Be a good person. — The way you treat others has a huge impact on your career in the beauty industry. As a makeup artist, you are there to do their makeup and be an essential part of their big day. If you have bad energy, treat clients poorly, and speak negatively, you will never get booked no matter how great your artistry is. No matter if you are doing brides, celebrities, or editorial clients, you will never get re-booked or hired for the job if you don’t make the client feel comfortable.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren D’Amelio Ventre.
Lauren D’Amelio Ventre is one of the beauty industry’s go-to makeup artists on the east coast. She has inspired thousands of artists over the past decade with her work in bridal, film and makeup education. She continues to set the bar with her innovative online MasterClasses and rapidly growing artist community.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was very young when I discovered my passion for the beauty industry by growing up watching my mother do her own makeup every morning and always admired her beauty. I started in a new school district when I was in middle school and am extremely dyslexic and was a complete tomboy. I was placed in smaller classroom settings and often got picked on for my learning disability and appearance. One day my aunt brought over a full set of Bobbi Brown makeup brushes and some basic makeup products. From that day on, I would do my own makeup daily and started making friends at school. I loved the confidence it gave me, and from that moment on, I was hooked. My parents bought me books on makeup, as back then, there were no YouTube or social media. They were the only books I would read on my own, and I studied them religiously.
By the time I was in 8th grade, I was asked to do classmates’ makeup for the school dances and events. My best friend’s mother owned a salon that she would bring us to weekly. That was the first place I truly felt like I fit in. In high school, I received the opportunity to attend a vocational program for cosmetology and started working in salons at the age of 15, where I assisted stylists and was the lead makeup artist. My first paying makeup client at the salon was in her 50’s. I was extremely nervous, and at the end of the application, I handed her a mirror, and she started crying. She looked at me and said, “I have never felt this beautiful in my entire life.” This was when I realized the power of makeup; it affects both outer beauty, and how someone feels inside, their mood, their confidence, and their demeanor.
My parents still encouraged me to attend college, because they wanted me to have a “real” career. I attended Berkeley College as an interior design major. At that time, I was still working in salons, took on a part-time position at MAC Cosmetics, freelanced for an on-location hair and makeup bridal company, and interned for my major. My life revolved around school and work. I started booking clients of my own and started freelancing regularly once I graduated. Once my family saw the amount of money that I would come home with from doing makeup, they started to understand makeup could actually be a “real” career.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have experienced so many exciting and interesting events working in this industry. One that really sticks with me is when the makeup school I taught at asked me to come with them to work a New York Fashion Week event for Kanye West — Yeezy season 3, 2016, at Madison Square Garden. I was one of 15 hair and makeup artists there to work on 1,200 models. We only had a few hours to get everyone ready for the start of the show. It was one of the most overwhelming, intimidating, exciting, and memorable events of my life. We stood next to the Kardashians and other celebrities backstage and walked into the packed arena of fans awaiting the big reveal! It was a feeling of accomplishment seeing everything come together so seamlessly.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
There have been many tipping points in my career; I feel like it is always important to adapt. One major tipping point is when I stopped working for other companies and focused solely on my own business, D’Amelio Cosmetics LLC, my freelance hair and makeup team. It is always scary to go off on your own and not have that guaranteed weekly paycheck, but you have to take risks in life to become more successful. I have mentored many artists who are in that same position. The reality is, when you spend all of your time building up someone else’s business, you will never be able to build up your own. The best thing is to work and learn from companies that you admire and know when you should focus on yourself. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have a very lucrative and less stressful career working for another person or beauty company, but the level of success I strive for would never have been accomplished that way.
