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HOW I BECAME A MAKEUP ARTIST FOR FILM & TV

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Denise Tunnell (pronounced TUN-

NELL), and I am a Film and Television makeup artist. After nine years of working

as an Accountant, I became interested in skin care and makeup. In 1998, I

decided to attend the International School of Skin and Nails, in Atlanta, Ga, where

I studied Aesthetics. I worked full- time during the day and went to school part-

time in the evening, three nights a week, and on Saturdays. It was at ISSN that I

received some basic makeup training. Most of what I learned about makeup, I

learned on my own and by taking classes outside of school.





After graduating ISSN, and passing the State Board exam, I continued my career as

an Accountant while exploring the beauty world. I was all set! I had big dreams of

working as an Aesthetician with my own spa. I spent the next six months to a

year getting advanced Aesthetic training while working full-time as an Accountant

and part-time as an Aesthetician. This was all a part of the plan and things were

coming together. What I didn’t plan for was my interest in makeup as a career.


I basically started my career in makeup by doing makeup for friends’ weddings. I

didn’t make much money because I didn’t charge my friends a lot, but I was

getting the experience. Whoever requested my services, I worked for. Early in

my career, I did makeup for brides, models, friends, cosmetic brands, music

videos, independent film, producers, actors, corporate videos, professional

athletes (NFL, NBA, MLB), etc. These experiences gave me a great foundation for

my career in film and television because I worked on many different skin tones as

well as collaborated with all levels in production. These experiences also gave me

more than enough days to join the Makeup and Hair union (IATSE Local 798).





Once I joined the union, my career started to be more focused on film and

television. Most of the relationships that I made in the early days of my career, I

managed to maintain them. These relationships continue to provide resources

and work opportunities for me today.





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