Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ll be familiar with the work of Charlotte Tilbury. You’ve seen her handiwork on some of the most famous faces in the world, as Charlotte is the makeup artist Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Penelope Cruz all call when they need to look their best. Which, in their lines of work, is a regular requirement. Quite simply, Charlotte Tilbury is makeup royalty.
Wherever Charlotte is working, Blanche Macdonald makeup graduate Kelly Mitchell is close by. Kelly travels the world from her new home in London, England as the National Artistry and Development Manager and a star member of the Global Pro Team for Charlotte Tilbury Makeup.
With two roles at a rapidly expanding company, plus a growing number of private clients, Kelly stays busy. That’s fine with her. She loves every minute.
“Every month I’ll do two or three starter trainings in the UK, Ireland or Amsterdam as the National Artistry and Development Manager,” she explains. “That’s a five-day course when we introduce new starters to our brand, whether they work in head office or for one of our retail accounts. We teach everything from Charlotte’s history to the brand’s philosophy and positioning, to doing practical makeup training. The next week I might be with Charlotte in LA, Chicago, New York or Vancouver to support her at a Global Pro Event. I might fly to Milan Fashion Week and do some shows. I also work once a week in the office creating content, developing and testing products and colours. For me it’s the perfect balance. I love planning and the business side of work, but I would never want to give up the artistic side of makeup. I love the diversity of this job!”
Kelly’s infectious enthusiasm for the makeup line makes her a natural saleswoman. But that positive attitude didn’t just arrive when she got the job. She’s been that way since she started studying at Canada’s top Makeup School.
“I didn’t wear much makeup in high school, but I loved painting and working with people and fashion. I figured I would become a Makeup Artist and have a fun job while I’m young, then I would get a real job a few years later. My opinion about the makeup world changed quickly once I came to Blanche Macdonald. I’d never realized how many incredible opportunities there are in this industry and how I could develop my business skills.
“I was really eager. I was the student that stayed behind helping out and asking questions. I wanted to go for it. I realized I was learning from some of the best artists in the world. I was inspired by their work and what they’d achieved.”
What a weekend! The 2016 edition of the Vancouver International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) was the best yet, as thousands of Makeup Artists, ranging from the professional to recreational, descended on the Vancouver Convention Centre to stock up on product and inspiration.
Both were in plentiful supply on the Blanche Macdonald/CurliQue Beauty stand, which drew large crowds as Makeup Program Director and industry legend Todd McIntosh demonstrated his prosthetics wizardry over the course of a Sunday afternoon. Proving that the possibilities of Makeup are indeed limitless, Todd created a realistic alien in a matter of hours – using discarded prosthetics pieces he retrieved from the bottom of a cupboard in his studio!
It wasn’t just industry veterans creating magic. In the Battle of the Brushes, the ultimate competition for new Makeup Artists, Blanche Macdonald students shone, taking a superb second in the Beauty/Fantasy category, and filling the podium – taking first, second and third – in a hotly contested Prosthetics competition, crafting aliens on the theme of Four Decades of Star Wars.
For Prosthetics first place winner Devon Burbank, her victory was a triumph of tenacity over setbacks.
“My airbrush broke a few days ago so I bought a new airbrush and that broke too,” she revealed, minutes after her victory. “We fixed it yesterday and today it broke again. So today’s paint job was sponges and q-tips. Today’s been a flux of emotions. It was an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity to be part of this event. I’m filled with joy. When they said my name I thought I was going to hit the floor. But I didn’t!”
The Battle of the Brushes Prosthetics Competition is the ultimate mix of preparation and inspiration. With prosthetics pieces handed out at random 20 minutes before the contest begin, an artist’s ability to instantly harness creativity is invaluable.
“I was excited to have random prosthetics thrown at me,” continued Devon, “Because I love creating on the spot. I like doing makeup on the spur of the moment. That’s when I feel my heart is into it. I was going to use a bald cap but that was all I knew. I was given two eyebrow pieces, a chin piece and two cheek pieces. The cheeks didn’t fit well or look right, so I flipped them and added them to my model’s collarbones, which made them look so defined.”
“Thank you for being alive and for following your heart.”
Makeup Superstar Roque Cozzette knows how to make a great first impression. And his beautiful opening words at his magical presentation at Blanche Macdonald’s Atelier Campus provided an apt introduction for a morning coloured with splashes of emotion, inspiration and creativity.
