Academy News
December Academy Student of the Month: Lacey. January 14, 2014

The market for makeup artists has diminished drastically, largely owing to the growing popularity of the profession. It now takes much more than technique to create a successful career. Enter Lacey Ann Elliot, our new Student of the Month. Ever since meeting her acquaintance, we have been impressed by her overall demeanor - she just exudes an air of professionalism. We also had a sense that she has things figured out. Thus it was no surprise that she rose quickly in her class and earned top marks for her work, most notably her Queen Elizabeth depiction for the Special Effects module. I recently had the chance to interview her via email and here is a snapshot of our conversation.

December Academy Student of the Month: Lacey.

January 14, 2014

The market for makeup artists has diminished drastically, largely owing to the growing popularity of the profession. It now takes much more than technique to create a successful career. Enter Lacey Ann Elliot, our new Student of the Month. Ever since meeting her acquaintance, we have been impressed by her overall demeanor - she just exudes an air of professionalism. We also had a sense that she has things figured out. Thus it was no surprise that she rose quickly in her class and earned top marks for her work, most notably her Queen Elizabeth depiction for the Special Effects module. I recently had the chance to interview her via email and here is a snapshot of our conversation.

Tell us about your background?

I’m originally from Arizona and have always loved playing characters, dressing up and skin care products. When I was 2, my mom took a picture of me on the bathroom counter completely covered in baby powder and Noxzema. It was funny, but I can remember actually thinking about how good those products felt!  Living with my grandparents at the time, my grandmother had a vanity so I used to get into her lipsticks and fragrances all the time. I've read that a lot of makeup artists’ curiosity for the craft starts at a young age.

How did you come to do makeup?

I have a degree in vocal music and theater, so the arts have had a huge influence on me. I learned how to properly apply makeup when I as performing in Tennessee and then friends started asking me to do their makeup in 2009. One thing led to another and I started my own company, Lacey Elliot Makeup, in 2012. There is nothing more fulfilling than being in an industry where I get to help boost women's self-esteem and confidence. I started working with a fabulous boudoir photographer 2 years ago and it really changed my life.

Why MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy?

My friend, Sarah Patch, was accepted into the Academy in January 2013 and she first told me about the program. I was really impressed with the full-program and how the modules covered beauty/fashion, SFX for film/television and stage/artistic body painting.  The Academy values developing students as complete artists, instead of settling for carbon copies regurgitating rote material. I had been primarily self-taught up until the point I was accepted into the Academy. When I received my acceptance letter it was like I had been given wings to fly. I couldn't wait to get into the classroom and learn from our amazing instructors Floriane David and Jen Evans.

Congratulations on your work for the SFX module. What was the creative process like?

Thank you so much! It was a blast creating "Elizabeth". I was very intrigued by the Elizabethan period and how brutal she was in order to maintain her forty-five year reign. I shaped the character around the model I had chosen because she had fair skin, a high forehead and striking features. I watched movies like "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" as well as television shows like "The Tudors". I got the wig from Lacey Wigs, which they sell at most Halloween stores. The accordion-like collar was probably the hardest costume part to find so I ended up making it out of folded decorative paper. The bald cap was my favorite part because it created such an amazing surface area to work with. Blending the edges of the cap can be tricky but got it just right. My model actually had the dress already, so that was a huge help! I added some jewelry and then started creating the veins in her hand with cotton and liquid latex. I applied fake nails, discoloration and then blood to her hand. The final touch was the blood splatter across her porcelain skin right before the picture was taken. That part was where I was crossing my fingers because if the splatter wasn't just right, there was no going back to fix it. Thankfully it looked rad and the rest is history! The photographer, Seth Miranda, set the lighting perfectly and captured the image I had in my head. I couldn't be more grateful for his expertise. It was awesome and so much fun.


What was your favorite part of the program?

My favorite part of the program was the beauty/fashion module because it was great covering up eyebrows and having a lot more surface space to work on. Incorporating all the makeup decades into our final was especially fun! I went with the "Wizard of OZ" theme. Creating the entire look from head to toe was rad.

What was the most challenging?

The most challenging part of the program was the SFX section because it stripped away everything we had just learned in beauty/fashion and we had to practically do the exact opposite techniques.

Somewhat premature question, but what area of the makeup industry would you eventually want to focus on?

I really want to stay focused on beauty and editorial. Wendy Karcher taught extreme runway and it was really exciting to me because it's almost to the SFX level but you only use makeup to create unearthly beauties. Kind of like what Kabuki did on Katy Perry for her "Extra Terrestrial" video. I LOVE that extreme, but hauntingly beautiful makeup. I also value boudoir makeup. I worked with a great boudoir photographer for two years before moving to New York and found it to be some of my favorite work. I really believe in using beauty in our lives to direct us to its source. Encouraging women and having such an intimate setting to do so is really fulfilling. Corporate work, videos and film or commercials are great too because they enable me to do the creative work that may not always have a budget. I find that personal work is really important to do in the midst of the grind because you have to keep your spirit thriving so you create work that you're proud of.

Top 5 MUFE product must-haves?

Aqua Black - because the black lines need to be SOLID. "No transparency!" - Floriane
HD Powder – it’s powerful, sets makeup well & it’s lightweight so you can layer it, if necessary. Unlike matte powder.
MAKE UP FOR EVER Flash Color Palette - Seriously. Foundation, lipstick, blush, eyebrows, eye shadow etc. You name it, Flash does it!
Star Powders - I think MAKE UP FOR EVER captured little fairies to make this stuff. Soft powerful pigment. Absolute heaven.
Rouge Artist lipstick - because it doesn't dry out your lips or make them crack. Smooth moisture & strong pigment.

What qualities do you think are the most important to survive in this industry?

The most important qualities to survive in any industry I believe are kindness, patience, honesty, determination, humility, accountability and having a great sense of humor. Never take yourself too seriously. You also need to become an organized business owner (i.e.- have business cards, comp cards, resume, portfolio, invoices, respond quickly to emails). Being a team player is also a big deal. Michelangelo's philosophy was, "Criticize by creating".

What advice would you give prospective students?

Come to the Academy if you are ready to work, be a grown up and be professional. If you have never lived on your own or away from home, it's going to be harder because you will be adjusting to becoming an adult as you go through this strenuous program. Everyone has a different journey, but I recommend coming to school to develop your creativity as an artist AFTER you have worked hard on your business ahead of time. They have a few business classes in the program from Michael DeVellis. Take notes every day and be humble enough to take direction. Also find the balance of protecting what's personally important in your work or else you'll produce something you are not proud of.
They have the best program in the country. I couldn't have been happier with the work produced from my time under their instruction. Another amazing aspect of the Academy is the support. When my husband's appendix burst in July and he was in and out of the hospital, the entire Academy faculty was supportive. When I thought I would have to leave school to take care of him, they reassured me that I could always finish up the following year. I'm grateful it all worked out and for the help of my husband's family during that time because that allowed me to stay in school. All that to say, I'm blessed to have my MAKE UP FOR EVER family and it really is make up FOR EVER...

Thank you so much Lacey for granting us this interview. We wish you continued success on your journey, you are well on your way.