Earlier this week I went to Marie Claire HQ for an Inspire and Mentor event. The magazine holds a number of sessions throughout the year to inspire people to follow their dreams. This particular session was about how to become a beauty journalist, work in beauty PR and how to become a make-up artist.
Firstly we were treated to drinks and nibbles while overlooking London - not a bad way to start off! Then we were led to a plush seminar room similar to a mini cinema. Lisa Oxenham, beauty and style director at Marie Claire got the ball rolling by telling us about her job and how she started her career. She said there was no typical route into beauty journalism. She studied history of art in Manchester, did a number of work placements then went into beauty writing before going into beauty PR. She went back to writing after being offered a job at More magazine, then moved to Instyle, before getting her job at Marie Claire, where she has been for four years.
Her tips were:
* To be prepared to work for free. Because there is so much competition you have to be known and get your face known with PRs and journalists.
*Live, breathe and sleep beauty. Follow beauty experts and journalists - especially on Twitter, know the companies and models.
*Go to department stores and the counters to investigate the new products and get excited about them. Understand the technology behind the products.
*Build up your profile. Now you have the benefit of starting your own mini magazine, website or blog and you can tweet your beauty tips. She added that she wants to see that you have the passion to do the job and you can show that by creating your own little world.
*Beauty is a broad subject - find your niche within it. If you are interested in health and well-being within beauty pursue that. Find something no-one else is doing at the moment.
Second up was Anna Rozelaar, communications manager at Estee Lauder.
She worked on a school radio and found her interest in PR when she had to market the radio and create interest in order to get advertising. Her work got her noticed by TV stations and newspapers who did a story about her and her friends setting up the radio.
After a series of internships she worked for a beauty agency and had the chance to work on many brands, but didn't get to know one brand completely. She realised she wanted to work for one brand and know it inside out. She is now responsible for brand launches, pitching stories to beauty editors, and managing a team of five PRs.
Her advice was:
*To be well read. You can never know enough about beauty. She said she needs to know what the trends are and what the competition is doing - sometimes to stay ahead of the game, but also if there is a common element another company is doing she can pitch it as a trend to beauty editors.
*Make sure you are passionate about it. People can see through you if you are not really believing what you are saying or are not passionate about the brand.
Next up was Alan Pan, global make-up artist for Estee Lauder. This guy cracked me up so much, he was hilarious! He cracked so many jokes he had the room in stitches.
But then he got onto the serious business about his life story and how he had a bad skin condition while growing up. His parents spent a lot of money to help him feel good about himself. After he had treatment he decided to use this as a career and help others feel better about themselves by looking good. He worked for free as an intern for a make-up artist before working his way up the make-up industry to be at the top of his game for Estee Lauder.
This was one fabulous session an was attended by people who fell into one of three of these categories. There was a good Q&A at the end where people asked about the best route for their chosen career and about their own backgrounds.
I would thoroughly recommend attending one of these sessions the next time they come around. If you attended one let me know what you thought of it and if you found any of these tips helpful.