Carla Dyson is a specialist makeup trainer and assessor here at the National Academy of Beauty however her resume extends far beyond this title. With work featured in Elle magazine, national campaigns shot for brands such as Misha Collection and countless stunning bridal looks created, Carla is fast becoming a household name within the industry.
Carla shares with us her expert advice on becoming a makeup artist as well as her own journey on making it in the big world of makeup and beauty.
What has been your makeup artistry journey?
After studying makeup for 3 years, I began my makeup career working in retail for Lancome, in Northern England. I also worked as a freelance bridal makeup artist on weekends. After 4 years, I made the decision to move to Australia to pursue a career in Melbourne. Starting over again is never easy, and it took me some time to build up my freelance work. I am currently running a freelance business specialising in bridal, commercial and editorial work, alongside teaching two days per week.
How would you describe your style of makeup? Who is it most suitable for?
I would describe my signature makeup style as radiant skin and naturally enhanced features, working with each individual’s natural beauty.
In addition to training, what industry do you work in and what led you to working in that field?
I work mainly in bridal/ special occasion, commercial and editorial. Bridal work is something that gradually builds via word of mouth. As your makeup skills grow, your confidence then allows you to be part of someone’s special day. I recently signed with Tonic Agency to look after this side of my business, as I also work in commercial and editorial which takes up a lot of my time. I have always dreamt of doing makeup for magazines, and clothing brands, so this is something I would like to continue to do and build my client base.
What’s the coolest thing you have done as a makeup artist?
The job that really sticks out as a career highlight, is flying to Bali last year to shoot 2 editorial stories for ELLE Indonesia. One story was shot on the black sand beaches, and another in a villa in Seminyak. It was so much fun!
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What is a myth about makeup artistry you would like to dispel?
‘It’s an easy career path – just make people look pretty every day’. This myth is the opposite of the truth. The makeup industry is a competitive industry that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It takes years of experience and networking to get anywhere close to your career goals.
What should people know about makeup artistry?
It’s important to market yourself to your intended client base. For instance, if you would like to work in the fashion industry, you should start an Instagram account and post fashion inspiration, and images of your own editorial creations. This will in turn create a portfolio of work, suitable to your niche within the industry.
How do up and coming artists make contacts and get their name out there?
Firstly, always ensure your customer service skills are perfect, as word of mouth is a great advertisement. Start by working on friends and family to practice your skills, then positive feedback will lead to more bookings. Over time the work will become more consistent.
How important is social media in today’s makeup landscape? What other things are important for building yourself as a brand?
Social media has become a huge part of our industry. Makeup is a very visual thing, so Instagram works very well for business, when used correctly. It is very important to market yourself to potential clients in the best possible light. Only post your best work – it’s all about quality, not quantity.
As a makeup artist, YOU are your brand, so professionalism and attitude play a huge part in representing your brand. In addition to this, a strong skill set and passion goes a long way.
What do you think makes a great makeup artist?
I think a varied skill set makes a great makeup artist, but I also believe personality and communication skills are very important. Making your clients feel at ease during the service, and ensuring you are approachable to receive feedback. I believe open communication between the artist and the client is the way to achieve a perfect look.
How do you stay up to date with latest trends and techniques?
I stay up to date with current trends by following the fashion industry influencers on social media, such as Val Garland, Pat McGrath & Alex Box. I also buy British Vogue & Elle as often as possible, as the UK seasons tend to set the worldwide trends.
What led you to now teach up and coming artists at the National Academy of Beauty?
After 6 years in the industry, an opportunity opened up for me to teach at the National Academy of Beauty. I have always loved teaching clients as I apply makeup and wanted to explore teaching on another level.
What do you love about being a makeup artist and trainer?
I love working as part of a team, on a different brief, every day – I love that no two jobs are the same! I also love teaching my students about the workings of the industry, and personal experiences I’ve had. I think these stories give the students great insight into the makeup world.
Why is studying makeup and obtaining a qualification important for up and coming makeup artists? How can students accelerate their career in makeup?
Personally, I think an education in makeup is the first step to achieving a career in the field. I began by studying to be a beauty therapist, then went on to study makeup artistry. I think having these qualifications gave me the knowledge, and time to practice my skills before going into the industry.
Beauty therapy goes hand in hand with makeup as it gives you a greater knowledge of the skin and body.
What can students expect from your training in class?
To leave feeling inspired, with the skills and knowledge to become a working makeup artist.