Roque’s makeup has appeared on runways and in print for Christian Dior, Valentino, Y3, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Victoria’s Secret, Prada and Givenchy. Creating professional grade products alongside high-end fashion looks; he’s also turned Infinite Makeup and his own Cozzette vegan brushes into global brands. In short, Roque Cozzette is makeup royalty.
Both his artistry and products were on display throughout a fascinating makeup demo, as Roque transformed Blanche Macdonald grad-turned-youtube beauty queen Trina Duhra into a shimmering explosion of fashion editorial colour. Throughout the application Roque answered questions from host, CurliQue Beauty Team Leader Jaylene McRae and students, covering topics ranging from Photoshop (“think about it as a colour tool”), to confidence (“It comes from having a standard look and building colour theory into my plan”) to the often underrated art of assisting (“You’re serving the higher good, and there’s greatness in that”).
Most of all though, Roque came to Canada’s top Makeup School to reinforce the importance of emotion, intuition and inspiration, whether it comes from individuals’ faces or motorcycle gas tanks.
“Being here means you’ve already taken the first step,” he explained. “Having the opportunity to create is the greatest joy. Be your most authentic self. I created this. You can create your dreams too.”
Steven Carty Creates Fierce Beauty Dialogue as Drag Queen Raye Sunshine and Director of Education At Studio F/X!
As a child actor seeking stardom from the pastoral settings of Mission, BC, Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate Steven Carty quite nearly had his break. Having been offered the role of Pugsley in macabre kin favourite, The Addams Family, Steven probably wouldn’t have been sitting here today, had it not been for his parents’ reluctance at the prerequisite husking up. As Steven put it, “being young and gay in Mission – you don’t need any more hardships.”
But when one door closes another opens, as the saying goes. And for Steven, calling scene on set life would lead him to spot lights worldwide.
“Watching the Hair and Makeup Artists work on transforming people like John Travolta and Kirstie Alley into their characters was so neat and it just stuck with me. When I was in hair and makeup it would be the best half hour of my life.
“In Grade 11 we did this big production of Stoker’s Dracula, and I got to create the dead Lucy and a vampire. That’s what sparked the thought of going to Makeup School and then meeting [Blanche Macdonald Admissions Director] Jill Wyness during my tour at 16 sealed the deal. I didn’t go to any school interviews after that and started right after graduation.”
Steven was met with a level of support and creative calibre that he remembers to this day. It wasn’t long after his first weeks that he realized the scope of professional opportunity now open to him.
“When I had the chance to see the work that my instructor, Michelle, was doing outside of the classroom, it really created a bond of respect. These are your teachers, but this isn’t just college, not just beauty school. When you graduate, these people can become your coworkers. You get the chance to grow with these teachers and if you are really pushing yourself and really want to learn more, you can. You have to connect and go a little bit further than just ‘Here’s my assignment.’
“I would be running up and down the halls in full face showing each and every teacher because I wanted everybody’s feedback. Every artist has a different way of doing things and that gives your learning this great diversity.”
Blanche Macdonald Makeup Graduate Ruby Hogg Finds Big Time Success in the Small Town of Fort McMurray
Nestled amidst the boreal forest in Northern Alberta is the industrious, tight-knit community of Fort McMurray. While it may sound an unlikely place to find success as a makeup artist, Blanche Macdonald graduate Ruby Hogg has done just that, cultivating and an outstanding career and flourishing as one of the province’s top makeup artists. In the three short years since she graduated from the Freelance Makeup program, Ruby has established both local and national clientele, achieving celebrity status within her community and traveling all over Canada to do makeup for brides and films alike. She attended a workshop in L.A. with the famous Scott Barnes, and her growing reputation landed her on set with National Geographic. She achieved all this while starting her own successful makeup business, Colour Me Famous, and becoming a new mom.
Ruby now lives in Valemount, B.C. with her family, but it’s clear that her establishment in Fort McMurray was instrumental to her success. Humble, hard working and eternally grateful, Ruby is proof that the unexpected and unknown can be transformed into monumental career cornerstones by an expansive view of life, beauty, and business and an enduringly creative eye.
BMC: First thing’s first: We heard you’ve done makeup for Steven Tyler locally in Fort McMurray. How did that come about?
