IN just under three years, Sue-Ann Gregg has accumulated a résumé and reputation that make-up artists who are her senior work for in a lifetime. An integrated marketing communication major at UWI, Gregg has done make-up for over a dozen celebrities, worked on seven major photo shoots and events and satisfied countless private clients.
Her make-up career began as a hobby, doing make-up for friends and family who often praised the quality of her work. With their supportive push and social media, Gregg's passion blossomed into her well known brand, The Make-up Girl.
"That came after a while. I kind of scoped out the market a bit. I thought that if my work was of pretty good quality, I could start charging people," Gregg told All Woman.
"To be honest, it really wasn't about the money. I really love to do it."
She provides her traditional make-up up services for weddings, photoshoots, graduations and special occasions. She also offers consultations for brides and group classes with one-on-one attention. For Gregg, going the extra mile for her clients is a part of the complete Make-up Girl experience.
"I'm not going to just do what I have to do and just run out. I've played lighting assistant. I've played stylist," said Gregg of her many bridal appointments.
"When you're the make-up artist and they are sitting in the chair, you're the one who calms them down."
Politeness and punctuality, she added, sets her apart from others in the industry. After doing an initial gig with Milani Cosmetics Jamaica, those qualities ultimately contributed to her current position as the brand's head make-up artist.
"They really liked my work and my work ethic," she said. "So they asked me to come back and do promotions for Milani until I became the main person."
Gregg, who can do a full glam face in 20 minutes, shone backstage at the Bacchanal Jamaica band launch earlier this year and at Caribbean Fashion Week in 2012. Recently, she provided on-site demonstrations at a make-up booth for Chris Gayle's 100th test match celebrations and displayed her skills in advertisements. She has also done presentations on make-up for several private organisations. Gregg said she's already booked for Carnival next year.
Through this job and her previous experiences at L'Oreal Paris and Sacha Cosmetics Jamaica, Gregg has worked with persons from all walks of life. Her elite clientele include Yendi Phillipps, Spice, Stacious, Ishawna, Denyque, Destra, Brown Sugar, Vivica Fox and Camille McDonald of America's Next Top Model. The celebrity exposure has contributed positively to her business.
"I have found that there are [celebrity] clients I have gained for sure but I've also been able to work with them because of my non-celebrity clients," said Gregg, who dreams of working with local songbird Tessanne Chin and R&B singer Brandy.
As a student going into final year, Gregg admits that balancing school and work has been a difficult task.
"To be honest, I really don't have a life outside of the two," she laughed. "So thank God that I do enjoy what I do."
Her academic schedule is somewhat flexible but Gregg has had to sacrifice big opportunities for her education. But when school is out, it's all work.
She has also been able to apply her marketing skills to her business and on the job as she also works with Milani's communication department, learning from the media personalities she has had to work with. Between her two roles at the company, Gregg's responsibilities include doing make-up training with other make-up artists, reaching out to retailers and looking at products to extend the brand's current line in Jamaica.
Though she hasn't decided whether she wants to continue to graduate studies, Gregg plans to go into make-up full time after completing her degree. The worsening economy, increasing competition and the steady rise in product prices have not deterred her from continuing her business as she emphasises that persons will always want to look good.
"The thing is that with make-up, everyone has their own unique style and aesthetics. So I think everyone has their niche market and should really zone in on that," she said.
Gregg has had her fair share of perks from working on various projects and visiting attractions across Jamaica in the name of work.
"We have some amazing places here that the average person doesn't even get to see," she said.
But her favourite part of her job is the transformation of her clients.
"They literally transform in front of you, from being kind of subdued and shy to a confident person strutting the room. It's amazing to see the difference in someone's personality just by feeling good."
Gregg's reputation has led to her somewhat becoming a celebrity in her own right. She related to All Woman an incident when she was recognised by a cashier at an ice cream shop, who gushed about her desire to take one of Gregg's make-up classes. She was pleasantly surprised but horrified that she had ventured out without make-up that one night.
"You can't go outside looking less than presentable," she stressed. "You never know whom you're going to meet. It keeps me on my toes."
For the summer heat, Gregg recommends light layers, concealing only where needed instead of packing on the powder. Healthy glowing skin and a red lip for a pop of colour are her favourite looks for the season. Her pet peeve? Over-outlined eyebrows that give off a halo-like 3D effect.
With her dream of producing a line of eyelashes soon to become a reality, Sue-Ann Gregg and The Make-up Girl continue to make a mark on the world of beauty.
"Make up is art," said Gregg. "Think of the face as a canvas. Let every brush stroke be done with meaningful purpose."