Success Stories

CMU Alumna Emily O’Quinn finds success in the TV and Film Industry

By July 16, 2019 December 9th, 2021 No Comments

Emily O’Quinn has rooted herself in the Television and Film Industry working as a Makeup Artist. Emily began her career quickly after graduating from our Complete Makeup Artist Program in 2012, she has gone on to be apart of award-winning shows such as Orphan Black and films like IT. Operating as the Head of Department on different features has given her the opportunity to design makeups for talented actors. Check out our below interview with Emily to find out what inspires her, how she decided to become a makeup artist and the recent projects she has worked on.

What is your favourite thing about being a Makeup Artist?

My favourite thing about being a makeup artist is being on set and the sense of camaraderie that comes with the professional relationships that you form. When your crew has open lines of communication, problem-solving becomes second nature. You learn so much about the craft when you’re learning from obstacles that pop up from day to day. I feel like being a makeup artist has made me a more collaborative, patient and creative person. There’s no ceiling so it’s an exciting space for personal and professional growth.

What inspired you to pursue a career in makeup artistry?

It was kind of a gut feeling. A friend of mine went to CMU the year prior to me and I’d seen some stuff that she was doing in class. I was totally blown away to see that makeup artistry could be more than just “pretty” stuff – and one day while I was sitting in a science class (in highschool) it hit me – I should combine my interest for science and art to pursue makeup artistry.

What did you enjoy most about attending CMU?

I remember CMU being such a transformative time for me. I was young, from a small town, experiencing Toronto for the first time. The location was so central, and all of the instructors, staff, and students seemed so connected. I loved being surrounded by encouraging, knowledgeable people who wanted to support me and share their expertise with me. I felt like it bred such a healthy sense of professionalism and in turn – artistry.

What have you been working on since graduating from CMU?

Straight out of the gate I got sucked into Film and TV. I skipped the theatre/fashion world and narrowed in on what I loved the most – which was creating characters. I’ve been fortunate enough to be Head of Department on some features that allowed me to design makeups for Jordana Brewster, Nina Dobrev, Jesse Williams, David Cronenberg, Rose McGowan, Christopher Lloyd, Tuppence Middleton, Ben Platt, Jay Baruchel, Sheri Shepherd, and so many more incredibly talented and lovely people. I’ve also been super lucky to meet a group of phenomenal artists who have brought me onto projects like Orphan Black and IT.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I love doing special effects, so honing in on my prosthetic and appliance application skills is something I’ve been working at lately and hope to continue. But honestly, I’m open to anything in the future. I feel like doing my best and remaining optimistic will bring things that are meant to come my way. I want to work with more makeup artists, contribute to great films and hopefully travel a bit more.

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