Getting to Know you: Amy MacIntyre, Makeup Artist

Amy MacIntyre was born in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in 1981. From a very young age, Amy was passionate about creating art and learning about various art forms.

In public school, she discovered a talent for drawing and painting which she would develop further in high school. Around this time, Amy also began fostering a love for movies and celebrity culture. Of special appeal to her was the make-up that actresses wore in their film projects, on late-night television appearances, and to awards shows. Drawing on this for inspiration, Amy decided that she wanted to pursue a career in make-up artistry. After consulting with a very helpful high school career counselor, she applied and was accepted to a renowned California cosmetology school.

Cosmetology school proved an awakening for Amy, as she availed herself of all the knowledge and industry-specific techniques it had to offer. There, she learned to individually tailor her approach to each client based on the shape, contours, and coloring of their face and neck. After graduating, Amy began her foray into the professional world by apprenticing with an experienced beautician. After two years under her mentor’s tutelage, she decided that she had finally learned enough to strike out on her own. Amy MacIntrye is now a successful, full-time freelance make-up artist specializing in making her ever-growing roster of clients look glamorous for important events. Although she primarily works with private citizens, she has occasionally worked with minor celebrities preparing them for awards shows, which she views as the fulfillment of her childhood dream.

In her spare time, Amy enjoys walking her two golden retrievers, exercising at a local fitness studio, visiting art galleries, and taking culinary classes. Amy MacIntyre still resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, but sometimes commutes to Los Angeles to work with certain clients.

What do you currently do at your company?

I’m a freelance make-up artist. I spend my workdays making sure my clients look beautiful. Mostly, that entails employing the extensive knowledge of make-up products and their correct application that I learned in cosmetology school and under the guidance of my mentor. There is some travel involved, as well, usually to Los Angeles or some of its suburbs. I have the good fortune of being somewhat in demand, and because of that, my clients will cover my expenses to come to them.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I’ve always had a penchant for artistic things. I used to love drawing and painting, but make-up artistry in particular has always interested me. As a little girl, I was enamored with Hollywood and all of its glamor. Although watching films was a big part of that, it was the whole culture that fascinated me. I would spend entire nights watching awards shows like the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes, admiring everyone—but especially the actresses—in their fancy attire and professionally-done make-up. I think that’s where the notion to pursue make-up artistry first was awakened inside me.

What defines your way of doing business?

I’m extremely thorough when plying my trade, and very personable—albeit professional—when interacting with my clients.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

Although I have worked my magic on some minor celebrities before they attended awards shows, I’ve never applied make-up to anyone attending the Academy Awards. I would absolutely love to have my services commissioned by someone who is going to attend the Oscars! Not only would that be a huge thrill, it would also serve as an excellent advertisement for my freelance business.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to stop spending so much time doubting your abilities. Your future self is here to tell you that you do accomplish your goal of becoming a professional make-up artist. Now, go play and enjoy your youth without thinking about it so much!

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I love walking my dogs through local parks, and just spending time with them generally. My two golden retrievers bring me so much joy in life! I like to exercise, too. Besides that, I’ve always nursed a passion for art, so I visit the local galleries in San Francisco whenever I get a chance. I’m also currently taking a culinary class, which I find very illuminating and rewarding.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Well, I can’t speak for them, of course, but I would hope that they might use the terms ‘talented’ and ‘easy-going’ when describing me. 

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine? 

I use my smartphone to scroll through Instagram for make-up ideas all the time. There’s a whole slew of influencers and industry experts I follow, and I’ve learned a ton of great styles and techniques from them over the past few years.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

When I graduated from cosmetology school, I took an apprenticeship with a very established beautician. She took me under her wing and taught me everything that she knew. I’m deeply indebted to her for that. She was my mentor in make-up artistry, and a wonderful role model.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“Use a light touch, Amy. This profession is about subtlety and nuance.” My mentor always emphasized that, and I have always kept it in mind.

What advice would you give to aspiring to succeed in your field?

I would say that to succeed in this field you really have to love everything about it. You have to love learning about make-up, you have to love applying it properly, you have to love sizing up the physical qualities of your clients, and not least of all, you have to enjoy their company. Just by the nature of this job, I engage my clients in a lot of conversation. After all, I spend the bulk of my billable hours only inches away from their faces. It’s an intimate thing, and there’s no avoiding speaking with them. So, if you don’t enjoy that, becoming a professional make-up artist may not be for you.