It started with browsing through makeup how-to videos on YouTube. For broadcasting graduate Jennifer Francis, the hobby soon turned into a second career opportunity.
“Once you watch one, you get addicted (and then) you want to pursue it,” she says. “I thought it’d be super cool if I could do more than one role so if I wasn’t doing television, like shooting and directing, I could go into the makeup artist role.”
So Francis returned to her alma mater in January, enrolling in Centennial College’s makeup techniques certificate program. Covering three 30-hour courses, the program is designed for anyone with an interest in cosmetics. “Different walks of life come through to take the courses,” says lead instructor Jacquie Hutchinson, who has taught in the program for 12 years.
“I have some students who want to become makeup artists, or to do something on the side like weddings for friends ... Some want to work in theatre or in fashion shows or do film makeup.”
The first course, makeup techniques, gives students a solid foundation to build on, says Hutchinson. In addition to basic makeup applications, students also learn about skin care. “The best-looking makeup can only look as good as it can be on incredible skin,” she says.
Each class includes a demonstration by Hutchinson, who is also a national product trainer and makeup artist for Revlon. Students then perform their own applications using products from the school’s makeup lab or from home. Practicing on classmates gives them the chance to work with different skin types and tones, says Hutchinson.
In makeup artistry I and II, students develop skills such as eyebrow shaping, highlighting, contouring and putting together makeup kits. They also learn how to create different looks for weddings, film, runway, photography and other special occasions.
Classes are small, so students get the individual attention they want, says Hutchinson.
“It’s not a lecture class. It’s very hands-on ... At the end of each class, we (examine) each look and we break it down and look at ways to improve it, and this is how we learn from each other as well.”
Since completing the program in August, Francis has freelanced on various makeup jobs including actor headshots and glamour shoots. She sees her new skills as the perfect supplement to her day job doing corporate videos.
“It just keeps you working and I really like this genre — television, film and all that,” she says. “If I’m able to direct and able to do makeup at the same time, it’s a bonus.”
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