There’s nothing rare about a Makeup Artist taking inspiration from their time at Blanche Macdonald. But Paloma Guerard has taken that inspiration to its ultimate conclusion. She was so moved by her time at Canada’s #1 Makeup School, she’s used it as the blueprint to create her own in her hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico.
“In a lot of makeup schools in Mexico teachers keep their secrets,” explains Paloma. “They’ll tell you the basics but they don’t teach you everything. After I’d experienced Blanche Macdonald I wanted to give students that same kind of education. I knew I could share the amazing experience that I had, which is what students deserve.”
Paloma and the Colómbe Makeup School’s reputation are growing rapidly. There were five students in the first class she taught. Four years later, she’s seen over 400 Makeup Artists graduate, and has had to employ three instructors to keep up with demand.
It’s only natural that Paloma’s been inspired to share her love of makeup. It’s been her passion for as long as she can remember.
“I always wanted to change and transform people. I wanted to reflect the beauty they have on the inside and make them feel amazing. I saw that as a child when my mom would put on her makeup. I wanted to turn that passion into my profession. I would see makeup in fashion magazines and on TV and movies and knew I wanted that to be my career. I would go through magazines looking for new products and new looks. I loved the transformation.”
Paloma took her first makeup course at the age of 12, but it was only when she stumbled upon a Blanche Macdonald stand at a career fair when she was 17 that she knew that she could make makeup her life’s work.
“I did some research, learned a bit more and could see that Blanche Macdonald was the best of the best. I was crazy about doing the paperwork to get to Canada!”
Once she arrived in Vancouver, those high expectations were immediately met.
“It was better than I’d hoped,” she insists. “Blanche Macdonald is the best makeup school with the best facilities. Truly, it was the best experience of my life. It’s a beautiful environment with masters and mentors that will give you everything. They’re professionals who have worked with stars on big movies, with pop stars and top models. And they were always sharing their personal tips. They didn’t keep any knowledge to themselves. They shared everything and all their experiences in detail. I was the first one to get to class and I never wanted to leave once the class was over. It was amazing. That’s something I try to bring that to my students now.
“I knew Mexico wasn’t challenging me creatively. Coming to Blanche Macdonald was what let me be a creative Makeup Artist. I became open to new ideas. I began to understand that there are no rules in makeup. If you make a mistake, maybe that mistake will work and it could become a look next year? As I went through each level on the program I lost my fears. I started feeling like a professional because I was learning so much.”
As befitted one of Blanche Macdonald most enthusiastic international students, Paloma was working professionally before she’d even graduated.
“My instructor nominated me to do a bride's wedding,” she smiles. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m a Makeup Artist!’ Once I got back to Mexico I did a cover shoot for a local magazine called Red Carpet. They trusted me, which gave me more confidence in myself. It was a worth the year’s studying just for that moment!”
Since returning to Mexico, Paloma’s freelance makeup career has been varied and spectacular. Her expertise as a Bridal Makeup specialist has led her to work with high profile magazines, with models including Sofia Monaco, and Rosa Clara, one of Spain's top wedding dress lines.
Embracing the personal doesn’t mean Paloma has moved away from the spectacular, working on the biggest stages with superstars like singer Alejandro Fernandez and at The Pan American Games.“To me, Bridal Makeup is incredible,” continues Paloma. “It’s very special when women include me in one of best moments of their lives. The adrenaline that one lives in that single day is so special. It is something truly inexplicable. Each bride is unique and I love to reflect and highlight each individual’s personality and beauty.”
“To me, Alejandro Fernandez is one of the best singers of Mexican music. To work with such a talented person and to be included in the production for the video of “Bajo una Ceiba”, which was for the movie “Hecho en Mexico”, was incredible. If I’m doing a music video, hopefully the artist will let me be an artist and let me express myself. Alejandro completely trusted my work and style.
“At the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Pan American Games I applied makeup to great artists like Diego Torres, Maná, Camila, José Luis Duval, Olivia Gorra, Eugenia Leon, and Grupo Jotdog. For those events I was given the responsibility of creating a work team that was formed from students from Colómbe. That was an unforgettable experience.”
Providing students with incredible professional opportunities is just one of the ways Paloma is seeking to emulate the education experience she discovered at Blanche Macdonald.
“Starting a Makeup School was always a dream of mine. Collecting all the information, learning the business part and creating it from scratch was hard, but one day I said to myself, ‘This is the day! This is the day I become like Blanche Macdonald!’
“I had five girls in my first class. Standing there as a teacher was amazing. When you are a teacher you have to keep learning more and more and more. I’m always going to classes and seminars to make sure I stay on top. At the same time, I learn a lot from my students. They are an inspiration to me. I share my knowledge and I see them improve. I can feel myself in my grads’ work. So many students come to Colómbe from around Mexico now, not just Guadalajara. That makes me happy. I want to become like Blanche Macdonald. That’s the aim!”
For now Paloma is still happy to enjoy the mentorship and support of her friends at Blanche Macdonald. So much so, she still recommends a trip to Vancouver to Colómbe graduates looking to continue their studies.
“I’m always talking about Blanche Macdonald and promoting it. If someone can afford to go there, I tell them they should do it and have the experience in Canada. I’m passionate about Blanche Macdonald. They are masters. They weren’t just teaching me about Makeup. They were preparing me for life.”