Marlayna Pincott is where kickass and kindness meets. Little about her warm, mellow tones assume the high-octane career behind them. And yet, this Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate-turned-beloved-instructor marvel has painted the faces of chart-toppers and A-list personalities – cue Carly Rae Jepsen, Sarah McLachlan, Kate Morgan and the Beckerman Twins – and has a client book slicked with sleek Fashion names like Aritzia, Hugo Boss, Lululemon, Nike and L’Oreal.
Signed on with supreme boutique roster Lizbell Agency for over five years now, Marlayna knows well the thrill of the professional beauty industry. She hustled the scene and achieved her dream position with an overwhelmingly inspiring policy of positivity, initiative and personal connection. We count ourselves (and our students) lucky to have her here with us.
Having just slipped out of her teaching role for the day, Marlayna joins us to perch in the sun-soaked lounge of our Atelier Campus, to talk therapy sessions with Metallica, a goals list full of checkmarks, and how she invented waterproof eyeliner.
Lizbell – I mean, we’re talking about one of the most esteemed agencies in Canada, repping BIG names. How did you make you way onto such an incredible team?
Through years of volunteering and assisting! I strategically booked all Lizbell models in my creatives so that my name would keep blowing through their office. I knew that Liz would always go through all of the photos of her models that came in. One day, I received a call from their office and they asked me if I could come in to talk about potential representation. I started out with them as a Manicurist, proving to them over time to put me on their Hair and Makeup team.
You are described as a ‘Beautician’ on the roster, and have quite a few talents on offer to your clients – what is the value of being multi-platformed in your creative interests, pursuits and knowledge?
Being really well-rounded in this industry opens a lot more doors for you. Having what would have been called beauty school experience and being able to do nails has allowed me to work with some incredible teams of artists from New York and elsewhere that had already had their Makeup covered. I’ve found that being able to do ‘it all’ has always led to other opportunities. It allows me to form personal relationships with clients on set because I can say, suggest that they come see me for a hair colour, or to have their nails done sometime. I also took Animation and Web Design, which I find really helps in knowing about the post-editing side of a shoot.
How did this all start – what was your ‘Cosmetic Awakening?’
After taking an Esthetics course, I decided to go into Animation. I would be designing my 3D characters, and I was more concentrated on the shoes they were wearing, their eyelashes and their hair than I was in the actual programming process!
I was blessed to be able to assist [BMC Makeup graduate-turned-instructor and Pro Artist] Jon Hennessey and [Pro Canadian Makeup Artist] Johnny Bellas (I was introduced to some amazing artists in the industry when I was assisting my Aunt, Tracey Pincott, with wardrobe styling and fashion show producing!) and it was working with those two that I actually saw that I could make Makeup a career. At the time I was also doing a bit of acting and modeling so I was around Makeup Artists a lot, and just seeing the different settings they could be working in. I grew up in a small town where Makeup was mostly bridal, and that wasn’t really enough for me. This was a new side of things. From there I just fell in love with the whole idea of Beauty as career.
So you were exposed to the industry quite early on! You must have had some incredible experiences assisting your Aunt – Tracey Pincott (‘Stylist at Large’) is a mainstay of the local scene.
One thing that I always stress to my students is how important it is to have an eager, positive attitude. My Aunt knows many great people in the industry, but one thing she taught me from an early age is that there’s no ‘special treatment.’ She would give my opportunity by putting me to work in a setting where I could potentially meet people, but would never ask them herself to let me assist them. I had to approach them professionally on my own with a mouthful of reasons why I would be a great volunteer assistant. I’m happy to have learned this lesson because it has pushed me to be independent with my success. I feel I have truly earned it.
Do you have an on-set memory that stands out to you?
I was working with Metallica and [bassist] Robert Trujillo came storming backstage. He was livid – swearing, throwing his arms, throwing a fit – because one of the security guards was trying to kick him out. I guess they didn’t know Metallica very well, and Rob didn’t have a pass on because they were the main talent. It was really rewarding being able to take him from a hundred down to zero. That’s a huge part of our job as Makeup Artists is to be a part-time therapist, reigning things in when somebody has to go out to perform. I truly realized that in this situation. The energy that you’re putting out there with the talent before they go out and perform is so important.
