I had a special interview with Jessica Lee this past weekend. For those who are not familiar with her, she is a makeup artist that studied at the Shu Uemura Institute in Japan and the Makeup Forever Institute in Paris. She has been a professional makeup artist for over 15 years working with celebrities and Miss Korea contestants before coming to the States. She currently works at Hair day in K town. She is known for her before and after shots and she has been getting rave reviews from brides to be from weddingbee. I spent about one hour talking about her personal life and how she got started in this business. A Before & After shot of the bride to be is Stella who is getting married next month. She was on her way out to take her casual shots with Studio QInterview: Jessica Lee, Make Up Artist
How did you get started as a make up artist?
I was first introduced to the make up industry when I began having skin problems in my late twenties. I had tried numerous different products and medicines but none of them ever seemed to work. Skin care was rare and expensive back then, but because I wanted to solve the root of the issue I attended skin care sessions that I thought would help me. In the room next door, they were holding make up lessons, and since there weren’t too many make up artists at the time, an interest to learn about make up was sparked within me. And that’s how it all began!
How did you get yourself known?
I first started out as a freelancer. I did make up on models for commercials and advertisements. I would say I started out pretty late. However, one year later, I was hired to be a make up artist for one of the biggest salons in Myung Dong, Korea. From then on, I had the opportunity to do the make up for Miss Korea pageants. Back then, there was no such thing as natural looking make up and when I look back now, I honestly have to say I wasn’t good at all. (she chuckles) Then in 1990, I opened up my own salon and for five years I covered many young celebrities, TV broadcast anchors, singers, and fashion models in Korea. As some of you may know, Kim Hee Sun recently got married. Well, I used to do her make up when she first started out as a model back when she was in high school!
By the end of 1995, I had this vision to come to America to become a celebrity make up artist in Hollywood! (she chuckles) To start off my new career in America, I felt it necessary for me to enroll in a language school, but my plan ended up taking a completely different direction because this is where I met my husband!! He was my English instructor/teacher!! I guess you can say that my reason for coming to America to become a Hollywood make up artist didn’t exactly happen the way I wanted to, but instead, I found my soul mate.
What do you enjoy about being a make up artist?
To tell you the truth, I love it more than being a house wife. I now have 2 grown up kids and my husband has always done an excellent job taking care of my kids. I don’t think I could have been where I am now without him.
I also love that I get to meet with new people, because I am a total people person. Most of the brides I work with now are so pretty and young that I just love seeing them and working with them. They literally make me feel younger too! Sometimes parents can be difficult to work with, but the brides are always great.
What do you like the least about your job?
It does hurt my feelings when brides end up not liking their make up. This rarely happens but I face about 1-2 cases a year…
What is your schedule like?
Monday- Sunday, usually from 8:30am- 4pm. It really depends on the appointments. It’s very seasonal too. During peak seasons, I work with about 7-12 brides on weekends (Saturdays & Sundays) but on average, I work with 5-7 brides.
What should brides expect as they consult with you?
Most of my clients are introduced to me by referral so they know exactly what they want from me. Most brides either want natural or smoky make up which I am completely fine with. However, they absolutely must consult with me so that we can communicate clearly about what they want and what to expect from me, and therefore develop a mutual understanding.
Any suggestions to the brides out there who are interested in your services?
I always receive so many compliments about the make up and since I work at Hair Day, brides have an easier access to hair stylists. Unfortunately, I do sometimes receive complaints about the hair, so I would just like to let brides know that if they don’t like the hair stylists at Hair Day, they can get their hair done somewhere else. It is not a requirement for brides to get their hair done at Hair Day in order for me to do their make up. So ladies, please feel free to do whatever you want! I’m forever thankful and appreciative to all the brides out there who have recommended me. Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you soon!
More Before & After shots of brides to be