Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Harrison.
Hi Elaine, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always had a love of hair and makeup! When I was a teenager, I would do all my friend’s hair and makeup for any of their special events. After studying business in college I set out to make my dreams of being a professional makeup artist a reality. I spent some time in New York doing hair and makeup for a major modeling agency which helped me master my skills. As a lucky break, I answered an add for a consultant for a local Loreal mobile marketing event. As luck would have it, they loved my work and people skills and offered me a travel position traveling the country representing their brand! This was an unbelievable experience and I’m grateful to this day for this opportunity. I truly believe I would not have built my career without it. I spent four years (three months on and three months off) doing event “mini makeovers” 12 hours a day, six days a week! It was hard work, long hours on my feet and worth every second. I was able to work on all different ethnicities, age groups and makeup styles for four years!!!! As a result, I master many different types of looks for many different types of people.
Through the connections I made with Loreal, I was lucky enough to book my first commercial gig. Getting into television and commercial work is difficult for artists. You can’t get experience in the industry without having experience in the industry! Once I got that first commercial gig, I was off and rolling. I continued to book commercial gigs for a few years which built up my resume. Then it happens, I got my first magazine gig with Cosmopolitan. Once I had print credit, I continued to get more opportunities.
I feel my success is not only attributed to my skills in the hair and makeup field but also my determination to make my business work. I would seek out any and all ways to promote myself. I worked hard and never gave up. There were many times I was putting pennies in the gas tank waiting for my next gig!
Now, 20 years in, I have had many wonderful experiences. I was the key artist of the HGTV show “Love it or List it” for five years which lead to many other opportunities to work in television. I’ve also worked with magazines such as Muscle and Fitness, First for Women, Lady’s Home Journal and many more.
I’m very lucky to have the career I have, but I worked for it hard!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all!!!!! You have to be a “go getter” to run your own business. It takes determination, hard work and the ability to stay the course! I am usually paid on a net 30, which means you will get paid within 30 days of completing the project. Money management is key! Also the hours can be brutal and exhausting. As with any freelance job, you must keep yourself visible and available for any work that comes your way and nothing is guaranteed! Keeping updated in your field, constantly circling back with potential clients, keeping a positive attitude and being available with little notice is just part of the job!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a production hair and makeup artist. Other than my skills in these fields, I’m known for my upbeat personality and reliability! I think what sets me apart is I can work with any personality type and I listen to what they want, not just do what I think looks good.
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I would advise any hair and makeup artist to find professionals in their area and touch base! It can’t hurt to try and learn more about the business you want to be successful in!
- Email: Elaineharrisonmua@gmail.com
- Website: Elaineharrisonmakeupartistry.com
Laura Johnson Adam Womsley