Another huge turning point in my career was when COVID-19 hit, and 90% of our clientele had to postpone their events for 2020. I had planned on traveling the country teaching MasterClasses and had every week booked out through 2021. Within the first week of lockdown, I knew I had to pivot my business to still make money without working on clients or flying around the country. My husband came up with a great idea — He knew I had done online MasterClasses in the past, using Lauren Sorrentino of Jersey Shore as my model (she was also one of my brides and valued clients; we have been collaborating for a while now). He thought the online classes would do really well, especially since no one can leave their home. I then created The Art of Enhancement LLC.! I started with a four-day online MasterClass that focused on doing makeup and the importance of sanitation, product ingredient knowledge, skin types, social media, business, and so much more. I have formed a Facebook community of artists who have access to online monthly MasterClasses, guest educators, Q & A’s and their peers’ support. It is rapidly growing, and I am now working on a full webinar to teach artists how to build their own lucrative freelance makeup business.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I don’t have just one particular person to whom I am grateful for their help; I have many! So many people had worked to support me, starting with my family who did everything to help me when I was young to build my kit and my confidence, from one of my aunts gifting me my first brushes and another aunt taking me to MAC for the first time to help me buy makeup for my kit, to my mother and father always encouraging me, and my sister and cousins who let me practice on them. And especially, everyone who took a chance on me, including the owner of the first salon I ever worked in, the manager at MAC who hired me, and all of the amazing artists who worked there and allowed me to learn from them.
Also, my friends, my husband and 8-month old son, who have supported me and always make me want to be better, my celebrity clientele, especially Kathy Wakile of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who introduced me to other amazing reality TV stars, my friend and mentor, and my assistant, who handles all of my bookings and crazy schedule have supported me, and I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without any of them. I am beyond thankful for each one!
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion-dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
As one of the top bridal and celebrity Makeup artists in the New York/New Jersey area, I also pride myself on being a top educator! I started in this industry when it was almost taboo to be a part of it, and now it is one of the most lucrative industries out there. I was working on location at a wedding before it was common for brides to have their hair and makeup done at home. I was posting about makeup on my MySpace page before it was “cool” to be a makeup artist. I am so blessed to have gotten into the industry so many years ago that I have watched the outstanding growth of companies, artists, schools, educators, and influencers. I have a true passion for educating other artists with my knowledge of makeup and business.
Most online educators only demonstrate how to apply makeup on one person, leaving out many important details. The Art of Enhancement not only teaches artists how to apply makeup on any skin type, skin tone, and face shape, but WHY it is important to know what is in the products and WHY they should use different things on different people. Every client is unique, and you need to cater to that client’s individual wants and needs. I also teach the importance of the industry’s business end; so many very talented artists work nonstop but cannot see a profit because they do not know how to run their business. My mentorship helps artists build confidence, gain clients, and make money.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- The possibilities are endless! Social media has made a huge impact on the beauty world in so many ways! You can now tag a brand and get recognition and possibly be posted on their page or website. You are also able to communicate with celebrities and collaborate with other beauty industry professionals.
- You can learn from the industry’s leading professionals right from your home!
- New brands and innovations! It seems every day a new product is launched, helping artists further their artistry.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. What I like to call “Photoshop artists.” In the world of social media, many influencers turned to extreme editing or filters to make themselves look flawless. I have noticed many artists are now starting to do the same thing; instead of working on their artistry and improving their skill, they make a mediocre makeup application look professional and flawless with editing apps and filters. It will only hurt themselves in the long run when their clients don’t get the results that their social media puts forward. When they ask about editing, I tell my students to become so good that you don’t need to edit your work. If there is something you struggle with, WORK ON IT! Do it repeatedly until you master it, practice on your mom, sister, friend, husband — whoever is willing to sit down and help you grow. Do not rely on apps to be a great artist.
2. Many new artists feel like they have no chance of being successful due to the oversaturated industry. I suggest that new artists who feel overwhelmed by competition stay true to themselves and their artistry. If you try to imitate someone else, you will always be second best. Take your top favorite artists and create your own style. Keep educating yourself and growing, don’t worry about what other people are doing.
3. Influencers posting about products they do not use and only post because they are paid to. I receive PR packages often and only post about the products I honestly love. Many people are easily convinced to buy products because they saw it on their idol’s Instagram, but in reality, many people post a product and maybe use it once and never touch it again.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
It is crucial to remember that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has a different idea of what is beautiful, so always listen to your client. It is important to be professional and to give your opinion, but also to understand that the red lipstick that you love, they might hate. I teach my clients the importance of symmetry and how making your client symmetrical is a game-changer. Everyone has some asymmetry in their face, and as professionals, we need to help sculpt the areas that need a little help. Most fashion models are extremely symmetrical, and that is one thing as humans we preserve as beautiful.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
1. Be a good person. — The way you treat others has a huge impact on your career in the beauty industry. As a makeup artist, you are there to do their makeup and be an essential part of their big day. If you have bad energy, treat clients poorly, and speak negatively, you will never get booked no matter how great your artistry is. No matter if you are doing brides, celebrities, or editorial clients, you will never get re-booked or hired for the job if you don’t make the client feel comfortable.
