I met this young woman at the RVA Music Fest Hip-Hop Hooray Event a few months ago. Not only was she strikingly beautiful, but I assumed she was a model. Well, Ms. Carmen Dianne Thomas is a makeup artist. So to inspire our make-up loving fashionistas and up and coming make-up and style professionals, I asked her to tell us a little about her journey and her inspirations. Check out the interview with Carmen Dianne and contact her to collaborate or work with her in the future. She is amazingly humble but very talented. I’m sure you will be inspired by her story.
Carmen Dianne Thomas was always “that” child, you know, that little girl who loved to try on her mother’s heels and play in her makeup. She has always been intrigued by makeup, even at a young age, and that passion has never left her. It stuck with her as a hobby and eventually evolved into her career.
While attending Old Dominion University for Business Administration and Marketing, Carmen volunteered to do the makeup for a school fashion show. It was at this show that she realized that she has the potential to be a professional makeup artist. Originally from Maryland by way of Petersburg VA, Carmen currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.
Carmen has accomplished a lot in just a few short years. After realizing makeup was more than just a hobby Carmen began to hone her skills by gaining experience working at MAC Cosmetics, Benefit Cosmetics, and Sephora USA, Inc.
She has also worked with many notable clients including Sean “P. Diddy” Comb’s son, Justin Combs, politician Scott Rigell, in addition to having her work published nationally. She has even been recognized two years in a row by her Virginia community with a nomination for Makeup Artist of the Year at the Virginia Fashion Awards (2009 & 2010.) Carmen strongly believes in the importance of hard work, professionalism, and integrity. She strives hard to perfect her craft every day and is here to meet your makeup needs.
First, I asked her …. What inspired you to create your business or get into your field as a MUA?
CD: I was intrigued by makeup for as long as I can remember. I used to go in my mom’s makeup bag all the time to play & experiment as a little girl. As I grew up my passion for makeup grew as well, but I never considered it as a career until I was in college. Makeup was always something fun, but I did not see it as a reliable job. It wasn’t until I volunteered to do makeup for an ODU fashion Show that I realized I could really do this as a career. All the models loved their makeup, I received good responses on the pictures, and that was all the encouragement it took me to pursue makeup artistry.
GTD: What Feedback did you get from friends and family?
CD: Everybody was supportive of me. For the first few years of my career I worked for different cosmetic companies so work was pretty stable, but when I decided to go completely freelance I did get a little resistance from my parents. My parents continue to urge me to get a job using my degree, which is in Marketing. I just tell them that I use my degree every day for my business. Although they still encourage me to get a regular job in my field, they will always support me. The encouragement that I get from my friends and family is what keeps me motivated when things are exactly going my way.
GTD: What obstacles have you overcome or are currently overcoming?
CD: Being a freelancer in the fashion & entertainment industry is most challenging because it is not always consistent, especially in Virginia. VA is not exactly the fashion capitol so I have to do a lot of traveling to get the type of gigs I really want. I am planning to relocate very soon to a bigger market with more consistency.
GTD: What perks, benefits, or blessings have you had since you started?
CD: One of the perks is receiving makeup & beauty products to sample and use on clients. I enjoy traveling so that is always fun. I really enjoy my clients. The projects I work on vary so much and it is nice to meet so many different people. I feel blessed to have the ability to enhance someone’s natural beauty because it really is much more than makeup. When you look good you feel good and I love being able to give that affect.
CD: I want women to embrace their natural beauty. Makeup is not here to cover up, but to enhance and I really like for all women to see that in my work and for my clients to feel that way after their appointments. Makeup is not just about being shallow and superficial. I am always looking for ways to use makeup to make the world a better place. I am currently looking for charity events and organizations to align myself with. I really would like to do something with a breast cancer foundation or an organization for battered women. I feel like makeup can give you back that confidence that can be lost and if I can help a woman find her confidence than I am happy.
GTD: Any advice or tips for people who want to follow in your footsteps?
CD: My advice for aspiring makeup artists is to study & practice. Study great makeup in magazines. Find makeup artists that you admire and study their work. Take classes from great makeup artists. There are many great makeup books out there as well. The studying never really ends. I still take classes, read books, and study makeup artists that I look up to. That is how you build your skill, but makeup is much more than just pure talent. You also have to learn the etiquette and business side. Model Mayhem is a great resource for the forums and networking. The best advice I can give to anyone wanting a career in makeup artistry though would be to read Crystal Wright’s book “The Hair, Makeup, & Styling Career Guide”. It literally tells you everything you need to know about making it in the industry.
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Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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