Why the beauty industry?


photo: EedyPhoto

I freaking love my clients. Not one of them is the same ..although I do love them blonde , haha. Just kidding, adore them all! Besides all the obvious beauty this industry brings, it has much bigger perks. The idea that clients tell all to their stylists is….umm…SO TRUE. Shoot, I could blog daily about everything I spoke about and best of all listened to. In the beginning I didn’t know how to handle it. I have lived a super sheltered life, Ive experienced love , hate, tragedy, and miracles. But I honestly wasn’t ready to face what I now consider '“normal’ conversation. Long marriages ending in divorce with secret children from girlfriends in other countries, suicide, loss of children, not being able to have children, quitting jobs, losing jobs, cancer, drug abuse, secret lives, blissful marriages, graduations, births… everything. I live for it . I live for it all.

It took me years to know how to handle this “second” job I had. Being the secret keeper of these precious conversations only held while I’m foiling profusely to stay on-time. ( And to think for years I didn’t blog because I didn’t think I would have much to say) Often times though I get the wonderful , caring and sweet client that asks all about my life, married? kids? where are you from? why did you choose the industry ? ….and the number one: you look young, how long have you been doing this? (although sadly Im not getting this question as much!haha)

An easy answer is : Mom is a stylist. A wonderful one at that. Well, actually she’s a wonderful person first, great listener , and then she’s one freaking badass precision cutter. I seriuously learned from the best. But, to be honest she very easily could have had many careers in my eyes. So Im not sure why she chose this industry , but Im so glad she did because her know how, and relationships always inspired me. So the longer answer to that question is this: Yes, Im vain. hahahhahahah. I think my mother was amazing at telling me , no matter what terrible style phase I was , how beautiful I was. I have started to pass this habit down to my Georgia . However, I hit a sad chapter of my life with accessive acne. Not just any acne, cystic acne. My parents were super athletic, impressive runners, my mom did triathlons and I was a full time swimmer…like, year round . So I would like to think besides eating a few dunkin sticks out of the vending machine at school I was pretty healthy. This acne crippled my confidence. My parents never experienced this in the way I was.


After taking me to an Estee Lauder counter and having a kind older woman apply a full face of foundation on me , with lavender eye shadow, bronzer, very black mascara, and a plum lipstick, I literally before my own eyes transformed into the person I felt like I was on the inside. Happy. Mom bought me a few pieces out of the makeup lineup she offered, then put me on accutane. Looking back, Im aware she took a big chance on a hefty drug. I was 13 I think. I had to immediately get on birth control to insure no pregnancies because of a massive chance of deformities and I couldn’t donate blood for three years after. Nuts! I have heard nightmare stories of people being really depressed , lots of nose bleeds, horror stories. Besides massive dry skin and some days literally having my skin peel off, I felt all of my confidence coming back.


I could have been a-little boy crazy, which can make any girl uber self conscious. There were no filters on myspace. Also, because I was a swimmer I was a bit young to have my hands on water proof makeup. For at least 2 years I suffered piling on loads of makeup, to ensure a good day. Flash forward this many years and if I don’t put my makeup on in the morning I wont get much done. Sounds bad-but Im just trying to be real. Its like my armor…almost like that phrase dress for the job you want , not the one you have. Once I started sharing my love for makeup at a young age, it trailed into my love for all beauty….also, I didn’t live in LA or NY so I couldn’t JUST be an MUA, mom said. I needed to be able to do it all. She was right. Quickly I realized what I liked better than doing makeup, was sharing all of my tricks and secrets. Shaving my face (been doing that for years) I love its the rage now! My fav sunless tanners or the hottest bronzers on the market! Which led me to doing many many brides and on location shoots when I lived in Charleston and Miami. Now living in Jacksonville and in my 30s, my face is changing. My desire to do makeup never dulls, but there have been major changes in my routine. (That will be another blog..or better yet, vlog.)

One great quote I always recite to women is : Make-Up is the last thing to enhance your beauty, but its important because it has the potential to build your confidence and give you courage. I think this is a Lauder quote. My reason for choosing this industry is actual to spread a beautiful message. Life is hard, life is messy, inconvenient and never stays the same. But we all have this inner power, and capability thats so strong to lift each other up. To recognize someone suffering, someone in need of a push to get to the next place, or push them off the ledge to fight for their marriage, or forgive an old friend, or just love them even if youre aware they dont want to change. I get to touch women everyday..makeup them feel heard, make them feel loved, and leave feeling hopefully just as beautiful on the inside. Its so much more of a delicate job, than a trim or a gloss. Its a craft . Its a beautiful career.

I think it is so important to find your purpose in life, of course we have many jobs doing things we don’t love. But those are chapters that can come to a haulting end when you can look deep within yourself to find your purpose in anything you do . Even the simplest of tasks. Who can you inspire? Who can you help? Who can YOU learn from by closing your mouth, opening your heart and your ears.

Stephanie Waltrip