By Ariel Pierson
I started out with the mindset that this demonstration was to be just about makeup and about the James Ryder Makeup Labs. Not really expecting much more than a demo about makeup application and Ryder telling us about how great his makeup labs are and how much we needed to take them as students and future professionals. Instead, it became so much more than that. Ryder effortlessly and eagerly gives students amazing advice and even welcomes and encourages feedback and questions. He had a smooth and easy manner that you would not expect from some with his professional experience and of his caliber. It was as if Ryder was speaking to me personally instead of a group of sixty, and at one point I got so caught up in his little side stories that I completely forgot to take notes!
Ryder confesses, “I didn’t want to become a makeup artist.”
I was a little taken back by that emission, but thoroughly amused by the story that followed. Ryder first started doing makeup when he was sixteen. It seemed that his girlfriend at the time, who was a model for the JC Penny catalogue, had convinced him to go to an editorial makeup workshop. The man that was giving the workshop told Ryder that he had to take the class or leave, meaning that he had to pay and participate or leave. Ryder’s reply was that he was a drummer and started to leave. He started chuckling as he recalled the incident and what the man said next, “Shut up and take the class.” Ryder stayed and took the class and realized he had a natural talent for makeup artistry. After that his girlfriend and all of her friends started asking him to do their makeup. It escalated from there and he started receiving calls from photographers asking him to do their making for their photoshoots.
“My first photoshoot for Vogue was when I was seventeen.” I about died.
The more he talked, the wider my eyes became. Ideas and possibilities that he inspired started forming and taking shape inside my mind. I started to get a little giddy at the possibilities that came to mind. I could do anything I wanted! But his advice didn’t end there.
Do the social media networking, 15-20 minutes every day, using your real name on your professional page, which should be open to everyone. People will want to find you when you get recommendations and when you apply for work regardless of where it is. Save the drunken nights and inappropriate posts for your private page that is not accessible from the public. We are developing a product and we have to dedicate our free time to working on this brand. We are that product and that brand. In order to be the best that we can be, we need to make makeup artistry our lives.
In a small demonstration Ryder challenges Hayley Beck of Tricoci’s Rockford campus, to a one minute eye makeup application. Both Ryder and Hayley had one minute to apply makeup to a student Ryder pick from our crowd. There were six to seven brushes each of them would use, preloaded with the correct makeup. Ryder explained to Hayley the sequence and techniques to applying each brush to the eye. Taking the time and make sure she understood what was expected. One minute each. All six to seven brushes already in hand. He said that his goal of this demo was to finish first within the one minute and have the best application. He looked to the crowd with this joke and laughed sheepishly.
Ryder completed his eye application first. Speeding through it with 11 seconds left on the clock. The crowd was stunned. He created this smoky eye that was both seductive and alluring. Next it was Hayley’s turn. She was hesitate and nervous, but that didn’t diminish her talent nor his preparation. Hayley finished her eye with 18 seconds left on the clock! Talk about unexpected! The only difference between the eyes were Ryder application was a little heavier.
This one minute demo was a reflection of a makeup application in a professional settling, whether in a photoshoot or fashion show. Ryder explained as professionals in our field, we need to be prepared for any opportunities that come our way. That’s what defines us as professionals. The key to doing this? Have two brushes of each kind preloaded with makeup. Set these brushes up in exactly the same way every time, so that when you need the brushes your muscle memory will automatically grab the correct next brush! Ryder goes on to explain highlighting and shading are also the most important part of makeup. Brilliant. This was an “ah-ha!” moment for me. Such simple tips and trick that can help us students shoot to the top of our game and become rock stars!
“You can pick the salon you want to work at with a rock star portfolio…Your portfolio is your power. It’s fun.” – Ryder
Ryder advises that students need to be working on photography shoots on our days off or during any free time that we can take advantage of. We can work with young designers, photographers, wardrobe stylish and real models from local schools. Once you do one shoot, they will continue to use you. If you can complete three or four photoshoots, your next step is fashion week. Your ultimate goal should be to get published in magazines.
Model Mayhem is a free social networking website that will allow us to connect to thousands of people in the Rockford/Chicago area for photoshoots. Ryder tells us, “Go after them. Say, ‘Nice work, lets shoot.’ Don’t be passive, saying, ‘I hope we can work in the future’.”
An amazing portfolio will allow you to work anywhere you want to work, regardless if it’s fashion, in a salon, or the movie industry. The first picture should be your best image. When organizing your portfolio, your power shots should always be on the right. More time is always spent looking at the photos on the right because the page has to be turned. Ah-ha! I furiously scribbled notes trying to take in every last drop of advice Ryder gave us. Start with only a half a dozen shoots. “Do not go pass twenty,” Ryder advises, “Take out the old, and put in the new.” Always cycle with your current imagines. You need to be taking photos every few days and post to them to social media websites, take advantage of Instagram, it’s free marketing.
Your portfolio should always accompany your resume. When creating our resumes we should be “stacking,” This means we need to be noting any fashion designers and clothing used at the photoshoot. If the wardrobe stylish used Vera Wang on the models, Vera Wang needs to be noted on your resume.
“Internships are the best thing you can do. This will make you more powerful as an artist.” Ryder goes on to tell us a story about a student that took his Makeup Labs and she didn’t know where to apply once she was finished with cosmetology school. He advised an internship and gave her some examples of where to apply; the ballet, the opera. Fifteen minutes after her leaving school she had an eight month internship already lined up. After the internship, she had offers from other operas, one of which flew her out to them and offered her the job personally. She still keeps in touch with Ryder, “I can’t wait to get to work every day to see what I get to do.”
For films, Ryder advises getting “on set” experience now while students are still in school. Even if you want to work in a salon, you will look different, special. Start with student films before transitioning to do films even if your portfolio is amazing you need the experience of how things are during filming. Go to the Film Department at the local universities or the State Film Commission website director. Everyone in the state will be listed with credentials. Cosmetology students need to be interning as a production assistant to learn how movies work, this will help get you starting on your career.
Students and professionals have the opportunity to receive advance training and mind blowing experience that can open up potential to phenomenally crazy possibilities. Ryder gives students tips, practical and priceless advice as future professionals.
There’s always going to be a way to do anything, you have to find your own way of doing things. Find your own inspiration. Ryder confesses that his inspiration has always been music and Rock & Roll from the start. That’s were his gritty edge look manifested from. And although we are taught the “James Ryder” way at his Makeup Labs, we need to expand and make it our own just like everything else.
Ryder was funny, engaging, and informative, and I for one cannot wait to take his Makeup Labs.
“Just jump in and do it.” -Ryder