Success comes in all shapes and sizes. I am so incredibly excited to share with everyone our brand new weekly blog series: Artist Feature Friday's. WOOHOO! So, tune in every Friday for interviews with artists all around the world at ALL stages! From beginners to seasoned professionals- we want to share it ALL! Who's excited?
Alright! Our first featured artist is Marie Murphy. She is an outstandingly talented artist (like for real guys...we're talking some major talent here), who lives in Ireland. We first saw her work when she submitted for our first makeup challenge ever, and our entire team was completely in awe of what she would create. So much so that she won the American Horror Story category of our first challenge with Eryn Krueger Mekash and Mike Mekash as the judges.
Ever since then, we have been watching her career just flourish before our eyes!
But don't let that fool you, she is here to tell us all about her ups AND downs. And guess what?! Through all of her successes, she still lives in a small town in Ireland where the population is only 1,000! If she can do you, YOU CAN TOO!
(What It Takes) 1.Tell us a little bit about yourself!
(Marie Murphy) I'm from a tiny little village in Ireland called Carlingford which has a population of about 1,000 people! I've been doing makeup my entire life, when I was 5 I asked Santa for a makeup kit and was devastated when I got plastic toy makeup instead of real grown up makeup! Professionally, however, I have been doing makeup 7 and a half years!
2. You have had such an incredible journey in just the last 2 years, it has been amazing to watch your career just soar! Tell us a little bit about your journey!
Well my career really soared in 2015 when I won the Ve Neill Legends of Makeup Scholarship for Cinema Makeup School. Ve Neill chose me out of hundreds/thousands of applicants around the entire world. This changed everything, not just my career but my self belief. I quit my job and travelled to Los Angeles in July of 2015 and furthered my studies in special FX, it was a whirlwind and I got some amazing opportunities including demonstrating for Cinema Makeup School at Monsterpalooza which has always been a dream of mine (also the most terrifying thing I have ever done!!)
When I returned home from Los Angeles I was offered a job with Disney working as a makeup artist for their new show called The Lodge for the Disney Channel which was a phenomenal experience, I worked on all the music videos and some of them now have over 5 million hits!
In 2016 I ended up working with the band Motionless In White, doing makeup for gigs, interviews and magazine articles in the UK & Ireland, I was a finalist in the 2016 NYX UK & Ireland Face Awards which was an incredible experience. I've been offered lots of jobs teaching Irish students some of my skillset I have learned along the way such as beauty, theatrical, airbrush and out of the kit special fx and I most recently got hired by Kat Von D beauty here in Dublin and won a staff competition to fly to London to get trained by her team The Artistry Collective!
3. It’s amazing what you have accomplished, especially being selected on the Kat Von D Dublin team! How has that been?
Honestly it's been amazing so far, I have had some amazing opportunities and the Kat Von D makeup has been my favourite makeup brand since it launched all those years ago and its always been my dream to work for the company! I'm only with the company 3 months and already absolutely love it!
4. Sometimes artists think once you get a “big break” that you won’t ever struggle again, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. Even with your major accomplishments, Do you still have moments of discouragement?
Are you even a makeup artist if you dont constantly have moments of discouragement?! haha! I do, however I keep pushing myself knowing that I've came this far and I am meant to do makeup in life and I certainly push any thoughts of discouragement out of my head, at least for the most part because you really never know what opportunities are on the horizon!
5. Were there a lot of experiences at the beginning that left you feeling discouraged and doubtful?
Very much so!! In 2013 I was a finalist in a competition called the Illamasqua Distinction in Makeup Artistry Awards and at that time I was only doing makeup 3 years and the awards ceremony was a pretty huge deal back then, I was picked out of hundreds of entries to fly to London to apply makeup on stage in a theatre live infront of a crowd of people and a judging panel. I genuinely thought that this was my big break, that my career was all leading upto this and I didn't win. I was heartbroken as I thought that was my one big chance to make my mark in the makeup world and I didn't think anything would ever come close to that again. (LITTLE DID I KNOW). I decided that the outcome of that competition wouldn't chip away at me so I decided to work even harder to be the best artist I could be. I am so so glad I did not win that competition now! It taught me not to be discouraged as you really have no idea whats around the corner!
6. What do you do to stay motivated during these times?
I think back over the span of my career and see all the times I fell at the hurdle and got back up again and I know that I am capable and good enough to keep going!