I had a very talented artist working for D’Amelio Cosmetics last year. She did absolutely beautiful work, but after every trial she did, the clients would not book her for their wedding day. After months of this happening and getting feedback from the clients, we discovered it was not her artistry that they didn’t like, but her attitude.
In the bridal industry, you need to be overly nice and excited for your clients! They are looking to hire you for one of the biggest days of their lives. As an artist, you need to make them want you to be there on the morning of their wedding. During their trial, it is important to ask them questions about their wedding, their dress, the venue, how they got engaged, etc. You need to be their friend. If you act uninterested, distracted, and anti-social, they will NOT want you there on their big day, no matter how amazing your work is.
2. Be the professional. — Many freelance artists don’t realize how crucial it is to their success to be professional. If doing makeup, your main source of income, you need to treat it like a business. Many contributing factors come into play from having an LLC, making a website, creating a work email address, advertising on social media, purchasing marketing material (business cards, apparel, etc.), creating schedules, being reliable, and dressing and acting accordingly. If you do not treat it as a business, your clients will not either.
3. When interacting with clients, it is essential to dress and act appropriately. As your own business, you can create your own dress code and apparel for advertisement. My advice is to stick to darker colors, remembering we are working with makeup, and it can get a little messy. Also, don’t show too much skin. You never want to offend your client by being too revealing (it’s their day, not yours!) Having apparel made with your name or logo is a great marketing tool, this way, people know who you are without having to ask, and it will also make your team look more uniform. The way you act and speak around your clients is also a key factor. As we spoke about earlier, being a good person will make all the difference in their decision to hire you. Speaking knowledgeably and professionally is a major asset when it comes to presenting yourself as a business.
4. Educate yourself and adapt to the times. — Education is HUGE when it comes to evolving as an artist. If you are not willing to learn, you will never grow in this industry. Becoming stagnant in your artistry will be the downfall of your success. As products, trends, and techniques change, your artistry should evolve too.
I have been in the artistry for over 15 years now, and I still take classes every chance I get. Even if I only learn one new product or technique from a class, I feel it was worth it. My biggest piece of advice is to never stop learning and invest in yourself; no one can ever take that from you.
5. Be true to yourself- In this extremely saturated industry, it is so important to be unique! Never try to fit a mold because others are doing it. When you try to imitate someone else’s artistry, you will always only be second best. I encourage artists to have other artists they admire to keep them motivated but always put their own twist on a look. Setting yourself apart will make you more desired by the clientele you want to work on.
When I was teaching at a makeup school, I had a student who had a unique, edgy style. She had jet black hair, shaved eyebrows, and loved theatrical makeup. She was one of my favorites. As the weeks went by, I started noticing her trying to fit in more with the other students. After class one day, I asked to speak with her and told her how amazing she is and that she should never change to “fit in.” I instantly saw her light back up, and she agreed it wasn’t what she really wanted, but it was what she thought she had to do to be a makeup artist. We spoke for a while that day and figured out what kind of artist SHE wanted to be. A few years have passed, she is now one of the main educators at that same school she attended; her work has been featured on television networks such as SYFY, and is working on the clientele that suits her artistry, not the other way around. I believe this is how you find true happiness in your career because you love what you are doing and not compromising your genuine artistry.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement in the beauty community, it would be for the major beauty brands to notice and partner up with more working artists and the people who truly love and support their brand and not just the large-scale influencers. I don’t think enough truly talented artists get noticed because they don’t have 200k followers. #GetNoticedMovement
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” — Charles R Swindoll
Throughout my life and in this industry, I have realized that you never know what life has planned for you, and you have to be able to adapt accordingly. You need to think about your actions and reactions. For example, I always ask my clients for feedback on their makeup when I am finished, and if there is something that they would like changed, I change it. I understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I want to make my client 100% happy before I leave, instead of taking the feedback personally and reacting unprofessionally. If I don’t give them what they want, someone else will, and I would lose a client. That client you made 100% happy will refer you to other clients, but the client you lose because of pride will cost you clients.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.