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Becoming a Make-up Artist

Kat Orr used special make-up FX to make herself bald.
Katherine Orr
Katherine Orr is a make-up artist who works in film and TV.
Katherine Orr

So you're just starting to wear a lil' make-up and you just can't get enough of it. Or maybe you're just addicted to recreating freaky looking vamps and demons for Halloween and costume parties! Well, a love of make-up can lead into a cool career that could have you hangin' with celebs and working in TV and the movies. We asked Katherine Orr, a professional make-up artist, about the perks and potholes of her career.

Getting Started

Katherine Orr dug Halloween, so it was natural for her to get into the make-up profession. "I've always enjoyed dressing up and so Halloween was my favorite time of year. One of my friends started going to make-up school and I looked at what she was doing and realized, that's for me!" Katherine went to nine months of hairdressing school and seven months of make-up school. "I learned everything from how to make someone look incredibly beautiful, to how to make someone look really ugly," says Katherine Orr about her training.

The Perks and Potholes

Katherine says that some of the perks she enjoys as a make-up artist are spending time with people all the time and getting to be artistic. Some of the potholes of a career as a make-up artist include, trying to follow someone else's lead. "It's hard trying to make the person look the way the director wants them to look. My idea of how a character/person should look may differ from what the director thinks."

How Much Moola?

The income you can make from a career as a make-up artist can vary greatly. Katherine says it depends a lot on where you are in your career. "Once you start out, you have to volunteer a lot, but once you get into a union for make-up work done in film and television you can make a very good living."

Still Interested?

So does this career sound like something you'd love to do with the rest of your life? There's some things you can [kwlink]do now to start[/kwlink] down the make-up artist career path. "Doing [kwlink]make-up[/kwlink] for school plays and stuff is a good idea," says Katherine. "You can always get together with some friends and do the make-up for a home movie you guys shoot."

Did U Know?

  • Make-up artists should have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology as well as a basic knowledge of lighting.
  • Kevyn Aucoin, a famous make-up artist who wrote best-selling books on make-up tips, died May 7, 2002. The 40 year-old make-up artist to the stars was one of Katherine Orr's idols.
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