We sat down with the homie, DeShawn Hatcher, pro makeup artist and author of the book Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists. DeShawn has been working in film, television, and editorial makeup for quite some time and has hustled up a pretty impressive career. We asked her about pretty much everything --- check it out!
Frontline: Tell us a little about yourself.
DeShawn: I've been a makeup artist for 16 years working in Films, TV, Editorials (Fashion & Commercial). I also work with Celebrities, Advertising campaigns, Fashion Runway, Beauty Direction, Creative Direction. I am a proud Makeup Educator for the past ten years, for The Powder Group, IMATS, and The Makeup Show, and a platform educator for several makeup companies. This year I launched one of the most intensive hands-on classes for artists, Beauty Remix. It is designed to challenge the artists (no matter the level) and move your technique forward not piece by piece but by the leaps and bounds.
As of this year, I felt like something was missing so, I have begun my YouTube channel for my amazing Pro Makeup Artists community. I am also a blogger, DeShawn Loves Makeup, for the Pro Makeup Artist community, it's more geared toward business than products. The biggest thing in my career to date, is I am the author of Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists in Beauty, Fashion & Print. Now being sold all over the world.
Frontline: How long have you been a professional makeup artist?
DeShawn: I've been a makeup artist for 16 years. I started in student films, moved over to independents, some festival winners and then some TV. I did that for two years; I had to leave film; I was going broke. I just didn’t know I wouldn’t be making a lot of money. I then switched over to beauty and fashion (hallelujah I could pay my bills). I have done over 100 editorials, covers, advertisements, celebrities, music videos, wow, so much. I moved on up (like the Jefferson) to keying fashion shows, and now Beauty Directing, makeup education and as of last year Author of my book Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists in Beauty, Fashion & Print.
Frontline: How did you learn your craft?
DeShawn: I was pretty good, self taught, but I would stare at the films, and just say to myself - how the hell did they do that? So after years - hell decades of working in corporate America, I went to school at night for film makeup. I started makeup in my mid 30's. So if I can do it-so can you.
Frontline: What would you say is your specialty?
DeShawn: Hands down - Basing a face flawlessly. I am into "skin", and not a heavy layer of makeup. I am into keeping their skin tone correct, so I don't have to apply makeup everywhere. I have worked on my craft of perfecting this skill for well over ten years. I want people to see just how beautiful my clients are, not how hard I masked their faces with a whole lot of makeup. I want them to go home and still recognize themselves once they remove their makeup - you know.
I live for clean beauty, and red carpet looks. I pride myself on that. No matter the race and ethnicity, I can work with any skin tone and many different skin issues and just make that person look flawless. There is no greater joy for me.
Frontline: What advice would you give an up and coming artist looking to build a career?
DeShawn: I just spoke to MUD students, and I told them the old cliche that is so true to this industry. Your career in this industry is a marathon, not a sprint. You must stay the course. No career was built off of one photo you must keep working and perfecting your craft. My other big thing that I have had to learn that I now pass along is NO! stands for Not Now. So if they face rejection, they are to know it does not mean forever, and to keep moving forward.
Frontline: There are a lot of people making a name for themselves on social media, in makeup. What’s your take?
DeShawn: First off, I do not knock anyone's hustle. NOOOO Way. Like I mention I now have my YouTube channel geared towards the pro makeup artists community. I get their hustle, so no shade at them at all. In fact, I did a YouTube Video for my channel on this very topic. "What’s the difference between an Editorial Artist vs. YouTube and Instagram?" There are so many differences, but the biggest one is - a “Makeup Artist” is one who works on others in many different areas with diverse specialties. A YouTube Guru/Insta Artist is one who works on themselves.
Are there makeup artists on each of these platforms? Yes, but those are not the people I am talking about. I'm talking about folks who sit in front of a camera, they tell you about a product, demonstrates on their face and "poof" they’re done. That is NOT a makeup artist.
The biggest problem for me is they use the term "makeup artist" to give themselves credibility while confusing the consumers on what a Pro Makeup Artists does. Their use of our title has destroyed a pro makeup artist's reputation. How? Because now we are the ones spending a lot of our time correcting clients, who might ask for the, no contoured, but contoured, strobed, highlights with a gloss look, with huge feathery lashes, but Oh wait, make sure I look natural--look. What? This has really done a number on the Pro Wedding Community - wooo, I feel for them. I have always said, why not call them YouTube Presenters, Instagram Beauty Creators, something like that, but Makeup Artist--yeah--Hell No.
As for the whole, "how many followers do you have?" Well, honestly the Instagram/YouTube people didn't start that. It started with cosmetic companies wanting to sell products and make a profit - cool no problem. BUT what has happened is, they have by-passed the pro makeup artist community (with the exception of the high-end artist). This blatant disrespect and disregard of an industry that promoted their products through media, celebrity, and hard ass work, has been thrown by the wayside for the social media gurus.
