice go to and watch industry interviews on HMA Network TV. Or watch our virtual classroom video on rate negotiation

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.

How Do You Stay Possitive In Broken Economy?

Sometimes its just hard to stay focused and motivated in a tough job market. If you work in the entertainment industry, you will know that January an extremely slow time for work. So how do you stay positive when business is slow going? It might sound corny, but there seems to be some physical benefits to positive thinking.

I was working on an early morning gig before the holidays when I came across a book on set by Cheryl Saban, PHD entitled “What’s you self-worth? A woman’s guide to validation.” I thought, “oh great, another self-help book talking to women about their self-image.” Out of boredom I began to skim through the book and one chapter, “The Law Of Attraction” really caught my eye. I really liked her message so I’m going to share it with you: Dr. Saban wrote, “It has been documented & written about since the early 1900s and states that there is a physiological foundation for positive thinking. Based on the reality that there are many forms of energy and energy cannot be destroyed, the law of attraction suggests that you essentially attract to your life whatever you give your attention, energy, and focus to, be it positive or negative.

The of Law f Attraction states you can purposely project specific vibrations. So try vibrating these four things:

1. An aura of affection
2. Optimism
3. Openess
4. Positive Intension

When these four elements will collide, all manner of doors will open to you.” So you see, you create your own reality. If you believe there isn’t any work out there then there isn’t. If you believe you will have an academy award for best makeup/hair then you will. So focus only on what you want and why you want it. The rest is just a negative thought process that will keep you from moving forward. It is all up to you and what believe system you chose to subscribe to. Stay positive and keep your eye on the prize.

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 2 comments.

Are You A Hair Or Makeup Artist Looking For A Second Source Of Income?

Things are rough right now for everyone, but regardless of where you are in your career it’s important to diversify your income. We all know that the Fashion & Entertainment Industry is very volatile. For this reason, you need carefully plan out your finances, know what will effect your income, and always have a second source of income. So what do I mean by that? A second job? Not necessarily. There are a many forms of income that you can create for yourself without getting a second job.

Now you can invest in stocks or bonds, but we all know the stock market isn’t exactly at its strongest right now. So, here are revenue streams that you may have never even considered. For those of you who are have just started out in the industry, you may still need a full time job until you can get enough clients to cover your expenses.

The biggest problem I had when I was first starting out was finding a job that gave me the flexibility I needed. I started out working at a makeup counter in a well know department store, but they weren’t too keen on letting me take a last minute job in the middle of the day. We all know that industry production schedules are constantly changing. Most of the time, hair & makeup is that last thing to get booked. For this reason, you the artist, will get a lot of last minute job requests. So what do you do? You find a job that gives you the flexibility you need. For me, I ended up working in outside sales for a major corporation. Most of you may have never even hear of outside sales or even considered working in another industry. However, most major corporations will have outside sales reps or account managers. Most of these jobs give you a salary plus commission, benefits, and best of all you don’t stay in an office all day long. This means you spend most of the day setting your own appointments and you drive out to visit the client. By doing this you can set your own schedule. Some companies won’t event require you to come into the office every day. They track your work by the amount of sales you have coming in. This will allow you to have the flexibility to take a gig while maintaining your income. In addition to this, you will learn some very valuable marketing and sales skills that you will be able to apply to your own self-promotion.

Of course, sales may not be your cup to tea. Some other options, are temp work, waiting tables, and a lot of banks offer hourly paid night positions. But maybe you have been working in the industry a while, and you may already have your client base. You should still find additional forms of income. So if you not taking on a second job, what does that mean? It means that you create a second source of income.

Some of you maybe fortunate enough to have the money to invest in real estate, but if you aren’t then here are some other options:

1. You can blog blog about beauty products and get a commission on them. Most companies have affiliate programs that will give you a commission for referring a product. If you have an affiliate program with a particular product line, and you include that affiliate link in your blog review, the company will give you a commission if someone purchases their product from a link in your blog. Do this enough times and you can make a nice commission from just sitting on set and blogging in your down time.

2. Multi-Level Marketing- Most people think of this as a pyramid scheme, but a lot of companies use this form of marketing sell their products. You usually purchase the kit and sell it to in your free time. There are makeup and skincare companies such as Nuskin that use this method of marketing. If you are already using makeup and skincare products on your clients, why not get them to order the products from you in the future? You can make a nice commission on products your clients would be using on a daily basis anyway. If you don’t feel comfortable selling products to your clients, there are other companies like Passion Parties that you can purchase their kit for a small fee and make 40% commission for just hosting the party and selling their products.

3. If you are really daring then create a another business that you can manage in your spare time. There are a lot business opportunities out there if you are creative enough. If you are willing to go this route, I suggest you create a business outside the Fashion and Entertainment Industry. By doing this, your business is not subject to economic pitfalls like the one you are currently in.

Whatever you do be smart smart. Do your homework and know what you are getting into. But most of all, make sure you are never be dependent upon just one form of income. Smart entrepreneurs always diversify.

For more tips, career advice, and networking opportunities go to

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.