As an author, speaker, and industry consultant, Crystal Wright’s work has paved the way for the careers of countless beauty professionals.
She is best known for her guide, “The Hair, Makeup, & Fashion Styling Career Guide“, now on it’s 5th edition and considered a bible to those who are looking to get their foot in the door. The guide tells you exactly what to do and how to do it, and demystifies the process, which can be entirely overwhelming and intimidating.
Because of what she does and how well she does it, I consider Crystal one of my heroes, and it’s nothing less than a complete honor that she agreed to answer some of our questions.
If you’re in any way considering a beauty career or are looking to find new inspiration, read this interview, and then go and buy Crystal’s book. It’s an investment you will not regret!
You can find out more about Crystal , her products, and her workshop schedule by visiting her website, http://www.crystalwrightlive.com.
Painted Ladies: In your illustrious career, you have made a name for yourself as THE resource for beauty industry professionals. What made you want to create the guides in the first place?
Crystal Wright: Not long after I launched Crystal Agency, I started getting calls from young artists who aspired to work in the industry but believed that it would only happen if they “knew” someone. You know, the “it’s not what you know it’s who you know syndrome”. I would sit on the phone explaining to them what they needed to do, and my assistant Judy was always after me to get off the phone and get back to work. But I felt bad because no one would tell them anything. They would call the other agencies and get shut down.
Then one day I got a call from a young girl who had recently graduated from one of the local makeup schools, and she said she couldn’t get a job. They had taught her how to do makeup, but she didn’t have a clue what to do next. She didn’t know what her resume was supposed to look like, or where to purchase a portfolio, or how to find the right decision-maker at a record company or anywhere else. It just broke my heart.
So I came up with this bright idea to write a little 16-page manual. When I finished writing, the manual was 180 pages. That was the first Hair Makeup & Fashion Styling Career Guide back in 1995. The 2nd one was over 200 pages and now this 5th one is 400 pages and the font is much smaller. If I added any more to the book it would be to heavy to carry around. As it is it’s 2lbs.
I get calls from people like Jay Colvin of JC Presentations, the portfolio maker who say they get calls from people who say, “Well Crystal Wright says my book should be 9X12”. It’s an honor to know that people are listening and it carries an enormous amount of responsibility too.
So that was it.
Painted Ladies: Many of our readers are trying to break into the beauty industry, but some have expressed doubts to me that there is enough room for newbies. Do you think this is true?
Crystal Wright: Oh poppycock! Here’s the deal: There are more TV shows not less. There are more magazines not less. When was the last time you went to a news stand and saw holes where the magazines use to be? When was the last time you turned on the television and found a channel with snow on it? You haven’t. Because there’s plenty of work.
The decision is not whether or not to be a makeup artist, it’s how good a makeup artist do you want to be? You can be a $250 a day makeup artist, a $500 a day makeup artist or a $3500 a day makeup artist. Now as you can imagine, the $3500 a day makeup artist has a completely different commitment to her craft than the $250 a day makeup artist.
Life is full of choices. I say decide where you want to be in 5 years and go for it. Enough room? People who decide to accomplish their dreams don’t ask if there is enough room they create space for themselves by being the best at what they do, not being swayed by a little rejection, and not taking no for an answer.
Painted Ladies: Can you share any helpful tips for the readers who are trying to break into the industry?
Crystal Wright: Focus, Set a goal and work backwards from the creative professional that you see yourself as in 5 years. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Pat McGrath isn’t trying to be all things. Neither is Billy B, Sam Fine or Monifa Mortis! If you talk to any of them, you get a picture of an artist who knew what kinds of jobs that they wanted to work on years before those jobs actually materialized. They focused and kept their eye on the prize.
One of the benefits of the Career Guide is that it helps artists to focus. In my 2-day portfolio building and marketing workshop the first thing we start with is the last thing that artists expect. We start with where they want to be in 5 years. Everything else springs from there. They don’t realize how important it is until’ they can’t answer a simple question “What is your perfect job?”.
Painted Ladies: How have you seen the beauty industry change since you began your career, and how do you see the beauty industry changing in the future?
Crystal Wright: Oh there are lots of things and many of them have to do with technology. Retouching is one of them. Personally I think we’ve gone way overboard with photoshop. However, an artist whose images are not retouched finds it hard to compete when everyone elses work APPEARS flawless.
There are lots more agencies to represent artists these days than there were when I opened Crystal Agency. Also, online portfolios are a must, and I’m not talking about facebook and myspace. I mean having a real online presence in a dedicated format is extremely important, and can make or break an artist.
Crystal, you are nothing less than a inspiration and phenomenon. Thank you, again, for sharing your wisdom with our readers!