James Mac has been building a strong reputation in the make-up industry over the last few years has worked on multiple projects. He recently came to prominence in the second season of Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star.
How did I establish my name in the Make-up industry?
How was your University time?
I originally studied a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia, focusing on photography, video production, and design. These three years were vital for my further understanding of capturing images, leading me to take pics my own Makeup looks at home now for online content. I returned to study a 9-month diploma training course as a makeup artist in 2018 in Dublin.
Why did you choose a career in this field?
I have always adored art and creating images with many mediums. Eventually, I realized I enjoyed creating my work using the face as a canvas and makeup as my artistic medium. I worked as a freelance photographer and shot many makeups looks for campaigns and then realized it was the makeup I wanted to create myself and learn how to become skilled as a makeup artist.
What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?
After graduating with my makeup Diploma in the summer of 2018, I got a 2 week’s working internship on an Irish TV show filming in Dublin. It was unpaid work experience but an opportunity to meet other designers and professionals in my field of work. I developed a bond with the lead makeup designer on the show, who was British, and invited me to the UK for an initial one month’s work experience, which turned into a paid three-month contract on a BBC television show. Making connections and building your network of contacts and friendships with the Make-up Industry is vital!
How did you prepare for the interview?
I had one phone call to explain who I was and what I was interested in working as a makeup trainee. I always believe in being myself, remaining humble, polite, and listening to any advice given.
Can you provide some book recommendations?
A great book I have studied for my work is “Facepaint : The Story of Makeup” by Lisa Eldrige and “Validated” Photo Book journal by Val Garland.
Things are changing very fast in the Make-up Industry; how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletters, podcasts, events, etc.
I work a lot on social media – Twitter is great for news updates, the latest information about other platforms, artist’s work, & connections. Learning about what new apps are also available. Linkedin is great for working relationships and creating work opportunities. Facebook helps with meeting new people and developing a conversation. I use Instagram the most to showcase all my work, essentially my full portfolio. I summarise all elements on my website (www.jamesmacinerney.com) – All these factors combined and have your eye open to new updates, but by bit help, you stay relevant and see the next digital/viral trend. Events are massively important, in pre and post-Covid work understandably, for showcasing your work and meeting new people, creating new connections and future work opportunities.
Any advice about CVs?
- Summarise. Summarise again. Have your points of work precise and to the point.
- Less is more with stories, compared to factual information available on a CV.
- Clear contact information and social media accounts.
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Web map of words, general ideas, interest will always help – then contacts you may already have or names of people within the Make-up Industry you aspire to work in.
I never imagined where I am today at the start of my career journey. It’s a work in progress and stepping stone. I have always focused on the task/job search or opportunity that presents itself to me at the time. I take note of each application, contact I find, and work I get to help improve and pitching for the next job (when being a freelancer) or where/what work I would like to do next – the more experience, the better it helps to decipher what it is I feel I would like to do next.
Why do you think you were selected among other candidates?
Showcasing passion, talking about a topic like you know everything about it – for me, it’s my artwork, my stories growing up creating art, doing makeup. All the competitions I’ve competed in, the experience I gathered, speaking with heart. Being personable, any stories that can be factored into what you love to do, make working feel like it’s part of your life rather than something you mandatorily do just for a job. Your tone of voice and compassion will come across a lot better to anyone looking to hire you. I always try to speak with a positive attitude also, if I don’t know something, I ask how I can know and learn more because there’s always space to improve and grow and willingness to work together to make things happen ( with whoever the employer might be)
Lessons from jobs that you couldn’t get.
I wasn’t fully connected to the job offer at hand, be it I hadn’t researched enough, I wasn’t entirely sure it was right for me, but I still applied for the experience of going for a job – not every application has to be the perfect fit. It’s an experience nonetheless that will benefit you for the next opportunity. This mindset is important to remember when the right opportunity presents itself.
Tag few friends/colleagues whose story you would like to see them share their story.
I think my own mother shares a great story of her career and is always brave enough to constantly reinvent, think outside of the box, and looking to learn and discover opportunities all the time.
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