So, am I upset with the social media people? No. I am disgusted by the way the cosmetic companies just turned their nose up at the Pro Community. I am even more disgusted at how brands would hire these people, who misrepresent themselves by using the title "Makeup Artist." Seriously, some of them do not know what they are doing, and give out wrong information. These companies will gladly hand over crazy amounts of money and products to social media folks. Ahhh, but when a hard working Pro Artists reaches out to them, let's say for an editorial they're working on, and they need product, these artists get nothing. It's really shameful.
There are a few cosmetic companies I happen to love that give to both social media and the Pro Community and they deserve a Hoooray: Urban Decay, Stila Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Stilazzi Brushes, Skindinavia, Face Atelier, NARS, Iman Cosmetics, Black Opal, NYX, Royal & Langnickel, and others consumer brands, that support the the pro artist community - I have the utmost respect. That is one big reason why I am into PRO Products. Why I continually scream PRO PRO PRO when I get the chance. We must band together and support the very community that is ours. The products work, they are made for us, and they are working on innovative ways to make our industry better. Go Pro!
Frontline: Who are some of your industry idols?
DeShawn: I am heavy into film, especially old Hollywood. My idols were the originals, The Westmore’s, Ben Nye, Tuttle. In beauty, OMG hands-down the reason for me being here KEVYN AUCOIN! I'd sit in my cubicle with his book on my desk and just dream, one day I’d love to do that...ONE DAY. Ah, he’s my reason for being in this industry.
There are others, Paul Innis (Genius), Stephen Dimmick (Genius), Sam Fine (Bow-Down Genius), Pat McGrath (all hail). Last, my darling Kevin James Bennett. He worked on my favorite soap opera when I was in corporate America I found his website and was mesmerized. Every day I’d go on there and dream. I never thought I'd meet this uber talented Emmy award - winning artist, but to call him my friend, and someone I just totally adore is one of the best parts of my journey.
Frontline: Who are the up and coming hair/makeup artist that we need to pay attention to?
DeShawn: OMG, there are a few. Andrea Samuels - she’s in Chicago. She’s was one of my students; her work is crazy good. Like beautiful, bold, it says to everyone - look-a-here I am fabulous. I die! Another is my former assistant Taryll Atkins - can we talk clean, stunning, editorial makeup for one second. Her work is simply beautiful. You look at it and go wooooooo. In the Hair department...Listen, no one can beat Tymothy Wallace. Hotter than HOT or the one and only Ms. Lacy Redway - what!!! He was an assistant on one of my teams for a fashion week; she was a young hairstylist I met on set. She is like a little sister I never had but wishes I did. I felt back then in my bones - they would be amazing and, AMAZING they all are.
What all these folks have in common - they work so hard, love what they do, and are so dedicated to their craft. For me, there is just a light in them, call it "special," "blessed" or fierce. I had seen it in them from the moment I met them. I am proud just to know them. I am but a "small spot", in their careers. They have created their magic all on their own. You know in ten years they will be THE "IT" artists in our industry.
I know people are gonna be mad at me for not naming them all - but sorry people I can’t make this section a novel.
Lol, you all know I totally love you guys.
Frontline: Where do you find your inspiration?
DeShawn: Well, old films, books, magazines, fabrics, and art. Painters like Monet, Degas, Pollack floor me. Ahhh color, I love color, it's all through my work and I'm totally inspired by them. I am also deeply inspired by nature. I'm the weirdo that will look at the tree and the positions of the branches and think, "OMG isn’t that such a beautiful tree" lol. I'd study they way the light filters through the branches, watch how the colors change. Oh God, I drive folks crazy with my artistic visions hahaha, but for real, I can be inspired by dayum near everything.
Frontline: If you weren’t a hair / makeup artist, what would you be doing?
DeShawn: I would be a makeup educator all over the world. For ten years now I have been educating our next generation of artists. I love to see my students light up. It makes my day when I see them "get it." They have just taken a huge step forward in their technique, and in their careers. That is the reason why I started my new hands-on workshop Beauty Remix. It is an intensive day of non-stop makeup training. To know, I could have just helped the next Pat McGrath, or even better helped an artist whose blocked in their technique, move past it. To see that look of relief and then this rush of clarity on their face, it is their Ah-Ha moment. It's all just a big Wow, for me. I do love it. By the end of the day, I may be exhausted, but I am also euphoric knowing I helped my students become better artists.
Frontline: What’s the most important beauty advice you could give?