7. A lot of artists feel as if they cannot reach their major goals if they don’t live in LA or NYC, but I think you are proving this wrong out in Dublin! What advice would you give to someone who feels that they can’t “make it” unless they move to LA or NYC?
Listen.. I grew up in rural Ireland surrounded by sheep and cows and the nearest grocery store was a 30 minute drive away! If I can get to where I want to be anyone, ANYWHERE can! I think making it in large cities like LA and NYC are probably so much more difficult as the competition within the field is HUGE, starting at home is probably the best place to start and work your way up and one day you might get the call I got to say to pack my bags that I'm off to LA!
8. What has been something you have learned over your career that you would like to share with someone who aspires to be a successful makeup artist?
To never stop learning. Ever. I am doing makeup over 7 years and I am still learning every day and looking to learn more!! I am never satisfied with my work and I am always looking for ways to improve, to be the best makeup artist I can be! I am not even close to being there yet!
9. You were one of our winners for our What It Takes challenge, tell us about your experience with that!
When I heard the challenge was American Horror Story and the judges were Eryn Krueger Mekash and Mike Mekash my heart stopped! I am a HUGE American Horror Story nerd! Ever since the first Season I have been obsessed with it (in the healthiest way possible!) I HAD to enter!!! I just wanted them to see my work, if anything. I created two characters to enter with as I really wanted to win the challenge or at least get into the top 10! I did a Twisty face paint (which still terrifies everyone!) and a foam latex prosthetic makeup. When I found out I won joint first place I was sooo happy!! I received a video from Eryn and Mike from American Horror Story about my work and that was absolutely incredible! American Horror Story started in 2011 which was just one year after I started makeup, so if you told me back then that the dept heads of AHS would be making me a video about my work in 6 years time I would NOT have believed it!!! So thank you Amber and everyone at What It Takes for that amazing opportunity!!
10. Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who are at a point of struggling to keep pushing forward in their careers?
A career in makeup artistry is not easy in any way. If you have a raw passion for your art you will persevere and make it, you have to keep pushing yourself and take every opportunity that comes your way! Some amazing advice I got from a makeup artist legend is to do makeup on other peop
Work from the bottom up, Ive done it! Assist other artists, take courses to add to your skill set, constantly practice to become the best makeup artist you can possibly be!
You can follow Marie on her Instagram at @mariemisfitx
What an inspiring story, right? You guys... we can literally do ANYTHING. Keep your head high, and never stop dreaming. NEVER stop believing in yourself.
Be sure to check out our website www.whatittakesfilm.com where you can find fun quizzes, inspiration, and freebies! Also, get your copy of our film What It Takes on either DVD or Digital Download. It is jam packed with nothing but passion, motivation and inspiration for those of us pursuing this crazy industry of makeup!
Until next time!
This past June, the What It Takes team held a free makeup challenge. It was an intensive 3 week challenge that took talented and extremely dedicated artists on a fun journey to discover more about themselves as well as give them tips and tools to gain more confidence as an artist (this was SUCH a fun challenge to do, btw!)
In the past, we have had short challenges with themes such as Wicked, American Horror Story, Johnny Depp characters, etc. along with outstanding judges such as Joel Harlow, Eryn Kreuger Mekash and Mike Mekash, Erik Soto, Chris Nelson, and more. This time around, Steve Johnson judged for a second time judging the What It Takes Challenges.
With dozens of outstanding submissions, the What It Takes team chose 10 top winners and Steve Johnson chose the top 2 winners: Runner Up Lorena Somers and Winner Sarah Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's entry was quite unique; not only did she submit a makeup, she submitted 3 makeups in ONE video telling a compelling story in one of the most creative ways we have seen yet. (Watch it here)
We have asked Elizabeth a set of questions so she could express the story behind the video and makeup, as well as some very encouraging words to other artists who may be just starting out in their careers!
1. Congrats on winning the WIT Makeup Challenge! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a 19-year-old student from Connecticut. For about 3 years, I was a self-taught makeup artist. In 2016 I had to do an internship for my final senior project. I talked to my advisor about what I should do and she recommended that I work with a friend of hers who is a makeup artist. So, for a month I had the greatest honor to work with Keith Palmer, a professional full-time makeup artist. I quickly realized this is what I wished to do with my life. He passed along a quote by Mohamed Ali which I creatively apply to everything I do; “if your mind can conceive it and your heart can believe it, then you can achieve it.” I am currently preparing myself to begin courses at Makeup Designory in New York
2. You were our winner for the Free What It Takes Makeup Challenge. Your submission was amazing. Could you tell us the story behind it?
