Gina Ayanna, the creator of www.whatinspiresme.ca, recently got in touch, to do a feature on me for her blog. "What Inspires Me", is a collection of interviews, & stories of people who are living with passion & purpose.
“I am the girl who notices EVERY detail, & in my head, I am thinking of a way to make it better…nicer.”
Welcome to the FOUNDER Feature...
Where does your story begin? What got you into the (Makeup) business?
"I went to Earl Haig S.S as a Music Major. I was in the Claude Watson Arts Program, & played the violin. I naturally had a knack for Makeup, especially eyebrows. I started tweezing eyebrows in the cafeteria at school, instead of attending my music classes LOL. Half way through 12th grade, an opportunity was presented to me, to begin an acting career. I dropped out of high school, & jumped at the opportunity to become an “Actress” Haha (don’t worry…I graduated from high school, through correspondence while working on set). While I was on set, I met Shauna Llewellyn. She was the first Black female professional Makeup Artist I had ever seen. I asked her what I needed to do to get into the industry. She said that I should go to school, & learn Makeup professionally. I did. I studied at The School of Makeup Art in Yorkville. Graduated from their Beauty & Fashion Image + Extensive Makeup Design Diploma Program. Upon graduation, I worked for L’Oreal. After L’Oreal I was managed by The Artist Group. That experience opened my eyes to opening my own agency. While building BOURGIE, I worked for MAC. I left MAC to teach the College course I graduated from. Now, I am in the process of launching my own Makeup line."
What inspires you?
"People. Anyone with the courage to share their AUTHENTIC story. I love to hear testimonials."
What are you most proud of?
"Never giving up period...in all aspects of life. Knowing that no matter what comes my way, I am equipped to handle it. Confidence is built in the valley."
Name a book that changed your life?
"The Alchemist. The Secret. 3 Feet from Gold. In that order."
What advice/insight do you have for someone who is trying to figure out their passion?
"Close your eyes, shut out the world, & ask yourself, what would you do if money wasn’t an option, & everyone was guaranteed to support you? Whatever the answer is, find a way to make it serve people, & to turn it into a business."
What helps you keep going on days when you want to quit?
"I was asked this question by a friend not too long ago. My answer remains the same. Every time I want to throw in the towel, I feel like a part of my soul is dying. That feeling to me, is worse than whatever disappointment is currently making me want to give up. Therefore, I push myself to restructure, regroup, & rebuild. If you push long & hard enough, you will get a breakthrough."
What's been your most important lesson in business/life?
"Knowing my worth, & not dumbing myself down to appease other’s, or institutions. When you know your worth (your realistic authentic worth, not superficiality) you will navigate situations, & people to the best of your ability. When you do not know your worth, you will settle for anything."
“Confidence is built in the valley.”
“My life is my creative work.”
“Every time I want to throw in the towel, I feel like a part of my soul is dying.”
“Believe in a higher power, it will be your foundation.”
What advice do you have for someone like you, who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world to pursue their passion?
"Research & educate yourself in the field you are interested in, so that you have an understanding of what you are getting into. Align yourself with like minded individuals, so you can bounce information off each other. Be prepared to put in the hard work, & effort. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. If there is a will, there is a way, & if the way seems rocky, maneuver around the debris one step at a time. Be open for constructive criticism. Be prepared & willing to separate yourself from all the unnecessary."
How do you balance life & your creative work?
"My life is my creative work. See, once you find your passion, calling, purpose, there is no separation between the two, they just click. But if I were to answer this in a very practical way, for example, family, kids verses work. I have two kids (14 & 1) and my oldest has been coming on set with me since she was two, and my youngest was strapped to by chest at 2 months old while I managed the Makeup Department at Fashion Week. I am blessed to have worked with amazing people who allow for my kids to be onsite with me. I am also blessed with the tenacity to be able to work productively while they are there."
Anything else you’d like to share?
"Figure out who you REALLY are, it will lead you in the direction of where you need to go. When you meet fear, because you will, face it & rise. Do not take the people who genuinely support you for granted. Share your story, let it pave the way to help someone else's journey. But most importantly, believe in something (a higher power), it will be your foundation."
Many thanks for your feature consideration Gina xo