Ruby Hogg: Aerosmith was doing a Canadian tour and Fort McMurray happened to be on the route. Their management team inquired with the venue about a makeup artist. I’d worked on some of the staff for other events and they knew my reputation, so they referred me! I was actually on vacation and asleep when I got an email with the subject “Aerosmith Makeup Artist” and thought I was dreaming.
I thought I’d be so nervous walking into his dressing room, but I felt completely at home. Steven Tyler was a very welcoming person. His makeup artist made it easy for me by sending a list of his favourite products to use – he’s a huge MAC fan. The only difficult thing was figuring out something to wear myself!
BMC: Let’s go back in time. What made you want to become a makeup artist in the first place?
RH: Initially I was interested in International Development for the longest time. I had always had a passion for brightening people’s lives. When I found out I was going to have my daughter, I realized it would be difficult to balance that type of career with our lifestyle. I’d always loved makeup so I decided to pursue it as a career instead.
BMC: When you decided to go to makeup school, what made you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?
RH: I did lots of research on schools across Canada and the United States. In the end, I chose Blanche Macdonald [because] its reputation preceded it and it had such positive reviews. All the recent grads I talked to were such successes in their fields. When I was put into contact with Admissions, everyone was so friendly and welcoming and the schedule fit so perfectly with my family lifestyle. The location wasn’t a drawback either!
MAKEUP GRADUATE-TURNED-INSTRUCTOR BREIANNE ZELLINSKY BRINGS A-LIST FASHION TO BLANCHE MACDONALD CLASSROOMS
“I’ll always remember my experience on set for my first fashion editorial in London. I was assisting makeup artist Janeen Witherspoon for Dazed & Confused’s 20th Anniversary Edition. There were racks and racks of clothes, tables full of accessories, makeup for days, suitcases packed with wigs, and a team of ten people working alongside Janeen and myself: photographer Ben Toms, fashion stylist Katie Shillingford, hairstylist Martin Cullen, set designer Amy Stickland, along with the photo team and creative assistants. I remember leaving with goose bumps all over thinking “Yep, this is what I want to do.’”
That was the first of countless unforgettable experiences for Breianne Zellinsky in the upper echelons of European high fashion. After five scintillating years in the UK the Blanche Macdonald graduate-turned-instructor has returned to her hometown of Vancouver. Their loss is our gain. She’s now inspiring future generations of Makeup Artists to follow in her footsteps.
“Makeup was always my passion,” recalls Breianne. “Since I was a young girl I always saw makeup as something artistic rather than making people look pretty. I loved seeing the change and transformation. Growing up, my original goal was to become a professional dancer. At a certain point I knew that wasn’t going to be my future, but being exposed to the creative side of makeup through dancing helped me realize that it could be my career. When I was 20 I made the decision to come to Blanche Macdonald. I knew it was the best. I didn’t even look at another school.
“As soon as I started Makeup School I realized where I belonged in the industry. The beauty and fashion modules really caught my attention. I wasn’t a fashionista. It was more beauty than clothing that inspired me. I loved the artistic element of fashion makeup: everything was full of colour and beautiful imagery.”
Blanche Macdonald Graduate and Instructor Kari Zantolas Brings Prosthetics Perfection from Andromeda to Vancouver
For aspiring Makeup Artists enchanted by Fantasy and Science Fiction Makeup Effects, Kari Zantolas transforms classrooms into prosthetics-filled candy stores. Students at Canada’s top Makeup School immediately understand that they’re learning from one of the very best; a star on the teams on internationally beloved sci-fi productions, excelling in the roles of Head of the Prosthetics on Andromeda and Makeup Department First Assistant on Stargate Atlantis.
“I have a lot of passion for this,” smiles the Blanche Macdonald graduate-turned-instructor. “I love seeing that passion in my students and watching it drive them forward. I give them the tools they need, the opportunity to learn what I learned, and it always amazes me to see what they do with that. It’s incredible when students come back to Blanche Macdonald and tell me what they’re up to. There’s a sense of pride that comes with knowing I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
From Blanche Macdonald classrooms to sets of TV shows and movies like Scary Movie 3 and 4, Battlestar Galactica, Harper’s Island, Dark Angel, Mysterious Ways, Once Upon A Time, Life As We Know It, Reunion, Doing It, Little Man and White Chicks, Kari has been making a difference for two decades, ever since she decided to make the move to Vancouver from her native Ontario.
