Dysmorphia is the worst client

As soon as I tell people that I’m a makeup artist, I’m always met with the same questions and can’t be alone here?? It’s always, ‘who are some stars you’ve made up?’ and ‘who are the worst clients?’, and let’s not forget, ‘OMG have you had any Bridezillas??’…

Surprisingly and resoundingly the answer is no, uhh, erm, maybe? Let me explain… I don’t generally find my clients to be like this ‘these days’ – because of a couple of instances (or incidents) which may have opened up me eyes…

Firstly let me just put it out there: nobody is impervious to a bad client experience – I don’t care who you are…but those instances are truly rare and have more to do with what’s going on inside that client’s head than the makeup or the artist.

Ok here’s one of the toughest times I’ve had, but which really opened up my eyes and at the risk of sounding all gushy, my heart. Let me set the scene: it was a special someone’s big day! Yes this is a bride story. I was on location, 8 makeups to do in a fast but comfortable time frame, 5am start (so 3:30 wake up)… Everything was going well and it came time for my bride to sit in my chair. She’d seemed nervy but she was ‘just like that’ according to her party, so I suggested some ‘champers’ (to let her relax a bit) – always a great idea, right? After doing her makeup just like her makeup trial, she started wanting more, More, MORE ‘white metallic pigment’ on her eyes. ‘MORE, MORE, MORE!’…

Too. Much. White. 😱

It was starting to look bad, I was worried, so I started pretending to add more but not really adding more… yes we all do it from time to time… I decided to change things up so I suggested we go outside to see the makeup in better lighting (and change the scenery, fresh air new perspective)…once we got outside, away from everybody, she broke down. Here was a strong, confident woman, outspoken and not afraid to demand what she wanted and the poor love broke down, ‘it’s not the makeup Kat, I just don’t feel pretty on the inside’ she cried, it was what I refer to as ‘ugly crying’, when there’s shuddering, broken words and tears (I do it all the time). I was all at once overcome with the urge to hug her and possibly terrified that I couldn’t snap her out of it…l made some lame joke about my not staying around later for touch-ups, so it was best to get all the tears out now and that ‘this was so normal’ and we hugged.

Later on, this got me thinking, and the more I thought about it, there wouldn’t be one client I’ve worked with, who loved everything about themselves and didn’t feel self conscious about something, having hang-ups which oddly enough, I would hardly even call noticeable. I’ve heard it all!: ‘hide my big ears behind my hair please’, ‘cover my 5-head (forehead) please’, ‘can you cover my skin?’, ‘can you fix my wrinkles, my bags, my lips, my eyes coz they’re as small as piss-holes in the snow (I’m not kidding! A client said that, about her own face – not me!)… The list could continue indefinitely…I’m being real here, there are aspects of my own face which I simply do not like, hand on my heart! Why else would I bother to enhance, cover, correct with makeup??

All of this reminded me of a 60 Minutes episode I’d once watched, it had been about dysmorphia and it really hit home. Dysmorphia: mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance (source: Mayo Clinic). Did we all have just a little bit of dysmorphia?

“Feeling beautiful comes from within”

This made me realise something which sounds so cliche and that you would have heard a million times over – ‘beauty is only skin deep’ & ‘beauty comes from within’. I’d like to rephrase it to, ‘feeling beautiful comes from within’.

I’m a cosmetics lover not a hater, new products make me squeal like a school girl!… But somewhere there must be a time and place that we start loving and accepting ‘what is’ because if our happiness is tied to how we look? Well obviously there’s a problem!


So here’s the crux of it: we, all of us with these hang-ups, need to accept and love ‘what is’ – spots, lumps, bumps, wing-nut ears and all! – because beauty is not defined by a face, body or an industry – it’s a feeling. I dare you to look at yourself in the mirror without makeup or styled hair – make eye contact with yourself, with the lights on and say the words out loud – ‘i am beautiful’. It’s our (yours and mine) new affirmation. Say it with purpose. Say it until you mean it. How do you feel now? You feel beautiful? You should. Because you are. X

Let the games begin…


A bit about me…

Hi I’m Kat & I’ve been a pro makeup artist for 15yrs. 

Makeup is in my veins, its like an itch I can never scratch – its something I must do… I chose to become a makeup artist from about the age of 4, when I became obsessed with the makeup worn by the girls at dad’s work – electric blue mascara (it was the 80s)…


I moved from a country town to the city to study makeup, no home, no friends and no real idea of the sort of job I might land – I just knew I wanted to do makeup…

So here we are some years later – my career has taken many turns from retail counters, to photo studios, tv commercials , to all sorts of locations and clients, back stage at parades and productions, to training, assessing and coordinating hundreds of makeup students… but besides all that, I still love nothing more than applying makeup to everyday clients’ faces &/or bodies, thats when I go to my “happy place”.


A blog begins…I was dubious and excited about starting a blog, ( i thought ‘is my head stuck so far up my own rear-end to think that others would want to read about what I have to say?’)…but here we are, I took the first step and started writing. 

Why blog?

Pro makeup artists don’t often talk candidly, or speak out about being an artist – it can be a busy, lonely, draining, behind the scenes, fulfilling and quirky existence we lead, so my voice and my stories are all about that: reflections, ponderings, confessions, anecdotes and experiences of being a pro Mua.


When I started talking to my mua mates about blogging, their ears pricked up and suddenly there was a deluge of ideas spewed forth! It seems plenty of Mua’s have blog ideas but not the time, or know how etc to go ahead and do it. So I will from time to time feature other artists and feature products because what’s an industry chat if products don’t come up, just a little?

Best. People.

My real reasons are intrinsic – like anybody who is self motivated I suppose? Call it selfish if you wish – but this is a journey of sorts, journeying back to the start, to when I was fresh and vibrant and full of energy for my future, my brand, my voice, my self. This blog is part of my new commitment to myself because I’ve invested myself heavily into the brands and business’ of others’, but now it’s time to invest time into my thing.

This is just the beginning…