On April 21st, a bill was introduced by Rep. Walsh and referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform to amend the previous occupational code 1980 PA 299 which defines makeup artistry from cosmetology. The supposed purpose of this is to make makeup artistry a legal trade in Michigan.
The petition for this bill, started by Lisa Glickoff of Astute Artistry, states:
"This proposed Bill was introduced to amend the current laws about Cosmetologists vs. being a Makeup Artist. House Bill No. 4574 proposes why it is important to separate both fields. As many of you know, you do not need a license to be a Makeup Artist in Michigan. This Bill would open more doors for Makeup Artists to reach their full potential. It will recognize makeup artistry as a legal TRADE and give you the opportunity to become CERTIFIED through the state of Michigan! It will also give you the opportunity to receive FINANCIAL AID through the state of Michigan to pay for your schooling!
For many of you that have been on our prospect student list for several years, this will finally give you the support to start pursuing your DREAMS!
This new Proposed Bill Supports Makeup Artists as Independent Professionals and does not tie them in with Cosmetologists and Estheticians.
How can you help?
Students and Fellow Makeup Artists can help by Writing, Calling OR E-mailing to the following State Rep. Hugh Crawford. He is in charge of this proposed Bill change. You are encouraged to explain why this bill would personally benefit YOU as a makeup artist, someone who loves makeup, or anyone that is in the hair/skin/movie/photography or beauty industry at all."
I was curious to find out what that actually meant for already established, and aspiring makeup artists working right now in my home state. I needed to know if this bill would effect people like me who are self-taught and gain most of their knowledge and experience through things like trade work or apprenticing. Finding the answers wasn't exactly as easy as I had anticipated. It seemed like there was something a little controversial going on..but no one really wanted to address it. Why wouldn't we want a bill that would make it easier for people who wanted to better their skills? Why wouldn't we want to go to a makeup trade school in Michigan as opposed to having to pay more to go out of state? I had been considering taking a few classes myself recently, and while I must say I was taken aback by the tuition costs, I did not see any immediate red flags there. I am fairly new in this industry and boy let me tell you..I have A LOT to learn.
I wanted to find out first of all why people in the industry opposed this bill. Established Michigan makeup artist Andrea Duchesneau was kind enough to break it down for me.
"The basic premise of the bill as making Makeup Artistry a "Legal Trade" is not what the issue is, it's how they are seeking to do it. " She says.
" A large number of artists here are operating by technical standards "illegally" by not being "licensed" as "estheticians". This has always been a bit of a sore spot for most artists because an esthetician is someone who does Facial and Body Waxing, which largely has NOTHING to do with what we do. So many feel that it's a complete waste of time and money to go to school for 600 hours and spend $5k or more for an education that largely does them no good. This is really the only law that exists on the books, and "makeup artistry" isn't even really clearly defined in it either. There has never been anything done to enforce it though apart from people working in salons. So in other words, those who do primarily on-location work (production related or otherwise), have largely operated by getting educated out of state at legit schools or assisting, and then working on location without formal licensing recognized here unless they also want to work in a salon. The state, while aware of it I'm sure, has done nothing to police it (probably because of $$) and has pretty much not cared unless someone is in a salon. What is sad about the situation is that many extremely talented and legit artists (who have been trained at very legit schools elsewhere, assisted, or who were self-taught) are largely 100x more trained than the average esthetician coming out of school. So it's understandably viewed as unfair to the majority of artists (who aren't licensed) that they are discredited simply because they don't have a license in something that largely doesn't even relate to makeup!
My trade (especially from the production standpoint) traditionally has always worked by the "Old Hollywood" standard of apprenticing, "paying your dues", and working your way up the latter to gain experience and credibility. This system for the most part has always worked quite well, and no one has really felt the need to start imposing restrictions on people. It's always been a much more efficient way of learning anyway, because largely artistic skill is picked up through experience and practice (and natural talent of course). The business end is largely best understood by firsthand experience which is why apprenticing works so well. The only true liability to the public from an artist is product safety and sanitation, the latter of which is the only one that remains a true issue because the FDA regulates products so much. Really the only makeup specialities that NEED "schools" are spfx (because of how complex that is), however even that is something many artists still choose to learn through apprenticing or workshops.
