Occupation Thesaurus: Makeup Artist

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

What jobs will you choose for your characters? Make them meaningful to both the cast and your story with the Occupation Thesaurus.

Occupation: Makeup Artist

Overview: A makeup artist uses cosmetics to enhance or change a person’s physical appearance. This type of artist may work as a clerk at a store, in a salon, as a personal makeup artist for a celebrity, at special events (such as a photo shoot, runway show, or wedding), or on staff for a TV production company. They may also work in a mortuary or funeral home, preparing corpses for viewing. At the extreme end of this career spectrum, makeup artists may use their techniques to create special effects in movies. People in this career field can either be freelance or employed in a permanent position.

Necessary Training: Many makeup artists start their training by volunteering in the aforementioned roles and learning from professionals as they go. Certifications aren’t required in all places, but sometimes they’re necessary in order to work in the field, so many people choose to take cosmetology courses in order to become certified.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Good listening skills, multitasking, promotion, repurposing

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adventurous, calm, cooperative, courteous, creative, enthusiastic, gentle, industrious, responsible, studious, talented, whimsical

NEGATIVE: Extravagant, perfectionist, vain, verbose

Sources of Friction: A customer requesting something that’s beyond one’s ability to accomplish, perfectionistic customers who are impossible to please, a customer having an allergic reaction to one’s products, financial limitations that force one to work with inferior cosmetics and tools, insecurities about one’s own appearance, jealous or petty co-workers, being unable to break into the desired area of one’s industry, unhealthy practices at one’s salon or spa that lead to bad press and a decrease in customers, having one’s techniques or ideas stolen

People They Might Interact With: Other makeup artists, customers, managers (in a retail/commercial setting), hair stylists, fashion consultants, photographers, vendors

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: An artist who wishes to do high-end makeup for a professional or very creative work on a movie set but is unable to break into that field may be forced to work in a commercial environment as a fall-back option. This could lead to dissatisfaction and a feeling of being unable to meet their full potential.
  • Esteem and Recognition: Comparing ourselves to others will usually lead to disappointment. An artist who feels inferior in their abilities may suffer in the esteem department.
  • Love and Belonging: If someone in the character’s life doesn’t appreciate what they do or desires something more lucrative or esteemed for them, the relationship may suffer, and a void in this area may develop.

Common Work-Related Settings: Cruise ship, funeral home, green room, hair salon, mansion, performing arts theater, shopping mall, spa, trade show, Vegas stage show

Twisting the Stereotype: People with an interest in makeup and fashion are often viewed as vapid and superficial. Avoid that misperception by fleshing out your character to include a variety of meaningful traits and interests.

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Occupation Thesaurus: Makeup Artist

  1. Erika Hayes says:

    OH, MY HAPPY DANCE!! This is perfect. I have a supporting character that I have been trying to figure out what her day job will be… this fits her to a T! Thank you for this description. She is going to be so excited to find out. 🙂 (yes, I am that nerdy)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.