Interview with Cary Wingard
Makeup Pro, Cary Wingard, is a Makeup Artist in Florida. Her extensive experience doing makeup and hair for celebrities, date nights, and everything in between makes her a great asset to our PocketSuite Pro community. Cary talks to CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro about the power of relationships and treating every client the same.
Cary, thanks so much for being here today to talk to us. You’ve been a member of the PocketSuite community since mid 2017. You’re a makeup artist. Your designs are amazing.
We want to educate folks about the world of makeup artistry. I’d love to begin by learning about how you got into this work.
I love that question because I like to relive my beginnings. I wish I could say that it happened all of a sudden. At the beginning, it was all about the great money. I was 17. As a 17 year old, you think about, “Okay, I’m making all this money, forget about school. This is what I need to be doing.” This is not something I would recommend to kids now. I was one of those lucky people who found her true passion early on. It was my friend. She’s actually a dentist now. She said, “Hey, come with me to a music video. I need an assistant.” I was like, “Sure.” I just wanted to hang out with her.
Only in Miami. Come with me to a music video. That only happens in Miami.
Yeah, we used to hang out. Then I fell in love with the set and everything that had to do with the production part. I remember getting paid $400 that day. We’re talking 17 years ago.
Some of my clients may be big talents, they’re known around the world. And some others may just be known in their own homes. It’s okay. They’re all important to me. I have that same sense of loyalty and give my best.
How many hours?
It was like a 14 hour day. It was a very long day. But if you think about it, this was 17 years ago. It was a lot of money back then.
That is a lot of money even now.
Yeah, exactly. She was paying me out of her pay. So imagine how much she was making as the main makeup artist. It was one person doing the makeup for the talent – the musician and then a lot of dancers. I remember it being over maybe 20 dancers. It was mainly dancers and she couldn’t handle all the work on her own. I was a natural doing makeup. I would do makeup on myself. I had done all my girls’ sweet 15 and sweet 16 makeup. She brought me into that job. She was my mentor, even though she was just two years older than me. She was my first mentor. I had never gone to school. I have received certifications along the way. But back then, all that mattered was experience and recommendations from another person. Now we see makeup schools and different certifications that help you in this industry. Back in the day, it was all about who you knew. If they knew of your work, then you were in basically. So I was one of those lucky ones.
That’s amazing. They say success is when preparation meets opportunity. You were totally prepared because you had done makeup for your friends and then your mentor called.
And you answered the call.
So let me ask you this, doing makeup on a studio set, is it dramatically (pun intended), different than doing makeup for someone who’s just going to go to a nice party? What’s different about it?
Maybe just the setting. The way I treat my clients is the same. Whether it be for a music video or for just a wedding or a date. I get hired for so many different things. I’m proud to say that I treat all of my clients with the same love and respect and adoration. I adore my clients. So it’s all about having the same sense of respect and “Hey, I appreciate that you are trusting me!” What changes is the set. Some of my clients may be big talents, they’re known around the world. And some others may just be known in their own homes. It’s okay. They’re all important to me. I have that same sense of loyalty and give my best.
Check out our comprehensive resources for everything you’ll want to know about becoming an esthetician including training, certifications, associations, and licensing!
How much of your business is special occasions? Like, a movie set, a dance video, a wedding versus “Hey, I just have a date.” or, “Hey, I just want to look nice today.”
It’s mainly photo shoots. So I’m mainly on set. I do a lot of commercial work and I’m very involved with the fitness industry. About six years ago, I started in the fitness industry. So I’m going to say 80% of my business comes from the fitness industry. Within fitness is commercial, including commercial photo shoots, modeling shoots, and products. Then the other 20% might be weddings and special occasions like six-15s and things like that.
What’s a six-15?
Like sweet 16. It’s the same thing. it’s the Spanish version.
Oh, the quinceanera. I love it! We have a ton of fitness and health and wellness folks in our community. So I bet you they’re listening super closely right now. When you say fitness, what kind of things are you doing with fitness? Is it that they’re making promotional videos and they want you to help them with those? Is it, “Hey, it’s a regular class of 20 people and we want them to look their best because they’re on camera?”
Okay, so imagine being on a set with bodybuilders that compete professionally. They’re on a set with professional photographers, taking pictures for a magazine. Another example is a supplement company that has professional athletes. They’re representing the brand. There’s photos and video with the products and the athletes. The most common are the fitness models – any content for their Instagram and their web pages. They contact professional photographers that work with the fitness industry to get that content. I’m there to provide hair and makeup services for the talent, in this case, the athletes. I work mainly with athletes and their social content. They’re always looking for that professional service. Experience and application and what looks good on camera.
You know, it’s funny when I spent some time on your Instagram profile, I saw so many bodybuilders and actors. I was like, “Wow, are these family members? Who are these people?” I didn’t know that was your niche. When you meet an athlete or a bodybuilder on set how do you decide, this is the right look for them? Do they come with some ideas of things that they like – inspiration? Or are you just working totally off a blank slate?
I am grateful to have the absolute trust of my clients and they trust my work and my experience. At the beginning, it was all trial and error like everything. I needed to find what looked good on camera with the athletes. Because if you think about it, we’re doing a photoshoot in the gym. What kind of makeup do you really wear in the gym? You’re working out.
The sweat is going to wipe off, right?
Living in Florida, too, you have to take certain things into consideration – the weather, how the makeup is going to do. Thankfully, I have plenty of experience and I do this a hundred percent of the time. This is all I do. I have plenty of time to get enough practice through trial and error. I have the knowledge about what to do, what looks good, and what looks organic.
What advice would you give? Just give us two or three tips. If you’re a fitness person who, let’s just say you’re trying to create content for your Instagram and you’re doing it yourself. I’m not yet ready for Cary, but I’m going to reach out to her soon. Right now, I’m just going to do it myself. What advice would you give them?