The story behind the video is quite personal. For a long time I struggled with self-destructive thoughts. I kept everything away from people around me and no one knew what I was feeling. It wasn’t until a new art form had helped me realize I could spend more of my time creating things I enjoyed instead of being consumed by bad thoughts. Each makeup layer represented my being. The first layer was painted and perfect, as if nothing was wrong. The second was cracked and damaged, but still hidden away. The third, a vast galaxy, represents the endless potential an artist has to create.
3. I know you mentioned that your partner gave you a lot of support and motivated you to enter. Have you always had a lot of support from your loved ones to follow your dream to become a makeup artist?
When I first told my loved ones that I wanted to be a makeup artist, I was met with curious looks. No one doubted that I could do it, they were just wondering why. Some didn’t understand, some didn’t care, but those who supported me did so to their fullest. You have no idea how proud my dad was when I told him I won the makeup contest! My partner has also been the very definition of encouraging. Not only did he shoot and edit the video piece, but he would regularly inspire me to not doubt myself and stay on the creative path
4. If you had any advice to give to someone who might have loved ones in their life who don’t support their dreams to be a mua, what would you tell them?
I am very fond of the term ‘unconditional,’ as it applies to love of others and staying true to yourself. I have kept those who are unconditional with me and those who are not have be released from my life. My advice would be to decide who cares for you unconditionally because they will always be there to support you.
5. Our challenged are all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and you have told us the you did just that! It’s amazing! What was that experience like for you?
The experience was very scary and at the same time very exhilarating. There were times that I battled with self-doubt. But there were also times when my anxiety driven mind would flip on a dime and I would think that I’m a rebel for stepping out of my comfort zone and that no one would ever expect a makeup like this.
6. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is so crucial. What advice would you give someone who might be timid about pushing themselves to do things beyond what they are comfortable doing?
My advice would be that it’s ok to be timid about stepping out of your comfort zone but to quote Shia Labeouf “don’t let your dreams be dreams, yesterday you said tomorrow, so just do it!” It’s a good moto to live by.
7. What are your biggest goals as a makeup artist?
My biggest goals as a makeup artist are to create the next Giger’s Alien, or Predator but for Broadway. Theater is so visual, nothing can be hidden with CGI like in movies. To have the ability to create a life like massive creature on a stage would be ground breaking and a fantastic challenge to attempt. Another goal of mine is to absorb knowledge from the people that inspire me and be happy with everything I create because at the end of the day being happy with yourself is the most important thing.
8. What is your favorite thing about being a makeup artist?
My favourite part about being a makeup artist is meeting people and learning from them. I’m extremely shy. Meeting people and making friends doesn’t come easy to me, but ever since I started doing makeup, I have made so many friends. Everyone I’ve met in the makeup world have been nothing but kind and supportive. Meeting other artists is also a great way to learn new things. You can give and take advice as you meet more people and learn so much along the way.
9. Doing makeup is so fun, and that’s why I created this challenge! What was your favorite part about this challenge?
My favourite part was drawing out what the final makeups would look like. I had never done that before doing a makeup, and found the process to be extremely helpful. The trial and error process really fascinated me. I had to sketch out many different versions of all 3 of my makeup creations before deciding which looked the best.
10. What advice would you give to someone who might be thinking about entering a makeup challenge such as this?
Go for it! The What It Takes makeup challenge is such a fantastic opportunity and the best thing you can do in life is try your hardest. Every part of a makeup challenge could be fun and exciting and a great learning experience. I don’t mean to sound cliché but it’s truly not about winning, it’s about learning and creating.
Thank you, Sarah for such amazing words of encouragement and once again, CONGRATS for being our winner!
If you would like to sign up on the waiting list to our next makeup challenge, click here!
And be sure to check out our documentary What It Takes: A film about makeup artists, which showcases the journey of becoming a successful makeup artist with over 20 award winning makeup artists!
Amber Talarico and Kenneth Alexander. Amber is the Director of What It takes, and Kenneth is the producer. Our mission is to motivate, inspire and empower freelance makeup and special FX artists around the world to pursue their dreams by sharing knowledge, encouraging artists at all stages, and bring a voice to our industry as professional makeup artists!