Living in Las Vegas, working full time for Cirque du Soleil, and freelancing in Makeup, Hair, and Wigs: What else could beat that? Owning an Academy to teach those skills is an amazing attempt! I’m Meghann Mason, and my business partner and Co-Director of Academy of Makeup and Wig Design in Kelsey Contois-Husch. What brought us to the decision to create and run a school? Why is one needed in Las Vegas? What can we share with our new readers looking to find a career in Wigs and Makeup in the entertainment industry?
We both are lucky to work at KA, Cirque du Soleil’s epic tale of family and adventure at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Because of these positions we are around awesome performers, acrobats, technicians, and artisans everyday. Like any job, your routine becomes your day and are looking for creative outlets outside of work. In our unique lives, that began to translate to photoshoots and big, crazy events where they needed giant cupcake inspired wigs, or a real life black unicorn, or a disco mirror dress with matching mirrors on the face. We were able to utilize our relationships with our friends to create these stunning shoots and events. As the events grew larger, we realized we needed more and more professionals helping us – particularly wig and makeup artists and preferably some that did both.
The experienced and super talented artists we knew were constantly working and so there was a need in our industry to have more artists that could do wigs and makeup. We get asked a lot about the difference between a wig artist and a hair artist. There is a lot of crossover, however, due to the fact that at cosmetology school wigs are barely touched upon, a lot of hair stylists have little experience with wigs, and almost none with theatrical wigs.
Building, fronting, ventilating, designing for specific needs (i.e. acrobats, aerialists, contortionists) requires very specific knowledge that is just not offered in cosmetology schools. So we decided to teach it.
As for makeup, there are so many talented artists I have met over the years that are extraordinary! It is easier to find makeup artists for the large events we help produce, and they are usually so excited to do designs that break the barriers of plain beauty makeup. It is something we decided to teach as well: designing makeup for productions (theatre, film, events), how to work with the different designers on a project, color theory, lighting, print and editorial, corrective, and special effects. We are looking to train artists how to be creative and collaborative, and be open to new ideas and create dynamic designs. We hope that our classes will help artists feel confident in whichever direction they choose to direct their path towards.
We do differ from other schools in that we also teach the everyday lady and gentleman how to apply their own makeup in different ways. We get asked all the time about different tips and tricks to do this or that by our friends and loved ones. Sometimes total strangers ask once they find out what we do! Everyone wants to feel beautiful. We offer these classes, such as the “Smoky Eye Workshop” and “Natural Makeup”, so that anyone can take charge of their beauty and be confident. Confidence is sexy and beautiful and we aim to help provide it.
Why Las Vegas? To begin, our full-time jobs are here. We have cultivated a beautiful life here and despite its reputation as “Sin City”, it is one of the kindest and most philanthropic cities we’ve ever lived in. In addition, schools of our kind tend to be only on the East or West Coast with one exception in Ohio. The cost of living on the East or West coast can be very expensive. My education in Los Angeles was pricey plus rent and bills made it difficult to have a solid jumping off point. Having that same education here in Las Vegas allows students to have more financial breathing room as well as being in the heart of a thriving entertainment industry.
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