Brittany Bottenhagen isn’t necessarily the prime candidate for summer camp, per se, but she is an excellent candidate for James Ryder’s illustrious makeup focused Bootcamp in Los Angelos. Cosmetology and Esthetics students are handpicked from around the country to attend James Ryder’s highly coveted Makeup Labs Bootcamp, which means getting in is like a scene from Mean Girls. “I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”
Brittany, like the majority of the students who’ve attended, got accepted by attending his 2 part, 10-hour workshop held at the Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. “The last hour of the second half of class we could create any fantasy look we wanted, and based off if they liked your work, they’d invite you to the bootcamp. I showed his partner, Olivia, a picture of the fantasy look I wanted to do to get her opinion and I was going to do a mermaid. She then says ‘Oh, James didn’t tell you?’ And me confused, I said ‘No, didn’t tell me what?’ Then she proceeded to tell me and all the other 45 people in the class that we couldn’t do a mermaid look. I found a geometric kind of looking picture that I decided to do and I pretty much just said let’s hope for the best because I really wanted to be invited to bootcamp.”
James Ryder and his assistant Olivia are notorious for their stone-like expressionless faces during the final creation of looks. They walk around not saying anything and not giving any hint of whether what you’re doing is good or bad. Can you say stress? However during this particular workshop, while Brittany was in the middle of doing her look, their other assistant, while heavily eyeballing her work, said ‘I like it’. Wait, whaaaa?
Brittany had decided to go to cosmetology school because she had always known she wanted to do something different. Never really being into the whole “traditional schooling, go to college for 4 years thing,” she had always been interested in hair and makeup. Then after a year of being out of high school and still just working, and not being very happy with the life she was living, Brittany took the plunge and finally signed up for Tricoci University’s Cosmetology Program at the Glendale Heights campus.
So as the timer went off, they called Brittany and about 9 other people up front; she was nervous. James meticulously went through each of the final looks and let everyone know what he thought about their work. When he came to Brittany, though she was nervous that he wouldn’t like it, he invited her to the James Ryder Makeup Labs Bootcamp.
While at bootcamp, Brittany met some wonderful people and role models that she’ll “hopefully be in touch with for the rest of my life.” Brittany and the other “campers” were taught what it would be like in the worst possible scenario on a movie, TV, or magazine setting. And on the third day, they learned prosthetic work – which was incredible. Brittany had a very rough start to the week and thought that maybe she wasn’t up to par with the other students. And from the start she thought, maybe she didn’t deserve to be there. When the last day came around something had changed. She started working a little bit faster and a little bit harder. She was getting look after look done, including her very last look which was her most intricate and detailed. Once she was done and James was about to shoot the look, he was so impressed he told everyone to look at her work and what a beautiful job she had done. And on that Wednesday night, they made her group leader.
Brittany chose Tricoci University because she knew it was a reputable school and she had been to Mario Tricoci Salons & Spas before and they had always done amazing work. When she came to TUBC to get her tour, she says she was greeted with nothing but smiles. All the students she saw looked like they were actually enjoying themselves, as where when she had visited other cosmetology schools in the area, “I definitely got a very different vibe.”
“Some advice I have (for other students) is just to push through no matter what – and get your signoffs done! I hit a wall probably about a couple of months ago and I finally got through it. I’ve just been pushing myself to make sure I graduate as soon as I can. Just do all you can to keep your attendance up and always be kind to everyone you’re at school with.”
“To all my teachers and all the staff at TUBC I just want to say thank you. All my teachers have been nothing but supportive and wonderful throughout my whole career at TUBC. I feel so lucky that I started at such a great campus and I have such a good relationship with all of my teachers.”
Brittany’s ride or die YouTubers and Instagrammers are definitely Nikkitutorials, Jeffree Star, and Manny MUA. “I feel like I have a similar personality to Nikki, and just her mannerisms and she always does such BEAUTIFUL work that it’s hard not to love her. I like Jeffree and Manny because they’re honest about the products and they don’t sugar coat things. And Jeffree’s product line is AMAZING as well. I have about 25 of his lipsticks, 3 of his highlighters and his makeup palette.”