Now going back to schools. Do I think schools are a BAD thing? No, not necessarily. I went to one of the best makeup schools in the entire WORLD and it was amazing. I came out of the program with a 5 star education that gave me a huge advantage then simply assisting or working my way up the latter on my own. However, not ALL schools are held to the same standard or provide the same education level because they and their educators aren't "regulated" by the state."
The main issues with the bill itself deal with the fact that it does not allow 'Grandfathering in' for already established artists. There is no other way to gain certification through apprenticing or otherwise. This is kinda bad because that would mean somebody with a lot of expierience would basically have to take full programs the same way somebody just starting out would. The other problem is that with no clear state licensing requirements or requirements on course content you may not be getting an education that will actually prepare you to work in the field. There is no separation between consumer makeup and production makeup- and that is a major red flag for me there. These all seem like fundamental problems for me as a matter of fact. It seems like these trade schools (currently there are only 2 in Michigan, Astute Artistry and Michigan Makeup Academy) would be able to charge students a higher tuition (financial aid, remember?) for education from an instructor who may not have much more knowledge than themselves! I know that I don't have the time or money to waste on bogus training. If I am paying $25k for a year of education it better be from somebody who has had YEARS worth of hands-on experience and first hand knowledge. Period.
I tried to get some sort of personal statement from Lisa on this matter because I felt that since she is the one proposing this bill that she would be the #1 person to talk to about it. I assumed that this was a good opportunity to stand up for her views and perhaps counter some of the backlash. I guess not? After about 2 weeks, several facebook conversations, and a cancelled phone interview- I received an email response to the questions i'd asked her. Except that instead of using my questions she simply forwarded me an email that she sent to another makeup artist. I'm just keeping it real here folks. I don't really feel comfortable quoting too much of an email that was not even addressed to me, but here are a few key points Lisa makes:
1."This bill is needed for makeup artists existing or those wanting to become an artist for many different reasons. First of all the bill I proposed was very simple.....To allow makeup artists to work anywhere with no regulations in Michigan and to be noticed as an artist without having to become a cosmetologist in this state. However, if you have never proposed a bill before than you or anyone else would not understand that it is not myself who wrote the bill but the politicians and their lawyers who picked it up."
2. "Legally in Michigan you must have the intent to sell retail in order to practice as an artist in this state. Without that intent you have to be a cosmetologist. That leaves all of the working artists in Michigan at risk of violating this law, unless they are working dept. stores or boutiques that carry retail. Does this make sense to you? I am fighting for the artists in this community and they are fighting against me."
3. " If anyone who opposes actually did their homework they would not feel so misinformed. All of the info is at their fingertips to research. As far as my personal experience I have a website coming out with my past 22 years of experience as an artist, just to name a few things working in your hometown at [edited for privacy] and more across the states and overseas. As far as my licensing I am a licensed esthetician trained in Paris for 6 mos. Beyond working for a dozen makeup companies from account executive to national and international artist to working at the Oscars in 2006. I have touched dozens of famous faces. My movie experience is with Independent films over the past 10 years. I have taken numerous courses over the years and also just have an immense gift. As far as my special f/x education I have had many mentors over the years and am fluent in live casting, alginate casting and most recently have used my superb skills to make silicone patches for burn victims and cancer patients. I have held dozens and worked more than I can count on fashion shows, local editorial, and my high profile clientele here in Detroit are many . You see I am only explaining this to you because of all of the pettiness out there and frankly, I am so sick of it. I have trained over 500 artists in Detroit,"
This is all fine and well, but no the information was NOT at my fingertips. I DID do my homework, believe me. It took quite a bit of digging to make myself informed on this very topic- and I still feel as if I have only really scratched the surface. I am not sure if I can support this bill in it's current form because it could put people just like me out of work..at least until they have the time/money to get certified. I do think however that the idea behind the bill is a good one. There should be updated legislature in Michigan that protects makeup artists by separating our trade from cosmetology. Is House Bill 4574 going to do that for those of us here in the mitten state? Not until it's amended to include some points that will cover our already established artists, as well as people who do makeup for smaller events (like body painting at nightclubs, facepainting,glitter tattoos, ect). I also think clear regulations need to be put into place as to who is qualified to teach these courses, and what curriculum they have to cover. Trade schools need to be mindful regarding quality over quantity when they are putting these new artists out into the already crowded work force. Everyone should be able to follow their dreams of becoming a makeup artist in this wonderful state- I just don't think there should be only one way to go about doing that.