It’s that time of the year where we start reflecting on the year so far and planning for the next. For some, that may involve progressing to the next year in high school, entering or leaving university, or moving on to an alternative pathway. It can be difficult to know where to go next and what to do if you don’t have access to the knowledge you need. In this series, we’re interviewing people from a range of different professions about their stories, experiences, and learnings. First up is Jessica Jean Locke, a makeup artist from Tauranga.


What made you want to become a makeup artist?

I have always been interested in all things beauty and self-care, probably since I was born! This may sound crazy, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing dress up as a child or sneaking into mama’s closet and trying on her makeup while she was out.


Where do you get your inspiration for your makeup looks?

Mainly Instagram, sometimes fashion magazines, and Pinterest.

What steps have you taken to grow your career as a makeup artist?

As a teenager I started experimenting with makeup on myself properly, following a whole bunch of YouTube tutorials – some of them were quite good! Friends at school started asking me questions about makeup and I would kind of sound like I know what I’m talking about. So, I started applying makeup on friends and was very happy with the result! Just after I got married (2015) I got into Mary Kay, became a consultant and hoped to sell their products for a little bit of profit in return. Through doing hour and a half-long makeovers on friends from bible college (where I was living and had studied at the time), people then started asking me to do their makeup for graduations, which happened twice to three times a year.

I collected more and more make up and started taking on paid bookings ($25 per person). The bookings continued to come as friends got married and re-booked me for special occasions, and my rate went up as I gained more experience. Mid this year (2017), I decided to take on makeup artistry as a serious part- time career as I finish my Business Degree through Massey. A local award-winning makeup artist, Lillybeth approached me in July to come on board and be one of the “Lillybeth Artists”. I accepted the offer with much excitement and have been receiving training from her, and working alongside her since then.

What lessons have you learnt while pursuing your career? 

Perseverance and hard work is definitely needed, and a lot of volunteered time and makeup to start off with while I build my portfolio and business. It’s good to let it grow organically, don’t push it! People need time to trust our work and we need time to grow in this career. I have been doing makeup for people on the side while I’ve been studying and working in retail jobs. It has been very enjoyable and there has been no pressure as I have actively pursued this career while I pursue all my other dreams too!


What do you think is the biggest misconception about a career as a makeup artist?

It’s all about vanity or that makeup artists are vain. I have met the most beautiful hearted makeup artists. They do this because they love to make other women feel good about themselves and look the best versions of themselves. Some would also say they want to bring out the beauty that is on the inside. All these reasons 100% motivate me to do makeup for other women!

Where would you like to see your career as a makeup artist heading?

I would like to release my website (once exam season is over and I can work on it again) and do this as my only part-time job for the future. I can’t see myself doing only makeup artistry as my only job yet though! I love the business world and travelling too much!


What advice would you give to young people who want to pursue a career as a makeup artist?

If you love it, keep doing it! If you’re terrified by doing other people’s make up, be brave and keep learning, keep doing it, on friends or family to start off with. Don’t force your big-bang makeup career to happen, remember that old saying ”Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well it really wasn’t, neither are our careers… keep chipping away at it, keep learning, promote yourself, volunteer to good causes, and never doubt yourself! Don’t give up! So much love for you reading this, you got this!

Jessica Jean Locke (left)