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Amy Kenny

Make-up Artist

Amy Kenny

"You really never stop learning, so keep reading, keep researching and continue to update your skills with masterclasses by artists whose work and careers you admire."

Amy is a Melbourne-based make-up artist with 15 years’ experience in make-up and 5 years in hairstyling. Her work spans across bridal, fashion, head shots and advertising. She has experience in runway and corporate videos and fashion films.

Amy's work has been published in online and in print magazines (HUF Magazine, Papercut, Superior Online, and more) and seen in commercials and advertising. She has worked at the Melbourne Fashion Festival with some of Australia’s great comedians, writers, musicians and TV personalities.

1 What did you study and how has your career path evolved?

I wanted to do make-up from my early teens, but I was good at science so I started a science degree at university. There weren't a lot of make-up courses around back then, and most schools didn't have websites in the nineties! In 1998 I did two short courses in make-up. I then worked part-time in retail cosmetics so that I could do some freelance work whilst earning a regular income. I worked my way to counter manager, and did freelance jobs when I could. I freelance full-time now, but I continue to do masterclasses to keep developing myself, as I feel you never stop learning.

2 What advice would you offer students looking to get into the make-up artistry industry?

Work hard right from the start. Don't rule out working on a cosmetic counter. It may not be for everyone, but it's a great way to build your skills with different skin tones and skin types, and also helps you increase your application speed. Assisting established make-up artists is a good way to learn about the industry and understand job etiquette.

You really never stop learning, so keep reading, keep researching and continue to update your skills with masterclasses by artists whose work and careers you admire.

3 What is the Australian industry like, how is it unique?

In Australia, you really need to be able to do hair as well as make-up. I started doing hair about 5 years ago and it's opened up a lot more work opportunities for me.

4 What's the secret to becoming a successful make-up artist?

You really need to be an all-rounder. Make-up skills are important, but you need to get along well with people, be organised, professional, punctual, a business person and a great communicator. It's really hard work, so you also need to have a genuine passion for what you are doing. It's hard to get up at 4am if you don't absolutely love it!

5 What's it like running a make-up artistry business?

Each day is different. Sometimes I get up at 4 or 5am and work all day, other days I start at 9am and I'm finished by lunchtime. You don’t get the chance to switch off when you have your own business. There are always emails to answer, jobs to prep for and brushes to be washed! Sometimes you think you are going to have a day off, but then you need to go out to buy supplies, answer calls and send out contracts and invoices. Then you realise you need to update your website and social media!

6 What are the biggest challenges you face in your daily work and how do you overcome them?

Learning how to switch off and relax is my biggest challenge at the moment! I'm always thinking about what I need to do for the week.

7 Anything else you would like to add?

Stay connected to other make-up artists. We often work alone, so it's great to have friends that work in the same industry. It’s a challenging job, but it’s very rewarding. You get to meet so many interesting people and help them feel great about themselves.

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