Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Collazo.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m a Puerto Rican girl raised as a fish-out-of-water in rural central Florida. A lover of the performing arts with a flare for the dramatic. When I wasn’t in the dance studio, at show choir practice, or rehearsing for a play, I was dreaming up what my life would look like outside the confines of the little town where I grew up. I went to college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando where I thought I was going to launch my performing arts career, but I quickly learned that I required a much thicker skin, so I spent the next four years searching for a career path that allowed my to be in service to others; one that was challenging, always changing and didn’t lack in the fun department. That lead down the path of working in secondary education as a College and Career Counselor.
While in college, I met the man that would become my husband and father of my two children (plus one angel baby). Little did I know just how much our lives would change in such a short time after we said “I do”. At the time, he was a high school history teacher who had aspirations to do more, specifically in service to the country. I put my career counseling skills to use and off to Marine Corps he went. Helping my husband to follow his dream seemed to almost give me permission to do the same for myself. Up until the summer of 2011, makeup artistry was only ever a hobby. Something that I was a form of self-expression in high school, a fun activity with my sorority sisters in college, a way to pamper to my best girlfriends on their wedding days; never did I look at it as a viable career path for myself. Sure, I would LOVE to make a career painting faces, but HOW? But now that we were a military family, now that we were not longer as concerned about making ends meet, I had the room flex, and explore, and get creative. So, I took the leap.
My ascent into a career in professional makeup artistry paralleled my journey into motherhood. With its various starts and stops, pushes and pauses, but always beautiful. In times of tragedy, my makeup career was a welcome escape that allowed me to create beauty out of darkness. There were times when my career had to go on the back burner while I focused on feeding, diapering and napping schedules. And in the times when I thought the stresses of motherhood would swallow me whole, my makeup artistry career served as a reminder that while yes I am a mother, I am also more than just a mother.
In my ten years as a professional makeup artist, I have had the greatest fortune to work with and be mentored by some of the best to ever do it. I came into this career not through formal education but through apprenticeship which has become a lost art for so many industries. As an assistant, an independent contractor, and a solopreneur, I have had the pleasure to try my hand at various skill sets that fall within the umbrella of makeup artistry. Some of the highlights of my career have included projects for the Smithsonian Institution, working backstage at New York Fashion Week, landing the cover of Cherry Bombe magazine, and sharing in the joy of my countless brides and private clients. Most recently, because of Covid, I have been exploring new passions in virtual makeup education for both makeup artists and clients alike. I find that this new venture brings all of my experience as well as my passion for service to others together in a neat little package. Ten years in the game and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt… this is only the beginning.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to becoming a makeup artist has been far from smooth. For many, makeup artistry is a career that finds you. I was always good a doing makeup on myself and others, but because I was following the prescribed path of graduate high school, go to college, get a career, I hadn’t the first idea on how to pivot into a viable career as an artist. Not to mention the amount of confidence that is required to even say the phrase “I’m a professional makeup artist” — that can (and did) take years.
The first major obstacle is getting educated. Cosmetology/esthetics school, versus makeup school, versus assisting/apprenticeship, versus YouTube University — there are so many avenues which can lead you down the path to becoming a pro and it can be hard to make sound choices if you do not have the end goal in mind.
Another major obstacle is the investment. Regardless of whether or not you choose to enroll in a trade school or in a makeup academy, building and replenishing a professional makeup kit is costly, painstaking, and never ends. Every makeup artist is a makeup lover at their core and it is no secret that the beauty industry is BIG business. One of the best pieces of advice I received early on in my career is to “think and shop like a makeup artist, not a consumer”. This advice has saved me thousands.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I believe that makeup is intended to reveal and not conceal. As a professional makeup artist, I am known for my clean, minimalistic approach to beauty. As an educator, I seek to work with those eager to elevate the way they look in a way that feels authentic and aligned the makeup wearer’s beauty goals. I do so by arming my students with processes that are duplicatable and techniques that are buildable. At the end of the day, it is my aim to empower makeup wearers to set their OWN standards in beauty and beyond.
We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My favorite childhood memory was playing the role of Anita in West Side Story. I spent the entire summer before my senior year of high school rehearsing and preparing to bring her to life alongside so many of my peers and classmates. It was my first time ever auditioning for a musical and taking the spotlight in such a major way. Prior to this experience, I had always been a part of an ensemble through my time as a dancer and in show choir. It was a leap of faith that landed me an award as Best Supporting Actress at the local community theater where the show took place. Anita is such a badass to portray her was a Puerto Rican girl’s dream come true. I have carried her confidence and self-awareness with me throughout my life.
- FREE – 25min Consultation
- $499.00 – Everyday Bundle. Includes $200+ in makeup and two 1-on-1 coaching sessions
- $799.00 – Elevated Bundle. Includes $300+ in makeup & skincare, plus three 1-on-1 coaching sessions
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.melissacollazomakeup.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/melissacollazo_makeup
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/melissacollazomakeup
- Other: https://www.therealmccollective.com/confidently-you-beauty-bundles
Photos 1 & 3: Heartlove Photography Photos 2 & 7: Creation for Use Photography Photos 4 & 5: JEF Three Portrait Photo 6: Castaldo Studio Photo 8: Nina K Photography