Last month, a local artist proved to the world that Calgary has a strong talent base. Amilee Hagon, Make-up Artist of DMacstudios and a graduate of Artists Within School of Make-up, won second place at the student make-up competition of IMATS. “I wanted to compete to test my metal,” says Hagon.
“Everybody tells you that you’re great, you’re wonderful, and you’re awesome, but you never actually take it to heart until you enter a competition. I was looking online for a competition to enter into for make-up artistry, and IMATS is the biggest competition in the world for make-up artists”.
This year, the theme for the Beauty/Fantasy make-up student competition was The Wild Kingdom, and Hagon’s concept was the raven. ”I’ve done a few practices before heading out to Vancouver”, says Hagon. During practice, she was able to create the whole look, from scratch, within two hours (the allotted time allowed in the competition). “I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to get all the stuff done, but I had a lot of extra things I could have done if I fell short on my time.”
At IMATS, Hagon actually finished 20 minutes before time was up – a huge advantage! So, she was able to add all the extra details, clean up her lines, and perfect the overall look.
The IMATS student competition uses a point system to determine placement. Points are given for reflection of theme, design, application techinque, use of color, overall presentation, and hair styling (bonus points).
Hagon didn’t play too much with the model’s hair. Instead, she added a decorative mask to complete her raven concept. Hagon believed the mask added more to the overall look of her raven, but this editor thinks that if Amilee applied her talent to the hair style, she would have definitely stolen first place.
Although Catlyn Jeong of Blanche Macdonald Centre won first place at the IMATS Vancouver 2012 competition, Hagon was just points behind of stealing first place. ”I asked David [photographer of DMacstudios] what he honestly felt, and he said that the competition was really stiff,” says Hagon. David predicted that Hagon may win third place. “So, when third was called and it wasn’t me, I thought, ‘aw … that’s too bad, maybe next time’ “.
To her surprise, her name was announced for Second Place instead.
The hardest challenge for Hagon as a make-up artist was getting past her own insecurities. “I used to lack a bit of self-confidence in my work.” Hagon gives a lot of credit to her support system at DMacstudios for her growth. “David [Mackenzie] and David [Burkinshaw] would smack me, whenever I said something bad about myself. I learned to look at my pieces objectively and realized that my work is good. I still think that I can improve upon it, but it is good.”
As a make-up artist, listening to your friends’ advice and feedback can be useful, but Hagon suggests that professional advice is even more important. “Your friends and family will always say good things,” says Hagon, “and when you’re really close to your work, it’s really hard to see the true quality of your work”.
She has seen the consequences of relying solely on family and friends’ feedback to judge one’s quality of work. It can lead to a misconception of one’s quality of work and disappointment at competitions.
Hagon’s advice: Always step up your game; always keep your momentum, even when things are getting tough. “The world isn’t going to hand out everything to you on a silver platter, so you really have to work for it, and when you work for it, the rewards are ten times better.”