Building a career that fits you | Alumni paving their own path
The Style Academy loves to check in with our Alumni and share the amazing things they are up to. Maddy Hart – Makeup Artistry Alumni has taken her training and passion to the next level with the launch of Être Production Studio + Agency with her business partner Ariana Donovan. They share their early successes with their new venture in the creative beauty industry.
Check out what they had to share below!
I truly feel that this is just the beginning
– Maddy Hart
Why this industry?
Ariana: I’ve always been involved in fashion, so directing in it came naturally! I started modelling at 16 and still do that, but along the way I also got involved in activism and stuff in relation to it. With my experience as a model, and as a makeup artist briefly, I saw how fashion was affecting people but women in particular with their self-image (including myself). So really choosing to work in it as a director/producer but also a scout on the business-side has been as a result of wanting to help influence the industry in a positive way, because I’ve always seen it as a creative medium. Even when I was modelling almost exclusively, I was still making my own moodboards and arranging the shoots sometimes. While also doing other people’s, of course. I wanted to make something that would allow everyone to have fun with fashion, instead of using it as a way to fit in.
Maddy: I’ve always been a very visual person, and the way I express my creativity is through visual mediums such as painting, photography, and makeup. I feel that art allows me freedom to be myself, and to express how I feel inwardly without needing words to do so. I became interested in photography in 2014, and bought my first camera in 2016. Since then, I’ve focused on telling stories through photography, and using it to express the inner worlds of the people I shoot. My interest in makeup started in 2016, and I started using it as an art form in 2019. My goal with makeup is not to use it as a cover, but to utilize it as an art form and self-expression for my clients. I want all of my clients to feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin, and in being their authentic selves. I guess I couldn’t not create art, as it’s a central aspect to who I am as a person, so becoming involved in this industry happened somewhat naturally.
Favourite behind the scenes story
Ariana: We recently did an editorial with a woman based out of Moose Jaw who runs an online thrift store (@packedawayandforgotten on Instagram) and that was really fun. It was a pretty big set, we’re looking at studio spaces currently so we had actually just set up in Maddy’s living room, and it was just really great conversation. The girls we had modelled the clothes were huge Taylor Swift fans, and we also like her music so we were listening to all of her albums. We had fresh fruit to snack on too, and Kelsey who runs Packed Away is a sociology major so we talked a lot about my criminology term paper and it was nice to get her take on it, since my major is Human Justice and my class focused more on psychology than sociology. I think more than anything I just like the energy on set. It’s always a really fun time with everyone, especially when you can find similar interests.
Maddy: We did a “glam slasher” Halloween inspired shoot, where we created a narrative with three different looks. We had permission to shoot at Campus Regina Public, and ended up shooting the last look in the locker rooms. We had a couple of friends join us on set to assist with SFX makeup and nails, and they helped us cover the floor in the locker room with paper towels because we used a lot of fake blood and glitter on the model, which was a hilarious experience. The energy on set was fantastic and the model was completely invested in the story, and overall everyone had a great time creating different elements to tell the story.
I have never wanted a “normal” job
– Ariana Donovan
Lessons learned personally, professionally
Ariana: I don’t even know where to begin, there’s literally been so much and I think at this time I’m actually still processing it. It just kind of took off by itself and I didn’t get time to really absorb it all. I’ve definitely learnt how important it is to have authentic connections with people, because you can’t do it by yourself, and even if you can get the professional things done by yourself you’re still going to need that understanding at the end of the day. I have dealt a lot with social anxiety. I am still dealing with it as I’m trying to get more used to this as a career, and it sometimes takes a lot for me to not just want to hole up in my room and make moodboards. With modelling it’s easy to put yourself out there because you’re not really being “you” when you’re shooting, you’re being a character. Or at least I was. But I’ve been working a lot on trying to be more open with who I am and not keep it to myself and my very close inner circle, because that’s a really big part of art. If your art isn’t entirely authentic, while it can still look/sound cool it won’t resonate in the same way. This is also actually a concept that Aristotle had for his plays! I’ve had to get really okay with people fully knowing me and not just parts of who I am, and releasing control when it comes to that.
Maddy: I have dealt with a lot of imposter’s syndrome in being a part of the industry. I grew up in a small town and was extremely shy all throughout high school and was very disconnected from the art world, so I struggled with feeling like I didn’t deserve to be a part of the industry or receive success in the way I have. I definitely struggled with feeling like a “nobody” because I had minimal experience when I started working on shoots. Overtime I’ve learned to have confidence in myself and my work, but I’ve really had to teach myself to be comfortable holding a space in the industry, so to speak. I’ve pushed myself to do everything that scared me, and over time things started feeling a little less intimidating. This past year was my first time doing makeup for Sask Fashion Week and that was a huge full-circle moment for me, because growing up I was obsessed with fashion and especially runway shows. I remember during my time at The Style Academy I always said runway makeup and editorials was my preferred style of makeup, but I didn’t believe it was something I could ever be involved in. Now I’m able to look back at the things I’ve achieved that never felt possible, which helps motivate me to put myself out there and constantly try doing things that scare me.