“At an early point in your career, try to get a clear vision of what direction you want to go, really work toward that goal and focus.”
Make-Up Designory (MUD) graduate Michelle Affronti has built a career doing what she loves – make-up, hair, and wardrobe for television. She first arrived in Los Angeles in 2001, driven by a desire to pursue styling and make-up artistry. Over the next few years, Michelle studied Visual Communications at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and Fashion Design and Sewing at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. In 2005 she completed the Journeyman program at MUD.
Some of Michelle’s first freelance assignments included jobs on-set for CBS’ 60 Minutes, Twentieth Television, G4 TV, commercials for Nestlé and Discover Card, and runway work for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios. She also applied for a listing that she found on MUD’s Career Center for Current TV, a cable network available in about 58 million homes. In 2006, she was hired by Current TV to work freelance for a special Halloween shoot. From there, she worked her way up to her current position as Key of Make-Up, Hair and Wardrobe, which she has held since November 2009. Michelle describes her responsibilities today: “I work full time at Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown LA. I work out of a full make-up and hair studio. I get to be a part of…nearly everything that goes on air for the network, including promos, marketing campaigns, and special advertiser segments. Some of the content allows me to be creative and create character make-ups such as bald caps, monster make-up, blood work, wigs, costumes, and tattoos.”
Her favorite assignment so far has been working on a promotional video for Current TV called Target Women that featured host Sarah Haskins. Michelle says, “[Sarah] was fabulous to work with and trusted me 100%. I got to do everything – hair, wigs, make-up, and I personally picked out every costume look, down to the earrings. I spent hours upon hours in the Warner Bros. Costume House, it was heaven.”
In her spare time, Michelle attends make-up seminars and classes, stays in contact with other artists, visits her local beauty supply stores to experiment with new products and techniques, and keeps a “make-up inspiration” book full of ideas that she finds inspiring. She follows the work of her favorite make-up artists like Lottie, Melanie Mills, Vivian Baker and Ve Neill. She also enjoys sewing, reconstructing and deconstructing vintage clothes, as well as a variety of DIY arts and crafts projects.
Throughout her career, Michelle has been guided and motivated by a strong work ethic. She stresses the importance of bringing your best to work: “There are hundreds of make-up artists out there…you always have to stay on top of your game, leave your personal issues at home, show up with a good attitude and be willing to problem-solve at any second. Bring your business cards everywhere, talk to everyone, ask a lot of questions, and get others’ business cards too.” She also advises up-and-coming artists to focus early on their desired career. Her advice: “Meet as many people as you can, learn from others, make mistakes, ask a lot of questions, experiment, and listen in the make-up room, but don’t gossip.”