When most people think of artists, they do not think of makeup artists, although most of us are looking at the work of makeup artists on the daily, whether it’s in the sci-fi movie we are taking our children to or whether we’re looking at models in magazines, in the newspapers or on television, or whether it is the models that decorate billboards and bus benches.
Michelle Anyanwu is a newly found makeup artist who recently had the courage to make a career change from a high paying job in corporate America to a maverick freelance makeup artist, who moved to be closer to the city where she could turn her dream occupation into a reality. Check her out in this exclusive Q&A …
M.O.I. JR: Can you describe to us what it is you do? How did you get interested in it?
Michelle Anyanwu: My craft is one of transformation. From beauty to theatre, makeup is designed to make a person look or feel different. The effects can be internal or external – emotional or physical – and if you’re good, both elements are achieved simultaneously.
I didn’t even realize how empowering this craft was until I took a theatrical makeup design class at San Francisco’s City College. Within one semester, I knew that this was going to be my next career. I could feel it in my bones; it came so very natural to me.
I’ve always been artistically inclined, but I could never find a medium that kept me interested. The human face is a live canvas, each unique in its very own way. I love this challenge and I can witness my work come to life. It’s very rewarding.
M.O.I. JR: How did you get into the field? What has your experience been like?
Michelle Anyanwu is currently specializing in makeup for theater and film. These are examples.
Michelle Anyanwu: After taking classes at San Francisco’s City College I became more focused and moved to LA, where I could continue my craft. It’s been very different from a normal 9-5 job: You are your own boss and have more of a responsibility for your success.
You get as much out of it as you put into it. No one is necessarily going to solicit you for work. You definitely have to hustle a bit and get out there and talk to people.
I enjoy it. It keeps me on my feet and I continue to learn new things every day. It’s definitely a far cry from the monotonous, predictable cubical I sat in for over 10 years.
So you ask, “What has your experience been like?” Absolutely wonderful. I’ve changed my life and took a chance on doing something I love. I’m so happy.
M.O.I. JR: What are some of the projects you have worked on?
Michelle Anyanwu: So far I have worked on a movie, “Driving by Braille,” set to release in March of 2010. I’ve also worked on a movie trailer, several theater projects, such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and a few others.
In this new year, I will be working on a student thesis film. These are great to get your name out there, especially if it goes on the film festival circuit. Of course, I do beauty makeup applications all the time. This seems to be the regular course of my work but my heart is in theater and film these days.
M.O.I. JR: Are there any makeup artists that you look up to or are inspired by their work?
Michelle Anyanwu: Absolutely. Pat McGrath, the late Kevyn Aucoin and a local San Francisco hair and makeup artist, Adam Fleischhauer. I met Adam before I moved to LA. He’s so very talented and his work goes beyond convention. That’s important in this business.
M.O.I. JR: What kind of makeup do you use?
Michelle Anyanwu: It depends on the job, the type of skin and more importantly lighting. HD film requires special makeup and theatre requires a heavy dramatic application. So you really have to not necessarily have favorites and use the products with the best impacts.
For myself, however, I do love liquid based foundations. I find that some women tend to cover their beauty rather than enhance it. This is a fine line and I hope to continue educating women in this area.
M.O.I. JR: What is the trick to making makeup look good in different settings?
Michelle Anyanwu: Know your lighting, plain and simple. Highlights and shadows are most important and can make or break a makeup application. You have to know where the light source is.
M.O.I JR: What kind of projects are you working on now?
Michelle Anyanwu: I was working on personal makeup applications for the holidays, and I’m gearing up for two shoots I have in January. Both are high fashion makeup applications and I’m pretty excited about them. These are going to be great pieces for my portfolio.
M.O.I. JR: If people would like to stay connected with you, how can they get in contact with you online?
Michelle Anyanwu: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on www.modelmayhem.com – screen name makeupanyway.
Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at email@example.com and visitwww.blockreportradio.com.