Make-up comp winner shares success story
A graduate of the VanityX Makeup Academy & Studios, MUA James Mac Inery was the overall winner for Creative category ‘Life or Death' at last year's Irish National Makeup-Tournament, and was also successful in the team competition.
We caught up with him ahead of this year's event, to see how his win has helped his career progress…
What attracted you to a career as an MUA? I always had a passion for art and imagery as a child. I discovered the art of drag make-up after school and also became hugely involved in DCU's Media Production Society as the First Year Rep and later PR officer. I finally made the decision to pursue make-up professionally after Uni, attending a full time year course at VanityX.
How would you describe your style? My style is fantasy overlaps reality. I am a very visual artist, aspiring to incorporate more art than generic beauty makeup into my looks. I've always been a fan of bold, vibrant colours and using more face and body together as my canvas.
I am particularly drawn to Drag styles as a creative vibe, a throwback to following RuPaul's Drag Race, but I do love all areas. On the opposite scale, I always love to bring out the best of any client's natural beauty when going for a more recognisable makeup look.
And we would have seen your work in…Stellar magazine, Lovin Dublin, RTÉ comedy series Finding Joy, Tesco's ‘Celebrating 100 Years' commercial campaign, Lion TV Productions' Horrible Histories Series 8 due to be broadcast on CBBC.
Which brands do you work with? During training with the VanityX Academy I used Inglot with SFX kit from Kryolan Cosmetics. I'm a huge fan of LA Girl Cosmetics and the SoSu Contour/Highlighter kits along with their range of lashes, and Tatti Lashes to be specific. My personal favourite eyeshadow colour and palettes is by Juvias Place.
I worked alongside Dublin Body Paint last year and discovered an amazing range of body paint brands such as Mehron Paints, Diamond FX, Chameleon Paints, Paradise Paints and Bio Glitter Pixie Dust.
Why did you decide to enter the Irish National Make-up Tournament? I wanted to showcase my skills on a larger platform outside of my college portfolio. I saw the Irish National Makeup-Tournament as a brilliant opportunity to give my imagination a run for its money and test my own creative abilities. Abiding by the rules, I wanted to share with other competitors, the judges and overall tournament audience my vision as an artist and allow my make-up fantasy come to life.
What do you feel you gained from competing? I learned how showing up is 50% of the work already done and the main thing to do is have fun, and enjoy the experience. The word, 'competition' can turn a lot of great talented artist off entering such events. Once our look was practised at home the rest naturally fell into place on the day of competing. I was able to enjoy the five hours creating our fantasy character, not feeling any extra pressure be it physically, emotionally or mentally.
How has winning assisted your career? Winning this competition was personally a huge confidence booster, in believing in my craft and capabilities. We won the team competition which was great because working as a MUA you have to be a team player and respect each other's talents and work to your combined strengths.
I also won the Best Facechart category which for me, personally, proved that practise, attention to detail and hard work pays off. I have put this title to the forefront of my CV and any work cover letters/ references for various productions and make-up designers. Having this accolade has also strengthened my portfolio for future work.
Have you gone on to win any further awards? I went on to compete in the Irish Bodypainting Championships later the same month. I was placed 1st runner up in the Creative Student category. Once again, this provided me with great visuals for my portfolio and I had an amazing opportunity to meet other creative artists & designers in the industry.
In August 2018, I graduated from VanityX with my ITEC Diploma cert, and was awarded Social Media Student of the Year, for my online presence and document of work through the college year.
What has been your career highlight so far? Winning overall creative category at the Irish National Makeup - Tournament last year was a massive highlight for me. Being on set for Horrible Histories Series 8 has also been a major career highlight to date. They both reflect on two very different experiences but hold the same value in lifting my career to new heights. I gained a lot of confidence from both experiences and felt inspired to keep evolving as an artist and pursue improving my level of skills.
In addition, I do have to say it was pretty cool having Prince Harry and Meghan Markle witness my make-up on Aisling Bea [when she was invited to the British Embassy in Dublin]. That definitely created a big stir online and gave me a lot of exposure!
What are your hopes for your career going forward? I would love to work in fashion/editorial and continue to work in the TV and Film industry. I thoroughly enjoyed working on Tesco UK's ‘Celebrating 100 Years' advert campaign, so commercial work is another area I love. In this industry we are always learning and creating and that's what I love, every day is a great day when you love what you are doing.