The world’s biggest makeup artists have gotten to their current standing because at one point in their lives, they realized that they had outgrown a station. Such can be said of Austie Eckley, who started whose first career station was as a makeup artist for the MAC brand.
Eckley quickly outgrew this role, switching lanes and adding additional branches to her personal brand: designer (she counts the Kentucky Derby among her clients), hairstylist—but throughout it all makeup artist extraordinaire.
Who gave you your first makeup set?
When I was in grade school makeup was not aloud so I would sneak my mom’s red lipstick to school. I would get in trouble for wearing bright red lips on a weekly basis.
At which point did you realize that you were an expert at what you were doing?
I don’t think I will ever think that fully. I am always striving to get better and to learn knew techniques. I did an editorial recently for Rachel Ray magazine and that was probably the coolest day of my career.
A lot of times when a girl takes up something, whether it be hair, makeup, interior decorating…and then starts practicing on her friends and becomes good at it……after a while it becomes necessary to draw the line and start charging for services. How did you handle that phase of your career? Resentments, expectations of family members and friends, who probably thought, “Oh, Austie does hair and makeup. I’ll just have her do it. Then I won’t have to pay for it.
I think when I started my own business in freelance hair and makeup is when I decided I needed to make some strong boundaries on what I was willing to do for free. I do feel [the need] sometimes to bless others with my services and that’s when it feels good to do it for no charge.
You’re called on by every outlet from WWE to Rachel Ray to Runner’s Magazine for your services. That’s awfully impressive. How did you land your first big client?
I give all the credit to God for my success. I think having a website that showcases your work beautifully and professionally is most important.
Can you take our hand and lead us down to one of your busiest days?
HaHa…Well my busiest day looks a little different today than it did three years ago. Today it looks like 7 am to make two bottles for my nine-month-old twins and breakfast for my two-and-a-half-year-old. While at the same time, I am throwing makeup on myself and an outfit to make it out the door in time for a job. Once I am at the job, I just thrive in the setting because I love what I do and having a mom break is amazing but nothing compares to the feeling of coming home to my 3 smiling girls.. and so many kisses….
How do you usually prepare for a makeup session?
By making sure my brushes and kit is cleaned and sanitized, call sheet printed and an early bedtime.
What do you do in a situation where your vision for a client isn’t shared by the client?
I try and give my professional opinion as gracefully as I can but at the end of the day the client is the boss so I always try and meet their vision.
You’re known to do a few upscale weddings here and there. How do you approach the makeup of a bride who’s getting wed during early morning hours versus one who’s tying the knot in the afternoon or late evening.
I always do whats best for for the client. We choose the look based on the clients features not the time of day necessarily.
What are your favorite tools to work with?
My brushes and all my skin brightening products.
Do you think that the fact that you are both a makeup and hairstylist give you a certain edge?
Yes, for sure because a bride usually hires me for everything so I can provide the entire team. My brides usually order their veil and or headpiece from me as well.
For makeup artists who are just getting started, what tools would you recommend that they purchase to launch off?
Good brushes, and a variety of different brands. You tube is also an amazing learning tool these days.
Do you think tutorials, books, and workshops are great investments for the beginning makeup artist?
Absolutely…As much as possible and also interning with a respected artist is key.
Do you do your own makeup?
Yes, always. However, it is fun to have other makeup artist practice on you.
What are some of the things you’re looking forward to accomplishing in your career as a hair and makeup artist?
I feel like I have already accomplished everything I need. I think anything I do from now is just a bonus to all the blessings I have already been given in my business.