MUD Grad Profile: Catherine Addis

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Catherine Addis

“You will leave school knowing a lot. Be confident in that, but don’t assume you know everything.”

Catherine Addis brings a fine artist’s sensibility to her career in make-up artistry. Originally trained in fine art, she studied in Dublin and obtained a Master of Arts degree in Philadelphia. After receiving her Master’s, Catherine worked for the Philadelphia Museum of Art before returning to Los Angeles. She initially pursued a career as an art consultant and marketing associate for fine arts institutions across the United States, before she was inspired to become a make-up artist. She says, “I made the change to make-up because I wanted to do something more creative and less stressful. But I view make-up with the same artistry [as] I would view a painting. I view my career with the same professionalism I would at a metropolitan museum, and I view my clients with the same esteem I’d give an art collector or museum benefactor.”

After completing the Multimedia Make-Up Artistry Program at Make-Up Designory (MUD) in May 2008, Catherine leveraged her training into a thriving professional career that spans film, television, fashion and print media for clients in the United States, UK and Japan. She says: “MUD gave me a strong foundation, so I had the confidence to become my own artist.” She started out assisting established artists like Sharon Gault, James Vincent, Vincent Oquendo, and Linda Cantello on projects for David La Chapelle, Glamour, and American Vogue. Using the connections from these assignments, Catherine created a network that supplies her with ongoing work to this day. She has also written articles and done editorial work for On Makeup Magazine, which led to a job with The Powder Group. Catherine says, “Through my travels and experiences with [The Powder Group], I’ve been able to form many lasting relationships with cosmetics companies, publications, and artists alike.”

She describes her work on America’s Next Top Model as a pivotal moment in her career, adding: “I got flown out to Las Vegas for the night, stayed in a massive hotel room, spent my entire per diem on a fancy dinner with the crew, and got work on America’s Next Top Model! Perks aside, this is the show that inspired me to pursue make-up. So being there on set and doing the models’ make-up was a dream come true.”

With each assignment that she undertakes, Catherine uses her education and experience to shape her work as a make-up artist. She describes her approach by saying, “I think it’s important, as a make-up artist, to keep a keen eye for what’s happening, not only in make-up but in the world. What are the trends? What’s going to be next? What looks or styles do I like? Who’s doing what? And, most importantly, how would I do it all differently to make it my own?” She admires the work and professional ethic of artists like James Vincent, Linda Cantello and Antonella Tolot-Renyer. “[Linda and Antonella] both come from a fine arts background and both view their artistry as just that – an art,” Catherine says. “But more so, they have both taught me a lot about connecting with the person in my chair. These women have a quiet grace about them that is so immediately welcoming. I’ve never seen an actor respond so quickly and intimately as I have seen them in Linda and Antonella’s chairs.”

Catherine advises aspiring MUD graduates to use the career support services at MUD, and to keep an open mind at every stage of their careers. “Keep learning! Continue your education! MUD does an amazing job of preparing you for work as a freelance make-up artist. But as a freelance make-up artist, the job of learning is never-ending. Working for free is not beneath you, and believe it or not, it will lead to paid work. This is your career, so make it one. Keep good records, and don’t be afraid to follow up on an open invoice!”

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