So, the main advice is get a professional crew to create your content. There are so many of us involved in the photo shoot. You have the photographer, videographer, hair stylist, and makeup artist, which is me, I do both. You also have a stylist for clothing. If you have the budget, that would be my first piece of advice. If you have a smaller budget, what should you do? You can have a one-on-one lesson with me. Through FaceTime or Zoom. I can show you what to do on camera. I can recommend the products that you can use and do it yourself. If you feel confident enough to do your makeup. I have many clients who do it on their own when they are out of town or in another state. When I can’t be there, I do one-on-one lessons. So do that, but always, always make sure your content is professional looking. You’re really putting some thought and investing in it. It pays off when you look at the images and you want to grab your client’s or your audience’s attention. Definitely, professional content is always going to stand out rather than just selfies.
So people might be looking at your life and they’re like, “You have the perfect life and the perfect job.” That may be true, but can you share with us some of the hard parts of what you do? It’s like, “Hey, if you’re going to do this work, you’ve got to come prepared with this kind of attitude or with this kind of experience.” What advice do you give folks who want to know more about what they are getting into when they become a makeup artist?
My main advice is you have to be flexible. Sometimes things might not go the way you think they’re going to go. Sets might change. You might have to work outside in the sun. You might not be comfortable all the time where you’re working. I have many difficult situations where we’re working under the rain or under the sun. Or we have worked for 30 plus hours straight. So they’re certain things that might happen to you. That’s why flexibility is probably the main thing that you should always have. Your client will appreciate it and they will call you back. When things take a wrong turn and then you’re like, “Okay, I’m with you no matter what happens. I’m with you here. I’m part of this project so count me in for whatever you need. You need to be prepared and think ahead about what you might need on set. So sometimes it’s hard because you cannot take everything with you. So what I’ve done is create separate kits for different things to take with me. I have them in my car just in case I need them. Sometimes you have to have a chair and a light and your kits. Also, traveling is difficult if you have a family. I have three kids, a husband, and a household. In 2019, because 2020 doesn’t really count.
Yeah, 2020 has been canceled.
In 2019, I had over 25 trips, the whole year – international, pretty much everywhere. So, being away from my family, definitely that’s something that can impact your personal life. But if you have an amazing partner like I do with my husband, he’s my rock. He’s the best part of my house. I mean, he is everything. He tells me, “Just go do it. I’ll take care of everything.” So if you have a good support system, definitely that’s going to help to make your career successful. So for sure, it’s been difficult to be away from my family. Even though I mentioned it last, that’s probably the number one thing that may be difficult to deal with.
So anyone who wants the #MUA life has to get their family ready for what’s involved. I didn’t realize you took international trips. Can you tell us about one of your international trips? What was that like?
There are bodybuilding shows all over the world. The federations – they have shows everywhere. Sometimes I get invited to be the actual, official hair and makeup artist. I’ve gone to Costa Rica & Mexico. I’ve made a lot of connections internationally. Last year, I was supposed to go to Dubai and Japan for shows as well. So, that was huge. They were postponed so I’m hoping maybe this year it will happen. Then also, I travel to the West coast – LA, Las Vegas and East Coast – New York. Those are the main cities for those shows. Those trips happened throughout the year. We did Bahamas last year as well. I did Bermuda. There are so many, so many places I’ve gone.
That just shows how great you are! Your clients could technically hire local makeup artists, but they do not want to mess with greatness so they fly you in.
Yeah. I’m so grateful for my clients. I have such a loyal clientele that’s what made my business survive throughout the whole quarantine. It was definitely a hard time for everybody in our industry. But thankfully, I was able to ride it out and I’m still here – stronger than ever. I’m still giving a hundred percent.
We’ve seen that. Businesses who have gotten through COVID are stronger than ever. A lot of business owners, like you, credit their strong client relationships for helping them get through this tough time. Those are relationships that go well beyond any service that you provide. That’s huge. So, I noticed on your social media that you use plant-based products. It’s funny because I’m a stickler when I buy food, to read the ingredients, but I can’t say that when I buy makeup, I’m really dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. What is plant-based makeup? How do people get hip to it?
It requires time and you have to be really devoted to it. It’s basically looking for ingredients that are clean. Anything that has animal content is something that I completely got rid of in my kit. Everything in my kit is vegan. I don’t use anything or any brands that test on animals. So it’s all about having that consciousness and it can take a little bit of time. It did take me a while to develop my kit like this, but it’s worth it. People value that and they appreciate it. It’s something I definitely recommend to all my fellow hair and makeup artists – to use vegan products. Once you stop using products that do these things, slowly one by one it’ll add up. It’s all about the future and for me, that’s it. If I can contribute to the future for my children, I’m definitely doing it. My house is completely green. We don’t use anything that has any harsh chemicals from our hand-wash to cleaners. Everything is recycled and so we have a greenhouse.
That’s all in, I love it. You’re going to have to keep educating us at PocketSuite. We will share how to go green in your business with our community. Because that’s a hard leap for so many to make. Tell me how did you join the PocketSuite community? What’s been the experience so far for you?
It’s funny because I was using QuickBooks Self-Employed. And I wasn’t happy with it. Honestly, I was like, “This is too complicated.” At the time, I was looking for an app that could send reminders and do everything for me because I was dealing with so many things that I needed to get the peace of mind. I did my research and then PocketSuite came up. I tried it and I fell in love. Ever since, I have recommended it so many times to all my fellow makeup artists and hair stylists. It is the app to use if you’re self-employed and you’re in this industry. I love it. My clients find it easy. They respond through text. There are so many features that I love about this app. I definitely recommend it. Thank you so much for changing it through the years and making it better all the time. I appreciate that.