The pay for student journalists is not worth writing about so, when the odd bone is chucked my way, it’s happy days! Would you like to go and interview an award-winning makeup artist (MAU) while having your make-up done? Hell yeah!
The freelance MAU in question is Butlersbridge based, Pamela Busschots, who was among the big winners at the recent Irish Makeup Awards. She won the overall award for ‘Best Outstanding Make-up Business of the Year’ in Ireland.
Not being your typical girly girl, I was somewhat nervous but, stepping into Pamela’s studio, I immediately felt at ease. Her friendly demeanour makes you feel comfortable straight away.
My face was a blank canvas and I told Pamela to do whatever kind of a look she wanted with it. For someone, who would rarely stray from neutral colours, I was curious to see what she would come up with. Delighted with the freedom I had given her, Pamela started working her magic on me, while filling me in on her experiences so far.
She told me how “privileged” she felt.
“Winning this award is such a great honour for me; it is a huge accolade in the beauty industry. All the early starts, late nights, missed family gatherings, parties and everything else, have all been worth it to bring me to where I am now,” she said.
“I’m available for any occasion,” continues Pamela, “from bridal, special occasion and glam makeups, to festival looks, television and photo-shoots. I also did make up in two of Nathan Carter’s music videos!”
Every few minutes, I would sneak a glance to see the crazy colours she had planned for me - this time spotting a fuchsia pink, which was a far cry from the subtle browns and nudes I’d be used to.
The MUA chatted happily, telling me that her love for makeup began back when she was in school. Having struggled badly with acne, she admitted to having major insecurities and self esteem issues because of it.
“Makeup gave me a sense of control and empowerment; it was my shield between my inner-self and the world, and it made me feel happy,” she said.
At that time, Pamela did not have access to YouTube, Instagram or blogs like todays MUAs, and often found herself in libraries trying to educate herself on how to apply makeup.
She applauded celebrity MUA Kevyn Aucoin, on his book ‘Face Forward’.
“His book changed my whole life,” gushed Pamela. “His words of wisdom resonated deep within me. He taught me how to love myself from within, and how makeup was so much more than covering up imperfections.”
Hence the inspiration for the name of Pamela’s business - Face Forward, which she opened in May 2017.
Pamela was now rooting at brushes, deciding on which one to use on me to add contour on some cheekbones that would give Kim Kardashian West a run for her money.
Pamela progressed to telling me about the training she received in make up.She qualified in beauty therapy from Newry Institute before training in Derry at the Makeup Pro Store Academy. She then went to train with Ciaciaxo MUA Bella Carr, Lisa Shannon and Sandra Gilligan, makeup specialists. At this time, Pamela had a change of profession and started doing some youth work instead, before having children of her own, as well as fostering.
Pamela had moved onto my lips at this stage, on which she used my beloved nude colours, which put my mind at ease as I tried to picture what I looked like.
“When I went to go back into makeup, it had changed so much from what I had learned,” Pamela continued. “I thought, how am I meant to get back into this?”
So, in 2017, Pamela travelled to London to complete a professional makeup artistry course with Illamasqua School of Makeup. She now continues to upskill as much as possible.
Before I knew it, Pamela stood back to admire the finished look, touching up anything she felt was out of place. I was so nervous as she led me over to the mirror, remembering the array of pinks and purples I had spotted her using, as well as the butterfly lashes she had also applied, which brought me well out of my comfort zone.
However, I was pleasantly surprised when I met my reflection looking back at me, and how the colours didn’t clash terribly with my red hair as I had imagined they would.
Instead, the colours were flattering. There was a deep purple tone under my waterline, which made my eyes pop, as well as a silver glitter on my lid, which really made me feel glamorous.
As I sat there wondering why I had never strayed from my subtle shades, I noticed how clear she made had my skin look, without giving it that “cakey” look you would often see when others try to achieve this result.
Over-all, I was delighted with my experience with Pamela, and it became clear to me how passionate she is about her work.
The only problem I had was trying to find somewhere to go that night to show off the new me.