Louisa Liao graduated from CMU in 2011 from our “Complete Makeup Artist” program. After graduating, Louisa got straight into work landing a job as a makeup artist in the 2011 Miss Universe Canada pageant which she described to us as a hilarious experience. From there, Louisa worked hard and built her reputation and became one of the top makeup artists in Toronto for Asian/East Asian clients. She has worked on a variety of projects from Vera Wang photoshoots to Lady Gaga music videos; Louisa shows no sign of slowing down! Recently she co-founded Reve Makeup Inc. Continue reading to find out more about Louisa’s experience as a makeup artist including a story working with a VIP client who took her on a glamorous trip to Morocco!
What inspired you to pursue a career in makeup artistry?
To be honest, I wanted to be a painter but whether it was on a canvas or on a face, I have always wanted to be an artist. I figured that playing with makeup with all its colors and making something (or in this case someone) beautiful is almost the same as painting. However, I figured that as a good makeup artist I can make some real money and not go down the starving artist route haha! Besides, I could have all the time to paint when I get older.
What is your favourite thing about being a Makeup Artist?
My favourite thing about being a makeup artist is I get to create things! Over the past years, I have gotten the opportunity to get to know many interesting people, go on amazing complimentary trips and buy so much makeup without feeling too guilty. There are so many benefits in being a makeup artist!
Why did you choose CMU? What program did you enroll in and why?
I enrolled in the “Complete Makeup Artist Program” back in 2010 when the school was named “Completions”. I chose CMU right away after I opened the website! Once I saw the amazing portfolio which featured some incredible prosthetics makeup work I instantly had that feeling of “this is somewhere I belong”.
What did you enjoy most about attending CMU?
Wow, that was a long time ago! I liked how our teachers are from all the industries. It offered a diverse learning experience, from fashion, film, theater, or prosthetics workshop, I was able to learn what it would be like working in all different fields.
From hearing all the different stories across the industry, I noticed how important a reputation is with an artist, I got to know which products are a MUA’s favorites and eventually figure out which field in the makeup industry I wanted to be in by coming to class and getting to do it everyday.
What’s the most important piece of skill you learned at CMU?
I can’t figure out which is more important! The first thing I would say is when we were given the opportunity to create looks from fashion history, all the different decades and cultures, it made me connect with make up in a different way and really inspired me. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I was able to learn and exercise how to use different tools with the right products to create the perfect look!
I also find that knowing how to communicate with clients and meet professional standards is helpful, so getting insight on that in our classes and how to handle ourselves as a professional makeup artist was important as well.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of enrolling at CMU? As well any words of advice for aspiring makeup artists in general?
For CMU students, the best advice I could give to them is to make sure you do your best when creating your portfolio. For each project you need to take it seriously! Your work speaks for yourself, it’s as simple as that.
For aspiring MUAs, be patient. It will take a long time before you can really make a lot of money, because it takes time to build experience and your reputation in the industry.
After graduating, how did you get started working in the industry?
I worked as a retailer in Sephora and a freelance makeup artist at first. Working as a freelancer and in retail I was able to get to know more about makeup products, practice my makeup skills and take my time to build my portfolio outside the part time job I had.
What jobs have you been working on since graduating from CMU?
I’ve worked on a lot since graduating. Here’s a list of the jobs I’ve done over the years:
- Miss Universe Canada 2011 (Makeup Artist)
- The Sound Of Music Stage Performance 2012 (Theater Makeup Artist)
- WOWTV Talk Show (Beauty Talk Guest)
- Lucid Mass Exodus Fashion Show (Makeup Artist)
- Become One of the Seven PBA in Sephora, Canada, 2013 (Personal Beauty Adviser)
- Phoenix TV Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant 2013 (Make Up Lead & Beauty Judge)
- Lady Gaga’s Music Video Dancers group 2013 (Makeup artist)
- Metro News for Zombie Event 2013 (Special Effects Makeup Artist)
- Vera Wang Magazine shoot 2014 (Makeup Artist)
- Become CMU Makeup Art and Design 2016 (Brand Ambassador)
- Bridal Work Featured in Wedlux Magazine 2017, 2018, 2020
- Co-Founder of Reve Makeup Inc. 2020
Now I’m working with several different studios in Toronto.
What drew you in to doing bridal makeup? What’s your favourite thing about working in this specific area of makeup?
It’s always been my passion to bring out the most of every girl with my professional skills and creativity, knowing how clients satisfied my work really made me think it’s worthy to be a makeup artist. Wedding day is one of the most memorable days for everyone, and I am so honored to be someone that contributes to it. Also, I can see a bigger potential in the bridal makeup business in Toronto. I’ve been practicing Bridal Hairstyling over the years as well, even though it’s pretty challenging, I get a sense of accomplishment everytime I finish the whole look myself.
From Vera Wang to Lady Gaga, to fashion shows and musical theatre, what has been your favourite experience on the job so far?
Well, although being able to work backstage for fashion shows and music videos is exciting, I would say my favourite experience would have to be when a VIP client took me to Morocco for a week! I was her personal makeup artist and every morning I would do her makeup but what happened after that – during the day – was incredible! She would take me along with all her guests to the market for morocco oil, I was able to ride camels, we had dinner in a castle, watched entertainment with belly dancers, and swam in the pool in the manor we stayed in under the stars – it was just an amazing experience as a whole!
What was it like working on Miss Universe Canada 2011?
Can I say hilarious? Haha! I was nervous because there many of the other make up artists had worked for over 10 years worth of experience and I had only just graduated! Some of the pageants are nice and some are a little more on the pickier side, where they would love you to put contour on their cleavage and put body oil all over to make their bodies shinier. You get to see the glamour show on stage and all the drama from backstage hahaha, it’s fun.
You are the co-founder of Reve Makeup Inc. could you share with us why you decided to venture into creating your business and how it all came to be?
As the Market demand goes up, I builded a large client base and good relationships with many photography studios. But as an individual, there is only so much energy and time that one can offer. After many years of working in the industry, I came across many talented Makeup Artists in Toronto, so we decided to work together. This way we can offer various makeup services to many more clients, and by working with other makeup artists, it’s also a chance for us to learn and grow from each other as a team.
Where do you find your inspiration for your makeup looks?
I follow a lot of artists and magazines online and social media like Instagram. Seeing talented people’s work is very motivating for me. I also get inspired by paintings and nature, these are good inspirations for me a lot of times!
What else do you hope to accomplish in the future? Any dream projects?
I am trying to do more creative shoots lately! My next goal is to get my work featured on Vogue one day.To see more of Louisa, make sure to visit her website or follow her Instagram @louisa.makeup.hair.