Meet: Phoebe Dawson



AGE: 28


A:  Tell me about yourself.

P: Hi my name is Phoebe! I was born in New Zealand in a tiny beach town called Nelson on the South Island.   I’ve always dreamed of becoming a make-up artist living in Hollywood since I was 13.  So, when I was 17, I moved to Australia by myself, for make-up school but plans didn’t fall through as I hoped so I decided to apply to a makeup school in Sydney.  I studied there for about a year and a half and then, finally I moved to Los Angeles when I was 19.


A:  What is your favorite look?

P:  I think natural beauty make up is my specialty, though I love doing a variety of different looks.  I like different challenges like, if someone were to show me a picture, I would really enjoy recreating it.  I definitely love the smoky eye look, winged liners, and lashes. 


A:  What is your favorite make up brand?

P: That’s a really hard question!  I’m always trying new brands so I don’t know if I have a specific favorite.  But a few of my favorites and recommendations are Peter Thomas Roth for any type of skincare products, for lashes I would go for Lily Lashes and or Ardell, and for makeup I really love Colorpop’s pigmentation for eyeshadows, it just stays on so well.


A:  What is was your first big break?

P:  Well I think it was more like a lot of little stepping-stones that led me to where I am now.  I don’t think I had just one big break but I think it might have been the first music video I worked on, or rather was most excited about was a J-Lo music video. That was really cool.    

A:  Is being a freelance make up artist your full-time job now?

P:  Yes, it’s been my full-time job for about six years now. 


A:  What is your typical day like?

P:  There is no typical day for me.  One day I’m in New York, the next I’m in the desert, and another day I’m rubbing oil on strippers.  Every day is so different from the next, it’s really unpredictable.  Things are constantly changing around me, all the time.  One day, my work is two hours, the next could be 16 hours.  One time I worked on set of a film and we had to work from 7:00pm to 7:00am the next day.  I recently did a job on a pirate ship overnight, so things tend to get a little crazy.  There is no average day for me.


A:  Do you have any makeup artists that you look up to?

P:  Yes, I do, quite a few actually.  I love make up by Mario.  He does make up for Kim Kardashian and I went to one of his seminars a while ago, he is really talented and amazing.  I love Pat McGrath, Gucci Westman who is also Australian along with Rae Morris who are also very incredible at what they do.  There are many more but those are just a few of my top favorites. 


A:  Who are your biggest clients?

P:  Well my most favorite client who I think is going to make it big, is a singer who is only fourteen.  Her name is Skyler Stecker, she recently went on tour and she’s doing all these amazing things.  She has a really great team so, I’m really excited to see where her career goes.  I’ve also worked with Shaq, Kendra Wilkinson, and Holly Madison of Playgirls, Jason Biggs from American Pie, Gigi Gorgeous a youtube vlogger at Sundance, Big Sean, and David Hasselhoff a few times so, a bunch of different people.


A:  What is your signature look and what is your most common request?

P:  I don’t know if I have much of a signature look.  I think maybe it’s just simple.  I like enhancing people’s beauty, whether it’s with a smoky eye look, or a winged liner, or just good contouring of the skin.  I don’t really go crazy or overboard.  I mostly like to just enhance people’s natural beauty.


A:  Are there any future projects that you are excited about? Any collaboration?

P:  I don’t know, I think I’m just really excited for this year.  I’m excited to see what is to come.  I’m thinking a lot of travel is going to happen which I am really excited for. 


A:  How did you start networking and gaining clients?

P:  So when I first moved here I was like super fearless so I just reached out to everyone.  Everyday I’d wake up and email all these people and try to meet with them.  I’d reach out to a lot of celebrity makeup artists and ask if I could assist them and that I’d do it for free.  I’d clean their brushes and do whatever they needed and I worked really hard that way. That helped me open up and eventually book my own clientele.


A:  Do you hope to create your own make up brand one day?

P:  Well I do have makeup bags that I make so I’d love to make more versions of that in the future.  I love lashes so if I did have a makeup line I’d focus on makeup brushes and lashes.


A:  If you could ask one of your role models a question, what would it be?

P:  I don’t know, I guess I’d just ask them for advice about how they got to where they are, if there are any mistakes I should look out for, things like that.


A:  Do you have any tips or words of advice for aspiring artists?

P:  I would say that it’s really hard work.  There’s a lot of competition out there so make sure you really want it.  Always be humble, don’t ever try to step on other people’s toes, if you’re assisting another artist, and never hand out your business card.  You’re the assistant they are helping you just as much as you are helping them. You don’t want to burn any bridges because they could possibly even get you a better job in the future.  Be honest, be true, and work with people, not against them.  If you work well with others, you’ll go far.