One of my very first jobs doing hair and makeup was at Glamour Shots, a makeover photography studio inside malls all over America. It’s probably best known for its early ’90s images of women in feather boas and big teased permed hair. Or my favorite … “the holding of a bedazzled leather jacket collar” pose.
I was about 17 years old—a junior in high school when I worked as a makeup artist at this Northern Virginia studio in Springfield Mall. I remember wanting that job more than anything in the world. Deep down in my teenage heart, I knew that position was meant for me. And when I was hired, a light bulb went off. Chills. I knew, at an early age, this was my trajectory. Every cell in my body said, “This is absolutely my career path!”
I have always been a devotee of the arts. A painter. A sculptor. A doodler. My favorite subject matter always was and always will be women. Beautiful, feminine figures and faces. And so, enhancing the beauty of real life-breathing women with the use of makeup and curling irons was a medium that came so divinely and naturally to me.
Springfield Mall was definitely a melting pot in the D.C. metropolitan area. So diverse. I very quickly and skillfully learned how to work with all ethnicities, ages, skin, and hair types. Dark skin, light skin, plump skin, wrinkled skin, teenage acne-prone skin. Curly hair, straight hair, fine hair, course hair. Blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, etc. I became very comfortable and confident with anybody who sat in my chair. This job also taught me how to work fast and efficiently under pressure. And being able to scrutinize my customers’ photographs instantly gave me an eye for what works (or doesn’t work) on camera. Everything I learned from my experience at Glamour Shots was invaluable.
But the best part was not what I learned, but how much fun I had in the process. That included messing up and goofing off. Playing dress-up with my girlfriends in silly outfits and ridiculous backdrops. When you can laugh and have fun doing what you do, or laugh at and make fun of what you do, 🙂 you’re probably on the right path in life.