Today I am excited to introduce you all to local makeup artist Lindsey Rourke. I have recently met her and we had an instant connection. We met for coffee one day and talked about collaborating, so that means you will see a good bit of her on the blog. I know that you will enjoy upcoming posts that we will be working on. In the meantime, please check out her website, Facebook, and Instagram!
Below there is an interview that I conducted with Lindsey and I hope you enjoy it!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been in the beauty industry for 10 years. I am a makeup artist, a licensed esthetician and I’m currently working on my instructors license. As a matter of fact, I take my State Board exam really soon!
I am one of the teachers in the esthetics program at Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology in Spartanburg, in addition to running my own freelance business. I actually live in Hendersonville, North Carolina so I travel quite a bit all over the Carolinas for various jobs.
2. How did you get into the business?
I was freshly 18, living just outside of Charlotte, NC, and working at a portrait studio in a local mall. We had this super cute makeup area for the clients that I was completely obsessed with. It had a vanity with a huge lit mirror and tons of products where we would get people ready for their photo sessions. Occasionally, when I was lucky and no one else was available, they would allow me to do the makeup for a shoot.
One day, I was alone in the store when a guest wanted a tour of the studio and pricing information. It happened to be that this woman was the manager of the cosmetics department in Macy’s at another mall. I guess she saw something in me because a few days later she called me at the store and asked if I was interested in a position she had open at the Lancome counter.
So I began working there, then sometime later I got a job working at a Bare Minerals boutique, and after that I started working with MAC Cosmetics.
Two years ago I decided to get out of the retail world and pursue a license in Esthetics. It was something I had thought about for years but I never pulled the trigger on it for various personal reasons. I made the decision to relocate from Charlotte, NC, to upstate SC and I enrolled at Kenneth Shuler. The program was a perfect fit for me and it was definitely the best decision I ever made for myself. After graduation, I came on board as a sub to fill in when needed, and then I was lucky enough to be asked to come on as a full time instructor.
Having the experience of being a makeup artist for the last 10 years, and now being a licensed professional has really opened a lot of doors for me. I love being a part of both of these industries because they really go hand in hand. It’s not just about the artistry and the technique, which is obviously of great importance in this field. But it really boils down to the health of the skin. It all starts there. There wouldn’t be makeup artist OR estheticians if we didn’t have faces to work on.
3. What is your favorite part of the job?
There are really so many aspects about this field that I love. With freelancing, without a doubt my favorite part is traveling and meeting new people. A large part of my freelance business is doing makeup for weddings and bodybuilding competitions, so I’m constantly meeting new people and hearing their stories. It’s a real honor to get to be a part of such a big day in someone’s life.
But as an instructor, I would say my favorite part would be witnessing a student’s “light bulb” moment when the material just clicks. Seeing that good test grade, watching them feel more comfortable with the hands on work…that’s the best because I know I taught them that.
Otherwise its education, education, education, and product, product, product! I feel like I learn something every single day because there’s always so much going on in this industry. I love having the opportunity to constantly further my education and get my hands on new products.
4. What are three tools in your makeup kit that you can never, ever be without?
Oh man, this is a hard one! I guess it depends on whether or not we’re talking about my own personal stash or my freelance kit. For my own personal use, I cannot live without a good daily moisturizer with sunscreen and a BB cream. Those start my routine every single morning. I also live and die by a good highlight/contour palette.
For my freelance kit I would say my MAC 217 blending brush. It’s a must have for eyeshadow and I have several of them. I would also say my metal artist’s palette that I use to work off of and blend colors, and lashes. Every good makeup artist needs to have a stash of band lashes in a variety of styles and lengths.
5. Any great stories from working with a client?
I really have so many. I feel really lucky to have been able to connect with so many people and I really haven’t had anyone tell me they’ve had a bad experience with me.
Most recently, I was doing makeup appointments for a bodybuilding competition and one of my clients brought me some presents! She’s a physicians assistant to a dermatologist and she knows my love for skincare so she brought me several products from their office. I thought that was so, so generous.
Another experience that sticks out in my mind was something that happened several years ago. I was working at MAC in Belk Southpark in Charlotte and on this particular day I was alone at the counter. A mom was shopping with her teenage daughter and I could tell they were having a really rough day. The mother told me that she had just come from her daughter’s school where she had a meeting with the principal. This girl was very advanced academically, but was being bullied and tortured by some of the students and she was having a really difficult time with some mental and emotional issues as a result. The mother felt so frustrated and helpless and they both cried as they told me what they had been dealing with. I gave them both a big hug and did my best to raise their spirits. I remember just feeling shocked because, to me, this girl was so beautiful and I could’t imagine how she wound up the target of that kind of cruelty.
I made it a point to tell the girl just how precious she was and how important it is to realize that her time in school is just temporary. One day she would look back and none of those people will matter. All that mattered is that she stayed on track with her education and she does her best to be a good and kind person in spite of anyone else. I told them both about my own struggles I was having in my personal life and gave them my phone number and email address and invited them to get a hold of me if they were ever in need of encouragement or wanted to talk about anything.
That Christmas the mom got in touch with me and told me what a blessing I was that day in their lives, and called me their angel. I was floored by the fact that an insignificant day at the mall turned into this wonderful thing.
They were from out of town, but whenever they were in the area they would stop by the counter and see me. It’s been ages since we’ve gotten to see teach other but I still keep in contact with both of them on Facebook. I’m happy to say the daughter has grown so much and is absolutely thriving. She made it out on the other side of that difficult time in her life a better person for it, but so many kids aren’t that lucky.
It’s amazing to me that being in this industry has allowed me rich experiences like that one. You would think that people like doctors and social workers are the ones who make a difference, but as a makeup artist working at a cosmetic counter I had a positive impact on someone’s life that day.
For me, this field is about more than playing with makeup. It’s really about creating genuine connections with people.
6. What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I really love doing anything outdoors. Living in the mountains there are so many fun things you can get into, so this summer I’ve really tried to take advantage of that. There’s something like over 250 waterfalls in Western North Carolina, so my boyfriend and I have tried to see as many of those as we can. We’ve gone on camping, kayaking and hiking trips. We also love going to local breweries, trying new restaurants and hitting up the farmers market or checking out live music. Just doing our best to get in touch with the local culture and trying to support small businesses.
7. What makes you different from others in this field?
I think just who I am as a person and the experiences I bring to the table. Aside from being a seasoned makeup artist, I’m a licensed professional and a teacher. I think having those credentials makes me more well rounded and qualified in the eyes of my clients. I feel it brings a certain level of trust and comfort in people who book with me.
That being said, there is certainly a large population of makeup artists and professionals who are more talented than I am who have more experience than I do in this field.
But my hope is to continue to learn and improve my artistry and to let my work speak for itself.
8.What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned, and would pass along to others starting in this field?
First, I would say to be persistent in what you want and to not let yourself become complacent. It’s easy to get frustrated, but success doesn’t happen over night so you have to stay the course. I remember when I first started out I was constantly doing work for free to get my name out there. I still do it! Just put in the time and eventually you will get where you want to be.
Secondly, I would express the importance of networking and promoting yourself. Build a portfolio, get business cards made, use social media to bring attention to what you do. There is no substitute for good marketing.
Lastly, I would tell anyone entering this field to have a hunger for learning. Take classes, try out new brands and techniques, educate yourselves. Especially on safety and sanitation which is such a vital aspect of this job. Always push to expand on your knowledge.