DeShawn: Great skin is key to really great makeup. It is achievable. Listen, if Alicia Keys can finally have clear skin, there is help for us all. When the skin is in its, optimal condition and the texture is controlled makeup can be used as an enhancement and not a mask. It will be used to even out one's skin tone, but not cover it up or create masks like appearance. It allows the person to shine through. Instead of someone noticing your contour, they will notice how beautiful you look. Ladies, please stop thinking a pimple means your whole face is in bad condition. It is not - it is just a pimple that will go away. So please be kinder to yourselves, and know one small pimple doesn't detract from how beautiful you are.
Frontline: What was your inspiration for writing Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists?
DeShawn: After a very hurtful experience with an assistant that left me never wanting another assistant again. I thought if people knew the rules of assisting and the industry, maybe they wouldn't be in such a rush. Maybe they wouldn't be so quick to stab their Key in the back to get ahead. By being equipped with the knowledge, they could understand and would become great assistants. I began writing blog articles on my blog, DeShawn Loves Makeup. I noticed I would get the most readers and comments when I would write about this subject. One article, "Why Senior Artists don't return your emails," had reached over ten thousand readers in a few days. It was crazy. It kept telling me artists want information on assisting. I did a lot of research, took about two years. Wrote a couple of drafts and then finally Assisting Rules was born. I couldn't be prouder to know I am helping artists all over the world.
Frontline: What are some of the key points in Assisting Rules!
DeShawn: To realize that assisting is an actual a job. Being a great assistant is all about making sure your Key's day goes along smoothly. It's not about the assistant getting free makeup advice or lessons, becoming buddy-buddy with the Key, or networking to build their own clientele.
When you are a great assistant you can be rewarded with jobs, pay and recommendations. Assisting Rules! is 222 pages on how to not only reach out and connect to Keys, but how to work on set, what to do before you get to set, what to do once you are there, and after. It guides you through the process of assisting. Many have said it had helped them beyond assisting. To connect with photographers, jobs, etc. They call it their bible. They even go so far as to post these great photos of the book on Instagram. I truly get a kick out of them, and I thank everyone for taking the time to do that, and for letting me know how much they love Assisting Rules!
I just wanted to give a shout out; there are over 30 amazing artists who gave of their time to supply impactful and insightful quotes for the book. I am eternally grateful to them. For the list of these amazing people you can go to www.assistingrules.com.
Frontline: What was the craziest experience you've had on a job? You can change names and locations if you have to!
DeShawn: Good Lord, I have many lol, I'll share this one. I was on location on a tropical island shooting with a celebrity. Sun is going down almost time for last shot. They pull out a freaking boa constrictor —yes, a freaking yellow, boa constrictor for the celebrity to hold as she poses. She freaked and called me over, and was like trembling; she said DeShawn I can’t do this. I really hate snakes. She was so scared, and so was I, BUT it was hot as hell, the sun was going down, I worked hours on her hair and makeup. Now she’s sweating even more because she's nervous, and we had to get this dayum shot. So I go over to the snake handler, and I'm like, look, she’s really scared, just put the snake on me, and I'll show her the snake is fine. To be totally honest, I did ask several times —Are you sure this snake isn’t going to kill me? LOL, they totally reassured me I would leave alive that day hahaha. So they walk over with me, the snake is now wrapped around my shoulders. I'm like “look; it really isn’t bad. It was heavy, but it felt really cool on my neck it was refreshing since I was in the tropics all day. She touched it and saw it was totally harmless. Within a few minutes, we were shooting again and got the shot. Now look, I probably wouldn’t ever do that again though hahaha!
Frontline: What are some must-have products you need in your kit?
DeShawn: My newest obsessions in my kit...Ok well you know I have got to say Stilazzi Brushes. Like for real, no joke I am 100% obsessed. I love them; I even did a YouTube Video on just how much I love them. They blend beautifully. The shapes help facilitate such an even finish; the price point is so reasonable, and they are so pretty when I lay them out.
The latest skincare additions that go along with my tried and true favorite, Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate, are Waterbalm and Sex-A-Peel both by the amazing makeup artist Sonia Roselli. Water Balm is this super hydrating skin prep. Talk about plumping the skin and rejuvenating dry, tired skin - magical. Sex-A-Peel is a non-abrasive fruit acid peel that can take off dead skin and reveal beautiful skin when done. OMG, every makeup artist should have these products in their kit.
You know I live for Pro Products. Love Graftobian Foundations, Dermacolor Color correctors, but Urban Decay Foundation Powders are something that will never leave my personal kit and pro kit. They have 16 blendable colors. You can apply like a powder; you can even contour with them. I am telling you, they are amazing. If you need a heavier coverage, you could wet the sponge and apply the powder like a foundation.