Alexandra Perrin is one of Sydney's most in-demand editorial and bridal makeup artists. She talked to PB about building her dream career and the changes she's seen in the industry since getting her start almost a decade ago.
“I knew after completing Year 12 that whatever I pursued in life had to be filled with passion and purpose. I resented the idea of living my life to please other people or following certain expectations. I initially went to University, studying a Bachelor of Business and Marketing. Ultimately, I decided I had to pave the way for my own success. Learning through textbooks and lectures wasn’t my strength!
I was working in retail at the time and experienced a light bulb “Ah-ha” moment. I realised makeup held significance for me and had played a massive role in my life in many different ways. I was 20 at this point and didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling.”
“Nine years ago, when I entered the industry, things were far more by the book. Credentials were valued and necessary, so I looked into a few different colleges and academies to complete my certificate in makeup. Two months into my course, I applied for a casual position at the Mecca Mosman boutique. This catapulted me into the thick of it – I learnt quickly.”
“Having retails as a starting point in my career brought so much value and experience. I am eternally grateful to have worked in such a great company like Mecca. There was so much emphasis on growth within the business and investing in people. For two and a half years of the three years I worked there, I was a manager, which taught me about business. I was freelancing as much as possible, which with full-time management, translated to 6-7 days a week. I was slowly building traction with my own business. It was an exhausting period, but I was dedicated and unstoppable. Going full-time as a freelance artist was about timing.”
“My brother is a life coach, and he was the driving force around deciding to leap full-time freelance. It was a conversation along the lines of “if not now, when?” that took place; that was all I needed to make a decision.”
The power of specialisation:
“There are some many areas in the beauty industry you can go down and specialise in, from film and television to editorial, bridal and events. Finding a niche where you can make name for yourself will help you channel your dream clients to attract the work you want. The bulk of my work is weddings and photoshoots. I was tapping into education for emerging artists at one stage, but the demand for campaigns and shoots took over, so I ran with that. I think it’s essential for artists to be versatile. You never know what job might come your way! The old school method of assisting artists in different fields is still the best way to learn. You’re in the thick of it, you see how things operate and what’s expected, you build up confidence that way.”
“Weddings are unique. There is nothing more special than being part of a bride’s journey. The lead time before the wedding can be year to 18 months in advance. Now with Covid, even two years! the time between booking and the actual event is lengthy. It’s important to support your brides and keep communication flowing. I find that many of my brides will want a trial before the day, which I highly recommend. I aim to do the trial about two months before the day, it allows you to build a relationship, run through everything. You can ensure you’re on the same page and feel confident everything will run effortlessly on the day. And of course, it means you’re not meeting for the first time day of!”
“When crafting a look for brides, it’s critical to understand your bride as a person. Bringing her vision to life and allowing her to look and feel her best is the end goal. Askin all the right pinpointing questions to break down look, pulling up visuals is a great way to communicate what’s desired. Different photographers have different aesthetics and lighting that will change how the makeup translates. Still, cameras. are so advanced these days they pick up on every detail unless you are going VERY light-handed or for a no-makeup-makeup look.
“In terms of favourite techniques, I still absolutely love contouring! Thank you so much Mario and Kim! You don’t need to go overboard, but done correctly, sculpted skin is to die for. I love having the ability to enhance and balance someone’s bone structure, like I’m an architect of the face!”
“The most important lesson has been to remain true to who you are. It’s easy to get swept up, but there’s nothing more empowering than holding your own, being confident in who you are and your ability, and not humouring the noise. It will help you find your niche and connect with the right people.”
Alex’s pro kit essentials:
Skin prep: Go-To Face Hero Oil
Base: Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Glow: By Terry Brightening CC Lumi Serum
Blush: Nudestix Cream Blushes
Sculpt: Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate
Eyes: Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Palette
Lipliner: KKW Lip Liners
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