Being A Make-Up Artist


10262155_10156598114755556_910807236022384390_nContinuing with my theme around Celebrating Success and Cheerleading, I am going to be talking to the Make-Up Artist, Alanna Flanders-Doughty.

I first met Alanna a few years ago when I participated in a styling makeover which was a collaboration between my hairdresser, a stylist, a photographer and a make-up artist (Alanna).

Alanna was just embarking on her journey as a Make-Up Artist (just over 3 years ago) having left behind the security of a full time job.

I remember really enjoying hearing about all her plans for work and the various training she had done and would continue to do.  I also remember that one of the big challenges she also faced was to learn to drive.

That was 3 years ago now and through Social Media, her website and sheer hard graft, I have seen Alanna turn her business into a roaring success.  She has worked in magazine and television and has the most amazing portfolio.  She is also travelling all around the country in her own wheels!

Of course, this success doesn’t come handed on a plate and Alanna has been tireless in her efforts to build a reputation in the industry and this is one of the things I have admired most about her.Painted09.jpg

Photograph : David Bradford

Alanna, you chose a path into an extremely competitive industry, tell us about how you managed to get a breakthrough?

A lot of hard work. When I first started I knew no one in the industry at all. I had to start from scratch. I began by building my portfolio which involves meeting up with a new photographer, model and stylist to get pictures. You are all working together to create some nice images for your portfolio. You have to do this quite a few times to start with to build up enough sets to make a nice portfolio website for yourself. Whist doing this you need to get yourself out there by assisting other established make-up artists to learn how to work in different environments. All these things help you build your profile. It takes time but soon all these people you meet will start offering or putting you forward for jobs. As you can imagine it does take a long time and lot of people aren’t able to make it work. I’ve been very fortune to make it pay off a lot quicker than some, I guess I just really wanted it and knew I could do it.

I often see you make references to Make-Up Artist’s being expected to work for nothing in exchange for the prestige of working for a ‘brand’.  This is of course a common problem for small businesses.  How did you deal with that when you were starting out? 

I simply said no!  The unfortunate thing about these make-up schools is that they aren’t teaching the students the rights and wrongs of this job. So when you leave it’s pretty much up to you. A collaboration is the only thing you should do unpaid, everyone is doing it for pictures and no one is making money from you all working together. When a brand approaches you this is a different story. No matter how new you are you do deserve to be paid. The promises of exposure simply aren’t true. Be true to the industry as accepting these kind of jobs doesn’t help us to move forward.  You are worth it.

What advice would you give to other small business owners starting out alone? 

Never give up. Nothing happens over night. It really does take a lot of hard work. You will have knock backs and in the beginning you might feel like you have made the wrong choice but keep going. If you love and enjoy what you are doing, the money will follow.  Fortune favours the brave.


What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Oh gosh their have been so many I just enjoy getting up everyday and doing what I love. I’m very lucky. I’ve worked with some celebrities, commercials and at The BAFTAs. It has all been amazing.

Who/What keeps you accountable and motivated? 

I have to get the work myself. No one is going to do that for me. Even when I’m not out on set I am still working from home promoting myself and doing admin. I will still get up and get dressed for work every day.

What stopped you from giving up?

I just knew I could do it. Everything I’ve done in life I have done to the best of my ability.  No matter how hard it was in the beginning I knew I could make it work. Going back to my 9-5 desk job just wasn’t an option for me. I was enjoying what I was doing and I wasn’t prepared to give it up. I’m very stubborn and headstrong! 

You will have seen my recent post about Cheerleaders.  Were you lucky enough to have the support of others? 

If I’m honest, I was surprised about the support I’ve received from some people but this has only made me even more determined to keep going. I think things like this do show you who matters. I am so grateful to those who have shown me support, ‘ve received some lovely messages and compliments from those least expected. My fiancé, mum and dad always tell me how proud of me they are and are amazed of how far I’ve come in this time.

Any further goals you want to share?

I’ve got a very long list of goals for this year. It’s the first year I’ve actually written them down. They are on my fridge and I look at them everyday. They are really ambitious so I’m hoping I will have a few ticked off soon.  As for what they are well I would like to keep that to myself for now!


Photograph : David Bradford

Alanna, thank you so much for taking part this series.  It sounds as though you have some exciting plans on your list of goals.

It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to look back and reflect on how much you have achieved.

I have to say, I’d book you out every day to do my make-up if I could!

You can find out more about Alanna’s work on her website.

Alanna is the last of my three lovely local ladies who have participated in this series.  You can read more about the others here :

Heather Waring – Walk to the Rhythm of Your Heart

Laura Piercy-Farley – Sharing the Success of E18 Yoga

Thank you so much for reading.  All comments are welcomed and will be responded to.


12 thoughts on “Being A Make-Up Artist

  1. All three ladies have been interesting – and I enjoy your way of doing things… you are a cheerleader yourself!
    (Off-topic….One thing that fascinated me was the surname of this lady. It’s my maiden name. At school all the teachers mispronounced it.)
    One thing that comes through in the interview with her is the work involved. All goes back to walking in the shoes of the other person. Blogs like yours help us to – at least try them on.
    Thank you for another inspirational post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susan. That’s a lovely thing to say. I’m simply coming from the perspective that there has been so much ‘mud-slinging’ around the choices people make and coupled with the lovely challenge, this is where I got to. Interesting re surname – that’s one for Alanna. Very often entrepreneurs (especially women) aren’t always taken seriously. Their work is quite often referred to as a ‘hobby’ or ‘that little thing you’re doing’. It can be quite patronising and these ladies are showing us how it’s done. Way to go, I say. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment.


  2. Another great insight into a successful business owner’s life. Thanks Nicky! I very much like the fact that she has goals, strong boundaries and knew when she started that she deserved to get paid. Congratulations on your achievements Alanna!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting Ute. Women, business and money can sometimes be a tricky one can’t it. I think in this kind of industry one has to set out their stall early on to save any difficult conversations later. After all, favours don’t pay the rent or help our business to succeed. Not charging or under charging can often be misconstrued too and devalue the quality of the service we offer. Alanna’s message is spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, particularly for self-employed women. I think Alanna has it spot on in starting as she means to go on. You obviously have first hand experience of the same thing. Very frustrating. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are great pics aren’t they. Her story is very inspiring and I really enjoyed being able to hear of her success after meeting her before she had really got started. Thanks for commenting.


  3. Nicky what a lovely little series! And Alanna is definitely very inspiring, I am just trying to start out in the wedding industry, but it is all very, very early days at the moment. Thank you Alanna for giving me a bit of a kick up the bum! Thank you so much for linking up to #KCACOLS Nicky. Hope you come back again next Sunday xx


    1. Thank you Clare. That’s exciting – are your plans for the wedding industry related to the feature you have been running on weddings? It’s always great to hear other people’s stories isn’t it. We all need a swift kick from time to time. That starting over feeling is scary although the fear usually comes before a big step forward I tend to find. Look forward to hearing more about your plans and thank you for commenting.


  4. What a great post! I loved reading about Alanna. She has achieved so much in such a little time!! She seems to be very focus. It amazing to have the opportunity to do a job that you love and it looks that she has that!! Brilliant!! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I love having you here, 🙂 xx


    1. I think Alanna has chosen a very exciting path (albeit one that can be hard to break into). She is also very good at what she does. They say our passion should be our work and she seems to have things spot on. Just goes to show what happens when you put yourself out there. Thank you for commenting and hosting.


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