Today we’d like to introduce you to Mairelys Alfonso.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My journey into this industry started about ten years ago. All throughout school, until I graduated, art was my favorite subject. I was so passionate about it but figured I’d never been able to make a living off a painting. My first instinct was to be a tattoo artist, but, that was short lived. Mainly due to the fear of making a permanent mistake. So, what’s the next best thing? Makeup!
(Mind you, I never really wore makeup back then.)
I thought to myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? They don’t like it? Just wipe it off! No harm, no foul.”
That’s how it happened. That’s how I decided I wanted to be a makeup artist. It was a different medium and canvas but most of the same principles applied. I went to beauty school and received my full specialist license. To be honest, though, I learned more on my own watching YouTube and practicing than I did in school.
I am blessed to have always had supportive people in my life. People who believed in me and pushed me to be better, when I didn’t give myself enough credit. I “worked” doing photo shoots with models before I was hired at Mac Cosmetics. (Most of which were never paid, but I didn’t care because it was the art of it that I loved. The freedom of expressing my creativity).
Once I started at Mac though, that’s where I really learned the most. I’m grateful to have been with the company for five years. Five years of learning, practicing, networking, and making life long friends within the industry.
Fast forward to 2019. Today, I am a freelance makeup artist, working for myself. My work is not limited to one style of makeup. I work doing anything from photo shoots, weddings, event makeup, prom, to maternity, all the way to working on Yahoo!, VH1 and Bravo.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road.
There have definitely been obstacles along the way. I didn’t always believe in myself, especially when I first started. I would compare myself to someone who had been doing it for years.
That’s mistake number one.
If I have any advice for someone who is inspired to start down the road of being a makeup artist, I’d say the first rule is to believe in yourself and PRACTICE!
Practice on any and everybody besides yourself. Be open to feedback.
Start at a makeup counter. It may not be somewhere you’d want to be forever. But, it will definitely set the ground for diversity and pushing you to step outside your comfort zone. As a freelance artist, the most challenging part is not knowing if/when your next client will be. But one thing I do have faith in, it’s that they always come around. From one day to the next, you can be booked for the entire week or month. Stay strong, stay dedicated, put yourself out there, and NETWORK.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about your business – what should we know?
I am a freelance makeup artist.
I specialize in many forms of Makeup.
Weddings. Photo shoots. Film. Event Makeup. Prom. Sweet 15’s/16’s, Maternity, Senior pictures, etc.
What I find myself working the most lately though would have to be, weddings and film/television.
What I am most proud of as a service provider is the way my clients feel after I’m done with them. The way they look in the mirror and seem to fall in love with themselves all over again. The light in their eyes and the “thank you” from their souls.
That’s what makes this career path so rewarding. It’s not the makeup itself that I do it for. It’s the way I can make women feel empowered and confident in themselves with just a little touch of a brush.
In my opinion, if anything sets me apart from the rest, it would have to be the way I communicate with others in my field.
The mission is to help each other out and to help each other grow. For example, if I have too much work that I can’t handle on my own, I have created bonds with other great makeup artists on whom I can rely on to help me out. Which in return is getting them more work and vice versa. This is a community of people who face the same challenges. The one thing that makes teamwork so fulfilling though, is seeing each other succeed.
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
The most important piece of advice I could give to a young woman who is just starting her career would be to practice on everyone, document your progress, and network.
Practice work on different skin types, ethnicities, and ages. This will be challenging in the beginning but rewarding. As it will make you a well-rounded makeup artist with enough knowledge to be able to cater to all walks of life.
Document your progress so that you have not only your work to show. But also, so that years down the road, you can visually see how far you’ve come.
Networking is everything when it comes to this industry. Make business cards and hand them out to everyone you meet.
Make an effort to go to places and meet people in different fields but that is still within the industry. Examples: Wedding planners, bridal stores, photography studios, hair salons, nail salons, boutiques, etc.
- Instagram: Mairelysmua
Jason Bassett, Chris Duarte, Natalie Melissa, Chriswavesnow