Jaclyn Forbes, who graduated from CMU’s 26-week Comprehensive Makeup Artist Program in 2015, has carved out a space for herself in the world of digital content as an influencer whose platforms include YouTube and Much.com; she uses her background in Makeup Artistry to take her posts to the next level. We caught up with Jaclyn recently to hear about what she’s been working on, where she finds inspiration, and what her go-to makeup products are.
Tell us a bit about what made you want to attend makeup school.
Growing up, I never felt passionate about school and what I was learning. I knew I wanted to further my education, but with something that would excite me to get up in the morning. Since the beginning of high school, I knew I had interests in the arts, and had even considered the idea of being a makeup artist. It wasn’t until I deferred my acceptance to a university program and took a gap year when I realized that I NEEDED to go school for makeup. I was so interested in the makeup artistry world – I spent all my free time researching different techniques and products. I decided if I was going to invest this much of my time learning about makeup on my own, that it might be an indicator that it’s something I should pursue formally, post-secondary. I took one tour of CMU and knew right away that it was the program for me.
How did you decide on CMU College for your education?
I went on a tour at CMU and was instantly drawn to the program. The diverse courses, from fashion to theatre to prosthetics – I knew I was going to learn a variety of makeup skills that could be applicable in so many different types of makeup careers. I also loved the fact that the program was six months; the idea of being in school for a four-year program was so daunting to me at the time.
What was your experience like attending CMU College?
My experience at CMU honestly changed my perspective about school. From nearly accepting the fact that in my earlier years I would dread attending school, after my first day of class at CMU, that all shifted. I would be giddy waking up in the morning, knowing that it was “zombie day” in class, or race home after school to play around with my new airbrushing skills. I finally felt like I had that passion ignited in me and I couldn’t get enough of it. Beyond learning practical skills, I got to make so many friends and fellow artists who are still a part of my life, even years after my schooling.
Since graduating, you’ve had a lot of success working with different brands and engaging an active audience on YouTube and Instagram. How has your background in Makeup Artistry played a role in this?
Having a professional background in makeup artistry has played a huge role in my career as a digital beauty influencer. Not only do I feel confident in my skills and what I can teach my audience, but working with brands is much more harmonious. I feel like I have a better understanding of the beauty industry and product knowledge thanks to my education. Knowing that I not only have a certificate to back me up, but the tangible skills as well, is invaluable. With the online beauty space being so saturated with creators, having a formal education in makeup artistry makes me feel like I have something unique to offer in this space.
You hosted the Magic of Movie Makeup panel at TIFF last year – what was that experience like?
Hosting the Magic of Movie Makeup panel was such an interesting experience. Being able to host a panel full of so many makeup artists whose work I watch on the big screen was truly surreal. It felt like a full circle moment for me – it connected both my worlds of work as a host and a makeup artist. I can’t lie and say there wasn’t moments where I went off script and just admired the artists as they demoed their work. There’s something so beautiful about getting to see artists work right in front of you. I feel like I learned so much listening to them share their advice, stories and tips. It also reminded me how much you can constantly be learning from others, even when their success and careers can make their work seem so untouchable.
You are also a creator for Much Music – how did you get involved in that role?
I was posting videos for fun on YouTube for about a year before Much Studios reached out to me. They had come across my videos online and after meeting with the team, asked me to join their network. Working with them has been such a dream come true. As a young girl, I would go watch the Much Music Video Awards as a fan and dream of becoming a Much Music VJ. Now, being a Much Creator, I get to work on so many projects that I would’ve never imagined to come true. The team at Much Studios has been so supportive of my career both online as an influencer and as makeup artist, and has helped me find a way to marry both of those passions together in an engaging way. Between hosting the MTV Fora Fashion Feed on the red carpet at the 2018 MMVAs, to filming interview segments with artists whom I admire, working with Much over the past few years has been a whirlwind of excitement and opportunities.
What are your goals for the future?
There are so many different avenues that I want to explore – sometimes the thought of everything I want to accomplish can feel overwhelming!! I definitely want to continue sharing videos on YouTube. Connecting with my audience both online and off has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I think this will be my primary focus for a while. YouTube allows me to pursue all of my different passions – beauty, fashion, acting, hosting, cooking, pop culture – I mean, the list could go on forever! That being said, I still love the more traditional idea of makeup artistry and would love to do makeup travelling on tour for an artist. I’ve always joked around and said that a dream job would be doing makeup for someone like Dua Lipa on tour! I’ll keep dreaming…
I’d also be excited to get back into the film and tv world at some point, if the right project came along. Right out of school, I was fortunate enough to work on Odd Squad (the television series) and Odd Squad: The Movie as an assistant makeup artist. It was such a learning curve for me and I felt like I grew as an artist in such a short time.
Ultimately, I want to continue to work on projects that excite me – that give me the feeling that I was talking about earlier while being in makeup school. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the online world continues to mesh with the more traditional world, and how I’m going to navigate that. Only time will tell!
Where do you go for makeup inspo?
Is it too cliché if I say Instagram?!! I swear, Instagram has to be the best tool for makeup inspo. I get to see what beauty trends are going viral around the globe. We’re all exposed to a variety of creative people that I’m constantly finding myself staring down at my phone, stopped at an incredible look. You should see my ‘saved’ tab on IG – it’s full of so many makeup looks!! Instagram is great because people are constantly raising the bar and forcing everyone to be that much MORE creative.
What are your go-to products at the moment?
I always need a good lip balm, that’s a given. I’ve been loving the Kelley Baker Brows eyebrow pencil lately. And I can’t live without my Makeup Forever Flash Palette. I swear, I can create just about anything with just those rainbow grease paints!!
What advice do you have for people who are considering pursuing an education in Makeup Artistry?
I would say that it all comes down to the drive and motivation you have to put yourself out there. I would recommend reaching out to the people you admire and sharing your work online. I also think it’s easy to get caught up with what everyone else “appears” (and I put that in quotes for a reason!) to be doing, but trust me when I say that comparison will only hinder you. I’d also say to be open to whatever path you fall into – I had such clear-cut vision of how my life/career was going to pan out, and I can tell you that it rarely ever follows that. Trust yourself, your work, and with a good work ethic, everything will pan out in the timeline that it’s supposed to.