Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gals We Admire: Louise Griew

Makeup artist and beauty writer Louise Griew says she tries to end her workday by 7pm the latest, but it can be hard to shut the computer (and her brain) off. With so many cool and exciting projects on the go, including a newly-launched beauty blog, we can understand why it would be hard for the talented and creative Griew to simply stop thinking about her work.

Name: Louise Griew
Profession: Freelance Makeup Artist and Beauty Writer
Twitter handle: @LouiseGriew

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish.
When I’m doing makeup and hair for a shoot, my work day actually starts the night before. I have to ensure my kit is organised, I have all the supplies I need and my brushes are clean. Shoot days usually start early. I wheel my kit (a medium-sized suitcase) to the car and drive to a location or studio. I arrive, spend about 15 minutes setting up all of my stuff in a designated makeup room and consult with the art director or photographer about what kind of look(s) we’re going for. Typically I’m given a schedule of who the talent/models are and what time they should be in my chair. I’ll spend anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour on my subject, depending on what the job is. Once I’ve finished hair and makeup, I’ll go onto set and watch for any changes: shine; fly aways; lip touch ups, etc. Lunch is usually a yummy catered affair, one that I have to get in on early if I want to eat because the next lot of talent will come in and need to be prepped by the time lunch is done. The afternoon is a repeat of the morning unless we have to change location. Every shoot is different: advertising shoots start early but tend not to go into the evening while music videos can be gruelling 18 hour days where you listen to the same song a hundred times over!

When I’m writing, I start my day by reading the news to see what’s happening in the world and then I settle down at my MacBook Pro with a cup of tea. I always send a few emails and check social media before writing an article or pitching ideas – I find this gets the juices flowing. My writing days are pretty comfy; I’m at home and can take breaks at the gym or meet a friend for lunch. Often I’ll be trying new products or checking out spas. I try to wrap it up by 6 to 7pm but sometimes it’s hard to shut the computer (and my brain) off!

Then, of course, there are the boring administrative days spent invoicing, chasing up payments, balancing books and updating websites.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
Believe it or not, I wanted to be a forensic scientist. I ended up with a degree in psychology thinking I might eventually follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a psychologist or researcher. To get myself through university, I worked at makeup counters and started meeting photographers and working on-set. Soon after graduating university, my career in makeup was snowballing… and here I am. Thinking back now, I did get into my mum’s makeup a lot, wearing eyeshadow to school a few times in grade six before deciding the bullies couldn’t appreciate an orange smokey eye! There was also the hair ‘salon’ I opened in my living room during elementary school where my dad obligingly sat for a weekly ‘hair cut’… so, yeah, maybe there’s something in that!

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that I’m my own boss and that I have flexibility. If I want to travel I don’t have to request time off and I’m not restricted to a few weeks a year. I also love that my days are always different and there’s very little routine. When I’m on-set I’m meeting new people and working on different projects. Through writing I get to review new products and spa services and am often invited to fun PR events. I can take my work with me all over the world - all I need is my kit and my laptop. I had an amazing four years in Melbourne, Australia because of it.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Being freelance, I am responsible for finding my own work - there are no elves hiding in the background promoting me to new clients! It’s a competitive business with a million other makeup artists and beauty writers out there so you have to stay on top of your game. Also, the government doesn’t do much to help us self-employed folk. We get no benefits and no security, which can make life challenging…and expensive! In particular, it’s tough for women who want to have children, as maternity leave isn’t an option. The uncertainty of it isn’t for everyone.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I think I had a calling to do something creative. While I’m a nerd at heart, creativity keeps me happy. Writing has always been a passion: I used to write pretty epic short stories as a kid and still daydream about writing a novel one day. Maybe without makeup, writing never would have turned into anything for me. I started writing about beauty-related things because I knew about them and the combination turned into this layered freelance career. 

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Take risks. You don’t know until you try.

Say YES! When opportunities come, take them. You never know who you’ll meet or what can come of it. 

Change is good. Small changes can bring big things. Sometimes it takes a change to find what you love.


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