Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Interview with Angela-Lynn Ware: On Going Freelance

Angela-Lynn Ware
Make Up Artist and Hair Stylist
Philadelphia and New York City

Age: 38

Current years working in the industry?: 8 years

Are you married?
Yes. I have been married for 16 years and am currently going through a divorce. While it' a major life altering experience, The lessons and challenges that come with it have paved the way for me to overcome some of the barriers that try to get in the way of achieving my goals, dreams and aspirations.

Do you have kids or plans to have kids?:
Yes, I have two beautiful daughters. Yumiė Gabrielle pronounced (You-Me-Ā) and Selah Michelle pronounced (Say-Lah). They are 16 and 14 respectively. They desire to one day participate in the beauty industry as well, as they are already practicing hairstyling, makeup, and nail art.

How did you get started in the industry, and what inspired you?
I attended Philadelphia University where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Psychology.  Upon graduation, I became a social worker which I did for 11 years. While doing my job as a social worker, I went to Gordon Philips Beauty School. there I completed my credentials to become a licensed cosmetologist. As many of us do, I went back to what was familiar and returned to social work.  I worked my way up to being director of my own program. Everything was lovely until government funding for my program was no longer available. The program closed and I was left to decide what I was going to do next. I had always done hair and took this opportunity to go back to school to get my cosmetology teachers license. I proudly enrolled into Empire Beauty School. Nearing the end of my course, I one day overheard a teacher sharing with another student about a celebrity stylist friend that he had who was looking for assistants. I brodied my way into the conversation and asked if he would share the information with me, which he did. I was confident with hair but I had nothing to share with him as I had no real world experience on a professional level with makeup but I was going to give it my best. I asked some of my regular clients to participate in my very first photo shoot. I sent my work samples in to celebrity stylist Robert Johnson. He hired me, and was impressed with my work and so  began my journey into the world of makeup. My training ground was high profile weddings under his supervision which led to working on my first short film. This experience opened my mind to other aspects of makeup artistry such as special effects and airbrush techniques which piqued my interest and made me want to learn more. Now that I think about it, that was the springboard that propelled me to where I am today; that and my mother's advice. Specializing in sex abuse began to take a toll on my life and the life of my family. I struggled with whether to leave or to follow my hearts true desire. After having a heart to heart conversation with my mother, she shared this piece of advice..."When you find your passion, God will show you your purpose". I went in the very next day and gave my two weeks notice. I've never looked back.

Where did you start working as a MUA, and what was your last position at your job? 

I have always been a MAC girl. There are 17 MAC stores and counters in the region where I live. I frequented them all. I would go in, get a tutorial, buy a bunch of stuff, go home and practice on anyone who would lend me their face. I would also practice on myself and go back to the store to show the staff what I had done and ask for their advice on how to improve. I would go so often that I began to be known by name when i walked in the door. Eventually I became a freelancer for the company.  I used to freelance during my days as a social worker. Don't tell but I used to call out of work to take shifts at the MAC counter inside of Nordstrom. By the time I began to consider permanency, I was offered positions with five different locations. I accepted an opportunity at a freestanding store where I held the position of retail make up artist, grew into product specialist and was being considered for the position of key holder when I decided that my time to depart was on the horizon. I was there for 7 years, until I left last year embarking into the freelance world.

What made you want to/need to leave to go freelance?

Much like my decision to leave social work, I had to surrender to my life's passion. I needed flexibility in my schedule in order to accept the bigger gigs that were coming my way. I could no longer be married to the brand if I was going grow beyond the counter.

What was the biggest support for you both in your growth, and in leaving your steady job?
My family is amazing at standing in the gap and helping with the kids  which made it easier for me to be away from home for extended periods of time on occasion. My mentor , Dani Fonseca told me two things that have forever changed my life. The first is "I can have it all". I knew that I had a gift but didn't know how to unleash it until that moment that lent so much clarity and gave me the confidence that I needed to go after my  goals. I no longer thought that I had to be behind the counter and sell makeup because in all honesty, that's what it was, just selling. The artistry has become an added bonus. It's not the main focus and that's what I am passionate about. Dani also told me that there are no limitations "The only ceiling in life is the one that you put there." I know that these are two very simple things however, they were simply profound and had a major impact on my life. It was like putting on glasses. I could now see that I was standing in my own way, being trapped by the limitations of my mind and the restrictions that I had placed on myself. If I was ever going to grow beyond the counter, I had to come from behind it.

What have been the biggest struggles in the past year going freelance? 
The biggest struggles in the past year have been the slow times. This winter was terrible. It made it hard for people to keep their regular hair appointments and the winter is typically slow for makeup. I was proactive and managed to save three months living expenses before leaving but there are times when I have contemplated taking on another job in order to maintain a steady income but just in time, something always seems to come through that continues to keep me afloat. I have faith that one day it will be steady and the financial aspect won't be such a concern.

What have been the benefits and rewards working for yourself? 
Exactly that...its working for me. I am not pouring all of my efforts into something that someone else continues to reap the benefit of. The reward is seeing my goals and dreams come to fruition. One of the main benefits is being a living example befor my children that there are no limits and the only thing in the way of your success is you. It's not easy but nothing worth having comes without sacrifice.

Describe your biggest learning lessons throughout this process?

My biggest lessons have been learning to stay focused, being true to myself and conquering the fear of asking for help. The most successful people lean on others in order to foster their growth. I still struggle with asking for help.

What are your fears and challenges you see ahead?
I don't really foresee any fears but I continue to be challenged with asking for help so networking is big on my list of things to do. I definitely plan to have another child and am concerned about how that will impact my career as I feel that I am on the cusp of something great but I don't want to sacrifice one for the other. In all things there needs to be balance so I imagine that I will manage to work that out also. There are no limitations and I can have it all!

What are you excited about, and what’s next for you? 
I am excited about stretching my limits, testing my new skill set of airbrush, body art and special effects and growing beyond the realm of what's comfortable.What's next has yet to be seen. I have my hands outstretched, open and ready to receive what is coming my way.

Would you ever go back to working retail or at a company for someone else?
I will always do what I have to to provide for my family. I remain on the freelance list with MAC but that is definitely NOT on my list of things to do. I pray that I never have to take that route again and I will continue to work hard to pursue my career so that doesn't happen.

What would you say to people out there who want to make the leap, but are nervous about this step? Any advice you would give them?
Nothing beats a failure but a try. The only way to know if you can succeed at something is to do it. Yes there will be some tough times but the reward is greater than the struggle. (I had to jump back and kiss myself on that one.)


  1. Angie, I'm so proud of you. May God continue to bless the work of your hands. Praying for you always. -m.

  2. Yesssss!! Can i just say that i have seriously thought about you having an autobiography... This is a good read as well as encouraging but knowing you as i do this only skims the surface of your story.... That being said keep doing what your doing you inspire me and have been my celeb stylist from the beginning!! I love you dearly, am so very proud of you, honored that you are a part of my life and can't wait to see what's next!!!