Student Success Story: Megan Garcia

Megan Garcia always knew she wanted to be an artist, even at the age of 5. She just didn’t know how yet.   She was always interested in being involved somehow in making movies, and as she got older, life kept pushing her in that direction.  Megan believes a career working in film chose her. In 2017 she left her home in Arizona, moved to Portland to attend The Art of Makeup School, and has never looked back.

Before attending The Art of Makeup School though, Megan’s high school give her the opportunity to simultaneously attend cosmetology school. By the time she graduated high school, she already had her license. Feeling unfulfilled by the makeup education she received there, she went searching for a school that focused on makeup artistry. That is when she found The Art of Makeup and signed up for The Master Class. She plans to return and continue her education by learning more in depth character makeup skills in the Character & Special FX Program.

Upon graduating from The Master Class in October 2017, Megan immediately took advantage of the AoM job board. She worked on her first fashion runway show, called PDX Fashion Network. There she worked alongside her peers and a dozen other AoM graduates only ONE DAY after she received her certification. She jumped on the next job board opportunity and went on to volunteer for the Oregon Ballet Theater at one of Portland’s grandest theaters, The Keller Auditorium.  She worked backstage doing theater makeup for the eccentric and avant-garde production of Alice in Wonderland.  Her enthusiasm and professionalism caught the attention of the head of the makeup department. Much to her surprise, the experience led to an invitation to work full-time on the entire run of Faust for The Portland Opera. She was offered a paid position to work as a professional makeup artist on another large scale production at The Keller Auditorium. Needless to say, she took it.

After a successful run of Faust, she was invited back once again, this time for Portland Opera’s La Traviata.  She was responsible for the beauty looks of the female and male performers. The network she built through the theater community helped her earn enough hours and credits to join the much sought after local IATSE union, and in January 2020 she became a member. She is now eligible to work on the bigger budget star studded union film and television productions that come to town, and will be paid accordingly. Getting into the union in just over two short years from graduating makeup school is a real accomplishment, and so is working as a full-time free-lance makeup artist in such a short time. Congratulations Megan! Job well done.

Outside of the theater, Megan has worked on short films and commercials. She made another fantastic connection through the AoM job board, by working on a film called Brightside. One of the actors on the film hired her to do makeup for her headshots.  The photographer also happened to be a sports photographer for Nike. Through that connection she received a rare opportunity to work on the 50th Anniversary commercial for the Portland Trail Blazers! You can see the commercial here: Trailblazers Commercial. The opportunity also came to the AoM job board looking for an additional makeup artist, so she ended up working with another Art of Makeup graduate, Signe Larsen. You can find a blog on Signe here.  Megan also met a director from even another job board post that has now led to regular commercial work.

We asked Megan what her top takeaways from her AoM experience were and she referred back to set etiquette during her career marketing portion of the program. Megan is just so nice, professional, and knowledgeable. Those are qualities that people want to work with on set; someone easy going, adaptable, and most importantly a positive attitude. She also said something that rings loud and true, “Makeup as a whole, cannot be learned on YouTube. Color matching and practical application skills on others are so important to have on the job, and it’s honestly become second nature now.” She was also really appreciative of her airbrushing skills as she has utilized them for tattoo coverage for a commercial and during her time working at the Underhill Haunted House attraction.

Lastly, her classmates are such an asset, not only for emotional support, but professional advice. Megan graduated with Savannah Somerville (you can read her blog here). They regularly work together and employ and assist each other. They worked on a web series called “Gabby Smashes” and Savannah assisted Megan on another web series called “You Talk It, We Live It”.

What’s next? Megan was hired for Makeup Department Head on a feature film this spring. After that? It may be down the road, but Megan has her eyes set on Hollywood!