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Kayleen McAdams came to Complections to gain the refined skills and confidence needed to succeed in the highly competitive field of make-up artistry. Her experience previous to enrolling in the 14-week Essential Make-up Artist Program involved “practicing on friends, family and myself…(and) studying my favourite Kevyn Aucoin books.” She also had the opportunity to assist the key artist on the Los Angeles set of an independent film just before classes began – an experience, she says, “that really helped me to focus on what I wanted to accomplish at Complections.”

Studying both fashion and character make-up, Kayleen was able to work “twice a day, every day” on practical skills, and worked weekends to get as much hands-on face time as possible. She acknowledges, however, that her learning process continues even today and says that assisting was her way of “learning things that you were never told in school, that just can’t be taught but must be experienced.” This experience, for Kayleen, included working under the Associate Beauty Editor at Flare, and assisting artists on music videos and commercial work. Having the fortune to work in the US opened many doors for her as well. “I find that it does not matter how young or inexperienced you are here,” she says. “There is less of a sense of paying your dues and climbing up the ladder. Here it’s about the work and who can do it, and what new and fresh ideas you can bring to the table.”

Her dedication and ability to connect with artists and agencies (she’s now with The Wall Group) helped Kayleen land opportunities working with Pati Dubroff and Stéphane Marais; her favourite job since graduating has been “working with (Pati) on Vanity Fair’s ‘Film Noir’ Hollywood portfolio.” Kayleen has worked with stars like Amy Poehler, Ginnifer Goodwin, Alanis Morissette, January Jones, Zoe Saldana, Rosario Dawson, Emmy Rossum, Rachel McAdams, and The City’s Whitney Port. “Every year I return to Toronto to work the Film Festival, and it is one of my favourite jobs that I always look forward to.” And, she adds, that while working stateside has allowed her to “grow (her) career in different ways…I would love to work with more Canadian magazines, designers and photographers in the future.”

While Kayleen’s star continues to rise – she speaks highly of her agency, within which she is “surrounded and supported by amazing people, both agents and other artists, who want to see me grow as an artist and as a person” – she knows there’s still much work to be done. For this reason, she advises aspiring artists to “BE PERSISTENT. It is not easy to get started but well worth it when things start falling into place.”

You can view Kayleen’s portfolio here.