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Heather Currie: Career of a Make-Up Artist

Rosanne Ullman | July 10, 2011 | 10:12 AM

Heather Currie didn't go to make-up school. Heck, she didn't even go to cosmetology school. But if you've seen country singer Faith Hill's radiant face staring out from your TV or the cover of a CD or magazine, chances are you've seen the brush-and-pencil work of Heather Currie.

"I didn't seek out make-up," Currie explains. "I was creative when I was younger, and make-up was something that evolved."

early indication

Every weekend during grade school in her native Texas, Currie went to painting classes. Next she took sewing classes. Nevertheless, after college graduation Currie started a career that had nothing at all to do with art. Working in the marketing department of a San Francisco health insurance firm, she was veering farther and farther from the creative trail she'd seemed to be blazing for herself in her earlier years.

There was one link to Currie's artistic past, however: film. She frequently found herself watching an independent or foreign film, fascinated by the way a camera could capture visual images to convey an idea. Miles south in Los Angeles, Currie's sister was working for a TV industry magazine. That may not have been filmmaking exactly, but it was close enough. Peeking into her sister's world inspired Currie to change career direction.

"I moved to L.A. and began working for a producer at a film production company," Currie recalls. "That's when I started learning more about make-up; it's how I even knew that a job as a professional make-up artist existed. When I needed to supplement my income, I took a second job working at a cosmetics counter."

As time went on, the pull toward make-up grew stronger. She began apprenticing. "I assisted some amazing make-up artists," Currie says. "That's how I really got started in this field." Eventually, it came time to strike out on her own. "I've been lucky, because my parents have always supported what I've wanted to do," Currie continues. "But the logic of leaving a 9-5 career and starting to freelance was a little scary."

you can do it, too

Today, the only thing that may scare Currie is that 24-hour days allow barely enough time to fit in all the work that comes her way. She's registered with the Cloutier Agency (see her work at www.cloutieragency.com/heathercurrie), and Faith Hill is only one of her celebrity clients. She's done shoots for In Style and Glamour, worked on set at Black Eyed Peas videos and shot commercials for Revlon and Olay.

Currie advises young professionals interested in a career in make-up to scout places that use make-up artists. For example, go to the nearest city where there's a local television station, and find the person who does the make-up.

"Ask questions of any make-up people you can find," she urges. "Ask them how they got started doing this professionally."

Practice is also crucial. "Practice on your friends," Currie suggests. "Find people who are going to special events, getting married or getting their picture taken. If you love doing make-up and have the talent and the drive, go for it!"

Heather Currie: Career of a Make-Up Artist
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