Behind the Biz | Gaylinyet Roberts | JordanQuinn Photography

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Behind the Biz | Gaylinyet Roberts

March 19, 2015

I became familiar with Gaylinyet Roberts’ hair and makeup artistry in the Seattle photography community. Every time I came across a set of portraits of an individual and adored their overall look, it was the work of Gaylinyet (or Gaylin for short). Besides the fact that I desperately wanted her to work her magic on me, I wanted even more to meet Gaylin and find out when she discovered her amazing talent and how she she got started making the rest of us look like the very best version of ourselves. That makeup look in between “way too much” and “hardly anything at all” – Gaylin calls it the “beautiful in between,” and that’s the look she aims to achieve on all of her fortunate clients.

Through a series of strategic steps and by being candid with herself about what she wants, she has been able to earn new clients and new opportunities. Gaylinyet’s advice for others looking to move forward in their careers? ” Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up.” I think Gaylin’s advice can apply to all careers, regardless of industry or level of experience.

I’m excited to share Gaylin’s story because it deserves to be noticed. Whether you have an interest in this particular industry or something entirely different, her lessons and approach to following her dreams are nothing short of inspiring.

“Seeing someone smile so brightly they can’t contain it because I’ve helped them feel beautiful- that’s everything to me.” 

How can you not want to work with a makeup artist with that kind of philosophy?! Gaylin is one of the most gorgeous women that I’ve ever gotten to know, inside and out. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with her work. As you get to know a little bit about her here – you’ll see what I mean.

Name of studio, Year established, Services offered, Studio address, etc.
I don’t have an official studio, but my business name is Gaylinyet- which is my first name. Most people call me Gaylin or G for short though.  I am a make up artist, and the majority of my work is done on location.  I started doing make up when I was 18, so 12+ years now! I just launched my new site over at too!

Why and when did you decide to become a full time artist?
I started doing make up out of necessity. I just had too many experiences of going to get my make up done make up counters and salons, and I never left looking like how I wanted to look.  I would either look like a clown, or like I had nothing on at all, and I wanted to find a beautiful in between. So, I learned how to do my own make up.  Once I started wearing make up, people started asking me for help with their own make up and it kind of snow balled from there.

How has your art changed since you started? How would you like to see it grow?
When I started, I was anchored to one brand because I worked in a department store.  Now, as an independent make up artist, the sky is the limit! There are SO many smaller indie make up brands that I love playing with.  Of course I still have my go-to brands, but its nice not being limited, so much more artistic freedom, textures, colors to choose from.

Becoming a full time makeup artist can be a huge risk financially. How have you handled this hurdle? What advice do you have for others who are trying to overcome the financial aspect of becoming an artist full time?
I tend to be very financially conservative, so I made sure I had a solid 1 year, 2 year, 5 year business plan and plenty of savings just in case I have a light work month.   For many years I balanced my day job and make up, until I had enough steady work to make the leap to full time make up.

How can potential clients contact you to book your services?
My website! or e-mailing me directly

What advice can you offer other aspiring artists?
Don’t get trapped in boring work that makes you want to poke your eyes out. Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up.

How has being a makeup artist affected you personally?
Being a makeup artist has turned me into the WORST makeup client actually! It would be nearly impossible for me to have my make up done by someone else.  Even for my wedding I did my own make up.  My wedding coordinator begged me to let the on site make up artist do it, but I just couldn’t! Her words were, “I have never seen a bride do her own wedding make up.” But I just had too! Kind of a funny moment really.

How did you attract a client base? Was it marketing or more word of mouth?
Word of mouth for sure.  I am lucky to have a lot of repeat business.  I have one client that I did wedding make up for, then her bridesmaids contacted me for their weddings, and then THEIR bridesmaids- 3 degrees of separation, and still going. I like it because then I become part of their group- and we have a good time.

What advice can you offer other aspiring makeup artists?
Don’t get trapped in boring work that makes you want to poke your eyes out. Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up.

What was the biggest challenge you have had to overcome in your work?
For years and years I took pride in not putting myself out there, or having a website- yet still having more than enough work by word of mouth.  I liked being the secret make up artist that only certain people knew about.  But looking back I think about all the good work I have done over the years, and there’s nothing to show for it. Now I have a little place to call my own ( and I love that people have a place to go to actually SEE my work.

Who is your ideal client?
My ideal clients are badass photographers, creative agencies, and people that want to do beautiful work with a bit of an edge.  I just want to do cool work, so I’m open to whatever capacity that might be in.

Best moment of your career so far?
There are so many!  Recently at my “Oh Sh!t, The Desert” workshop I did make up for a shoot out in Joshua Tree.  I was wearing 5 inch heels, probably not the smartest but I love me some heels, running around in the desert, dodging fire ants, doing make up on a hot couple. I had this moment like, “This is so so AWESOME!”

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t doubt your intuition.  I think the times I have been most successful, both personally and as a make up artist, are when I have listened to my gut.

What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
The most rewarding thing I do is seeing people’s confidence EXPLODE when they see what they look like after I’ve done their make up.  And I’m not saying anyone needs make up to be pretty.  I’m saying, seeing someone smile so brightly they can’t contain it because I’ve helped them feel beautiful- that’s everything to me.

If you weren’t doing makeup, what would you be doing?
I would be a therapist. I learn a lot about someone while doing their make up- insecurities, what makes them tick, as well as what makes them happy.  Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s usually a root cause to why people do the things they do. I recently did make up on a girl who came to me with Foundation just caked on, wrong shade, wrong formula, etc. After talking with her about it she opened up and told me that someone significant had told her that she was ugly, and that she needed the make up to be presentable. It gave me a clearer picture of where this girl was coming from.  We wiped away the make up, I taught her how to put make up on herself in a way that enhanced her natural beauty, rather than cover it up- and oh my goodness, she just beamed.  She couldn’t believe she could look that good.  Afterwards, we hugged and cried.  I still talk with her regularly and love seeing her confidence journey.

What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different! That’s one thing that I love about working for myself- never a dull moment.

What products do you use on a regular basis? Do you have any favorite application methods? What products are in your purse?
My make up kit is ever evolving based on what I like for that season and what type of make up I’m doing.  One of my favorite things about traveling abroad is finding amazing make up that’s not available in the U.S. I think it makes my kit really unique and diverse.In my purse I have a Shu Uemura nude lipstick that I got in Tokyo, a YSL compact that I got in Paris, and an Illamasqua high lighter that I got in London. Some people collect souvenir trinkets, I collect souvenir make up (and handbags!)

How do you balance your different career roles and goals? What advice do you have to stay organized and efficient?
I am a planner so staying organized and goal oriented has never been a challenge for me. I’m the type of person that will make a plan, then a back up plan, than a back up plan for the back up plan- and then analyze the plan…and then probably analyze how I’m analyzing. If anything, I should make it a goal to plan less. :)

Describe your makeup style.
My make up style is playful, classic meets edgy. Always pretty though! That’s my one stickler with make up. I’m not really into being different for the sake of being different, make up should enhance your beauty not take away from it- so for me, it has to be pretty. But then again, I think ugly pretty is pretty too!

What makeup artists have greatly influenced your work? What your main avenues for inspiration? magazines, blogs, websites, etc.
I love Wayne Goss- he’s a British make up artist.  I never really get star struck when it comes to make up artists because I think we are all creative and talented in our own way.  But, if Wayne ever came to the states or I happened to be in the UK the same time he had a seminar- I would definitely go! He’s the only one that I consistently watch all of his Youtube videos and Vlogs.  (Wayne- if you happen to read this, I’m such a fan!)

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