Why Brooke Belliveau Dropped Out of School To Become A Makeup Artist

University teaches us to look at different aspects of life from a new perspective and is a time of growth for many of us. It’s a time in our lives where we find out what our beliefs and values really are. Some learn what they choose to study is not they thought it was going to be and start contemplating whether or not they need to make a change. Brooke Belliveau found herself in this exact situation while she was a freshman at Western University. Throughout high school, Brooke knew she wanted to study psychology, but once she started taking psychology classes she quickly realized this isn’t what she wanted to do with her life. Moving from Nova Scotia to attend school in London, Ontario and finding out she wasn’t loving what she thought she was going too left her in a state of confusion. 

It was good but it wasn’t what I expected and I kind of fell out of love with that area and then I was kind of lost for a bit,” she says. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I went back to thinking what I am good at, what am I passionate about? Makeup.”

Here, the 22-year-old shares her journey of dropping out of university and moving to Toronto to pursue a career as a makeup artist. 

What made you decide to become a makeup artist?

“I always did a lot of makeup in high school, I did a lot of art in high school. I always would say as a joke that makeup would be my backup plan. I was actually kind of being serious but the nature of the school I went to, I went to a private school, you have to go to university, trades aren’t really a thing.  I just took the plunge and did it.”

What did you do once you realized you no longer wanted to pursue psychology?

“I went home for the summer after the first year and then I went back to London to live with my friends, kind of just to work and figure out if that’s actually wanted to do. Take some time and not rush into it. My mom gave me that advice it definitely was really needed.  I moved here to Toronto two years ago, that’s when school started.”

What made you decide to attend CMU College of Makeup Art & Design?

“The programs at George Brown and Seneca are two years, that’s way too long. It doesn’t take you two years to learn makeup, and I wanted to go to a specialized school. At CMU it was all day every day for almost nine months, so it was like do it, work hard and get it over with kind of thing. CMU teaches everything from fashion, film and television, prosthetics, special effects, so if you’re not sure what area of makeup you want to go into, but you know you want to do makeup, it’s really good for that. You can decide after the fact, this is the area I want to specialize in because you to pick an area to specialize in at the end. The type of makeup you do for film is completely different from doing clientele work, you use different products. They’re not the same you really have to choose one or the other.”

Do you think going to school is necessary to become a makeup artist?

“If you want to work in the fashion industry you have to, you’re not taken as seriously. If you don’t have some kind of training especially in NY or the UK the big hubs for fashion,  whatever how long it may be or like an apprenticeship, you’re not really taken seriously.”

How long should an up and coming makeup artist work on their portfolio?

“We were told to walk into an agency you can kind of need two to three years of just portfolio building experience and the networking experience. For some people it takes less time, some people take more time it kind of depends what type of shoots you do, how you can show your skills it’s a lot about getting people to like you as well because if you’re not the best makeup artist but if people like working with you you’ll still get more jobs.”

What’s your favourite experience being a makeup artist?

“I like seeing someone’s face after you’re done their makeup when they feel good about themselves and you see you uplifted someone for however long it lasts. You make someone feel good about themselves especially if they don’t wear makeup often. A few people that have said, “I don’t like my eyebrows they’re sparse like can you give me eyebrows?” And then they see their eyebrows and they’re like can you do my eyebrows every day.”

What are some struggles you faced becoming a makeup artist?

“It’s a struggle getting paid work it’s hard because everyone wants to get paid but no one wants to pay you, especially when no one’s making money. So if it’s not like an agency shoot, or a product, or a company, or for a commercial, or a serious client they don’t want to pay you for it because no one’s making money off it, so you kind of have to know when to paid stuff and non paid stuff, will it be good for your portfolio, will it be good for networking but it’s a struggle, but once you get paid stuff it’s good money. You just have to keep working.”



What’s your ultimate career goal?

To get signed to an agency, working full time in the fashion industry. I would love to be able to move to New York or the UK those are the two places I want to either live there or be working there often enough because a lot of times clients will fly you out. Possibly get  signed to multiple agencies, get published in magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.”

What are some tips you have for anyone wanting to become a makeup artist?

“It’s all about practise whether it’s on yourself or on family. It’s about practising different looks, getting confident in your abilities. Because if you go into someplace where you’re not confident, you don’t want to be cocky you want to be confident and that takes time and practise.”

What do you love about makeup?

“I always love the art of makeup more. I’ve never been the type of person that is vain and just wants to look pretty. I love the creative aspect I love being able to change someone’s face from one thing to another and make them feel good about themselves at the same time. It’s a creative outlet so if you are an artistically minded person then it’s just awesome to be apart of it.”



Makeup artists, you look up too?

“Pat McGrath is like the queen of everything, she started from nothing and made her way into agencies she does all the top runway shows.” 

Any makeup tips?

“Everyone’s so concerned about their complexion and hiding their imperfections. Less is more, if you have acne let it show a little bit. It’s going to make it way worse if you have all these creams and powder on top of it. Let your skin breathe, skincare is a must, the money you’re spending on makeup you should also spend on skincare products

Makeup looks better on healthier skin. I have dry sensitive skin so I use a lot of products that contain honey and rose because those are natural moisturizers. I use tea tree oil for my acne.”

Must have products in your collection?
flash_color_case_makeup forever
Image via Make Up For Ever

“Make Up For Ever Flash Palette is a must-have. It’s this little palette with cream colours it has all the colours of the rainbow, you can mix and make whatever colour, you need for anything. It can make a lipstick, it can make a blush. It’s a must-have because you don’t have to buy shades of lipstick that are crazy colours you’re never going to use, having this palette you can make whatever you need at any time.”

What’s one product every woman should have in their collection?
Image via MAC

“Ruby Woo, classic red, you can never go wrong. Every woman should have a red that suits their skin tone in their life. You can go to daytime to nighttime so easily with it and it’s so feminine or Russian Red.”

Favourite skincare product?
Image via Kiehls

“Under-eye creams are must, Kiehl’s avocado is my favourite. It makes your eyes feel so soft all day, you can still feel 6 hours later.”

Since finishing school, Brooke’s been published in several magazines like Femmemodern, Elements, Horizon, and more. You can follow her journey on her Instagram.  I’ve worked with Brooke for numerous shoots for my blog so don’t forget to check those out as well. 

Feature Image: Lizzie O’Donnell