Everyone knows that to make it in the beauty industry, you need more than just raw talent. In fact, according to Val Garland — inarguably one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the biz — "applying makeup is only 30% of the job." Sure, you can go to classes and get certified on how to contour/beat a face/apply a lipstick/bleach an eyebrow/etc. But, that's only going to take you so far. "Makeup schools are terribly old-fashioned. You get the impression that those who can't do teach," Val says over the phone from London. "These teachers haven't done makeup in 30 years, so they have no idea what the latest products are, or what's going on with skin." So, when the folks at Mastered, a new "online fashion school," approached Val about teaching a makeup course, her kneejerk reaction was, naturally, "No way." But, it turns out that Mastered had no intention of bringing in one of the world's most renowned artists to teach a Foundations 101 class. "They explained to me that it was more than applying lipstick," says Val. "It was addressing things like, how does one get to work backstage? How do you get to be an editorial or an advertising makeup artist? And...this is much more interesting, because I can tell my story...and help other amazing makeup artists get to that level." Rarely do makeup artists have the opportunity to hear from the masters on how to, say, decode a brief or interpret a stylist's or photographer's direction. In fact, finding your way into the industry and climbing the ladder is the hardest part — it's often left to luck of the draw, good timing, or even nepotism. (In fact, Val is a product of a little luck herself: When she started out, she happened to get a random call from a magazine after working with a hairstylist friend on a shoot. They asked her to come in to work with a photographer's assistant named David Sims...who is now one of the world's most iconic fashion photographers.) "Someone needs to be telling newer makeup artists how it's done, or at least advising them. And, I thought that if I could help, why wouldn't I?" Now, with the Val Garland school of makeup, she aims to do just that, with a three-month curriculum intended to teach her pupils everything there is to know about the industry. "There are Q&A sessions, opportunities for feedback between myself and the students, and other advisers that are part of the course," Val explains. "The tutorial aspect of the industry has been very well-fulfilled on YouTube, but I think the level of makeup artists I hope and wish take this course are at a certain point in their careers, and they need guidance." What does Val consider the mark of a truly modern makeup artist? "Have a handle on social media first and foremost," she says. "It's the biggest and clearest voice that will shout the loudest and let people know who you are right now." Well, that, and "astounding self-belief." But, who knows? One might lead to the other. The right Instagram shot can work wonders, after all.
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