“I spent most of my youth dancing, singing and acting in musical theatre,” she explains. “I graduated from Sheridan College with a Musical Theatre degree. I wanted to start acting in film and my agent in Toronto suggested that my best bet was to move to Vancouver. So that’s what I did.
“Working as an actress in the theatre there were many times when I was responsible for my own makeup. I was the girl that people would ask, ‘Can you do mine too?’ I had knack for it and I liked it. I was auditioning in Vancouver but nothing was panning out. I thought if I could contribute to another aspect of the industry, I could still audition on the side. I really enjoyed it, so why not Makeup?”
With thousands of artists soaring into our halls from around the world each year, our classrooms have become dynamic global communities under the unitedly diverse banner of our Blanche World – a United Nations of creativity! In a glorious culture clash, our International students import a vibrant collection of new customs, insights and inspiration that colour our world in exciting new ways. The leap from their home countries to our corner of Canada comes with big change, courage and incredible journeys. Speaking in the international language of passion, we sit down with our global talent to talk the dreams that brought them here, the challenges they overcame, and all about the power of being an artistic representative in a new country. Meet the burgeoning stars that have joined us from around the globe in our UN storytelling!
Wachirawin Ariyanankul nearly didn’t make it to his first day of classes. Awaiting his Visa application to be processed, Win trekked through the Bangkok heat to the Canadian Embassy every single day, and those days ticked by, inching closer to the deadline of everything he had dreamed about. Finally, success! His Visa was approved. He hopped a plane from his native Thailand to Vancouver, and less than two days later – not time enough to shake his jet lag, let alone settle himself into a new country alone – Win stepped into the halls of the Blanche Macdonald Centre.
“I am so proud and very very excited. I have never lived outside of my country; I’ve only been on vacations around South Asia and never for more than a week. Vancouver is my first big city. I LOVE VANCITY, yahoo!”
We are every bit as enthusiastic as Win. Everyone who has since had the pleasure of meeting him has been blown away by his artistic grace and gratitude in learning, and that’s to say nothing of his makeup. A novice, Win certainly was not when he joined us in the International Co-op Makeup program at Blanche Macdonald; he left Bangkok as one of his city’s most renowned emerging artists. He came here to humble himself in the face of new knowledge, to learn the planes of the Western face, and continue to strengthen his professional clout.
Win had always been artistic, spending much of his free time drawing, but it was one bit of artistry in particular that caught his eye and kept it still; tagging along on a job with one of his Makeup Artist friends, he was mesmerized by her brushstrokes, by the transformation that followed the bristles’ dance. He wanted to create beauty like this.
Jennifer Folk’s students instantly realize that they’re learning from one of the very best. As one of Vancouver’s most respected on-screen makeup artists, Jennifer’s remarkable résumé includes movies like The Chronicles of Riddick, X-Men 3, Slither, Mr Magoo, White Chicks, The Santa Clause 2 and TV series The L-Word, Tru Calling, The 4400 and Painkiller Jane.
But inspiration is a two-way street. And Jennifer insists that her biggest makeup thrill is the work she sees on a regular basis as an Instructor and Associate Program Director at the school were she once studied; Blanche Macdonald.
“I’m blown away by the work that comes out of the artists here,” she beams. “I love those moments when you can hear a pin drop because everyone is so focused on their work. I love to see students’ work go beyond their own expectations. There’s been a new level in creativity over the past year. A few of my students graduated and went straight onto set. That’s amazing!”
If Jennifer is able to help students exceed their professional expectations, it’s because she’s been exceeding her own since she was a young lady growing up in North Vancouver, when friends coming over after school would inevitably be on the receiving end of a makeover.
“I loved the colours and different textures,” she recalls. “My grandmothers saw it was a passion of mine and nurtured it. They’d buy me big makeup trays from Sears and I would tan, blush and bronze my friends. Everything could always be washed off and it kept me out of mischief, so my family was happy!”
Once the teenage Jennifer had read an article in Elle about the makeup artistry behind the fashion industry, she knew her passion could turn into a career.
“You could do makeup for a living?” she laughs. “If I need to have a job, I’ll take that one! I took private lessons from Fay von Schroeder, who’s now one of our instructors. She’d been to Blanche Macdonald and had an amazing resume. Fay was getting busier and busier, so she started passing photo shoots to me. I found a modelling agency and started doing makeup for test shoots and brides. I wanted to learn more and every Makeup Artist I met told me the same thing – go to Blanche Macdonald.”