Do you have any personal on or pre-set rituals?
I’m really into smudging [burning sage for emotional, psychic, and spiritual cleansing]! I don’t do it on set; I do it at home before I leave. I’ll smudge my kit and myself. And I always carry around crystals. I have a big Amethyst and a little one so that I can keep the smaller one in my hand.
I’m really fascinated by crystal healing, and the different uses of incense throughout various cultures and traditions. I like to use some of these learned rituals in my morning routines before a big job.
What’s your favourite trick for a tight shot?
What I’ll do is find out what the main focus is and start with that. So if they wanted eyes, lips and skin, I’d start with whichever they were focusing on and put on a coat of mascara that I can build up later if I need to and have time.
What is your current kit obsession?
My little mascara brush from M·A·C! It’s really great for people with blonde lashes; it can be hard to get right to the root with a wand, but with this brush you can get right in there. You can really build up the mascara with it too.
And, I must always have my soy sauce dish. I put my foundations and my moisturizers in it, and I’ll use it for my brush cleaner too, once the day is done.
Do you have a hilariously regrettable personal Makeup phase?
Oh ya. Absolutely. Back in highschool and before there was waterproof liquid liner, I would use toothpicks with waterproof mascara and I would put it on in this gnarly thick line. It was so bad that my Aunt, who works in Fashion, had one of her Makeup Artist friends have an intervention with me.
That’s actually quite inventive!
I wish I had patented it!
What is something that is inspiring you creatively lately?
[Blanche Macdonald Makeup Instructor and graduate] Tim Hung is inspiring me lately! I just love how he’s doing everything. It’s cool because he’s a part of the Blanche family and I’ve known Tim for a very very long time. I like to be inspired by people who are in my reach, more so than celebrity Makeup Artists. [BMC Makeup graduate and international Fashion & Celebrity Makeup Artist] Andrea Tiller is really inspiring me as well. Her and I started out around the same time, and she’s just doing so well. She totally earned it too, with how hard she works! It’s nice to see.
Having worked in the industry, what do you think about the students and Blanche Macdonald – how do they set themselves apart?
Often I need assistants on jobs. Even more so after my bad car accident a few years ago (it is really hard for me to lift anything too heavy these days). When I needed volunteers in the past I would always contact [BMC Makeup Career Director] Heather Sosa because Blanche graduates seem to always have a great understanding of the industry. They will always show up on time (which in this industry means 15 minutes early), they are always following proper dress code on jobs, and come ready with a solid amount of set etiquette knowledge.
Blanche has a profound reputation not just in BC but around the globe. When I have to get a sub instructor for any of my classes so that I can make a booking I know that my students will have an amazing experience in class that day either way, because Blanche has a wealth of talent on their roster. Every instructor at Blanche is actively working in the industry, keeping things current for their lessons. A majority of this city’s successful artists are teaching here! When you’re working at your own success, it’s great to be surrounded by inspiring, talented artists. I most certainly am at Blanche!
Looking back at your career from where you currently stand, what is your biggest point of pride?
The moment I was finally signed on by Lizbell. I had worked at that for so long and it’s really great to have someone so inspiring put their faith in you. I admire so many artists on the roster. To be next to them on the site is just so great.
I just moved out of my place recently – I had lived there for seven years – and as I was packing up my closet I found this book. In it I had written a whole bunch of goals while I was still at Blanche. I remember that when I was writing those goals they seemed so unreachable, but I wrote them down anyways. I was actually able to check of everything on that list. It was so cool.
What drives you in your artistry and career?
The happiness and freedom I get from doing something that I absolutely love. My favorite quote is “If you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life.” That doesn’t mean I find my job easy by any means. It just means that I can deal with day to day challenges with a huge smile on my face! That’s also important for my students to know. If you never feel challenged at work, then you need to work harder.
What is your personal motto in career and artistry?
Always express gratitude, stay positive and be humble. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.