Recently Fashion Mingle welcomed celebrity makeup artist Bridgett LaDawn Washington as their first Mingle Mentor. Washington is the developer of her own cosmetics line, Glamour Rx, which is an eco-friendly makeup line formulated to look beautiful on all skin tones. A industry success story from Dallas, TX, Washington has been working as a makeup artist for over 20 years and is known as an educator, writer, and mentor to women who are launching careers in the beauty industry.
A self-taught makeup artist, Bridgett LaDawn began working as a makeup artist at a department store retail counter. Bridgett believes that her years of experience with women of all demographics prepared her to be versatile and proficient in all styles of makeup artistry.
Bridgette highly recommends working at a retail makeup counter before launching a career as a freelance makeup artist. “Starting there gave me insight into the corporate infrastructure of how the business behind beauty is ran” says Bridgette. Working as a makeup artist on every skin type, tone, and texture allowed her to practice her craft and was an invaluable experience that paved the way for her to become celebrity makeup artist in less than a decade.
Bridgett’s first big break was when she was hired to provide glam services for Team USA’s media tour before leaving for the 2012 Olympics in London. Washington had already trained a team of makeup artists to work on corporate projects and was recommended for the opportunity by a company that provided services to ABC.
“I trained my girls. We were ready. We trained like the Olympians for that opportunity!” says Bridgett. She prepped her team to create looks that were appropriate for athletes. “We didn’t want to over-glam them” she says. She created a mood board for her team that gave them an idea of what to target for the athlete’s look.
In 2010 Bridgett developed her own line of cosmetics. The brand, Glamour Rx was inspired by the lack of options women of color have in popular makeup brands. “There weren’t a lot of options for women of color. The color selections for us in a lot of ways were off” says Bridgett. Lower quality brands were available and being marketed to women of color but Bridgett saw an opportunity to create something better.
To begin the process of creating her own makeup brand, Bridgett first hired a chemist and closely followed the development process to make sure that the formula worked across all skin tones. Turns out, it was complicated. “In hindsight I wish that I had hired a consultant. I spent a lot of money and I wasted a lot of money on trying and testing out products and making bad business decisions” says Bridgett. While Bridgett faced the normal setbacks of any new startup, after two years of development, she finally launch Glamour RX which is now a complete line of vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free cosmetics for face and lips.
The first customers for Glamour RX were the customers she had working as a makeup artist. “I had a following from pioneering the market in a lot of ways for women of color and that following was supportive. They ordered the products and they shared it with their friends and it just grew from there”.
New products are launching this season, which Bridgett says “are all about the glow” and can be purchased online at www.glamourrx.com. “I’ve got two new products, highlighters that are heavenly. I love them!”. With special attention to the perfect shade for every skin tone, she has created a highlighter to bring out a radiant, natural glow.
I asked Bridgett what every girl should have on before they leave the house: “Well it depends on what feature they want to bring out. I think lips, automatically polish you, but mascara and brows are important too. It’s really about knowing where your area of weakness is and knowing where your problem areas are and targeting that first” she says.
How to Start a Career as a Celebrity Makeup Artist
Bridgett LaDawn Washington is a brand in and of itself and has landed a long list of celebrity clients such as actresses Angela Bassett and Hayden Panettiere. Here are her tips to improve your chances of working as a makeup artist for celebrity clients.
- Be the consummate professional.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Find a mentor in the business.
- Stay on top of trends.
- Invest in your kit.
- Work with corporate accounts.
- Having spiritual guidance.
Bridgett explains that working as a makeup artist is very intimate, “we have to be very mindful of what energy we are putting on our clients. I always approach my clients with a very positive attitude. No matter what is going on behind the scenes, I always clear that from my head before going into their space”.
Bridgett also loves to be a mentor to new makeup artists and offers a 12 week course in Dallas, TX called B.LaDawn Pro Makeup Artistry Classes. The course covers all aspects of professional makeup artistry, including the business behind it. She certifies the makeup artists at the end of the course and helps build their portfolios by taking the student out to work with her on corporate accounts.
Bridgett’s success in large part can be attributed to how diversified she has grown her client base throughout her career. From walking into salons cold and selling herself as makeup artist by using her face as her calling card to calling through the Yellow Pages. “I would call up and say, I know you don’t know me, but if you’ll allow me to make you up, the first time will be complimentary, after that we’ll talk”. Her bold, creative approached worked and she never turned back.
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