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Meet Trailblazer Allison Pynn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Pynn.

Allison, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began doing makeup/hair when I was 4 years old. I took it very seriously & loved decorating my Barbies, sisters & anyone that would let me! My background is all in fine art & have been drawing and painting since I was a toddler. I saw makeup & hair as another form of my art & continued to practice through my teen years & into adulthood. I’ve never taken a makeup class in my life & don’t really think you can “learn makeup”- it’s an art & you have to develop your own style. The best “makeup education” I ever received is from taking art classes … how to create symmetry, color theory, how to view objects differently, product manipulation, etc… and styling hair is just like sculpting clay.. all things I learned in art classes.

I grew up wanting to be an animator for Disney or a gallery artist. However, when I was in my early 20’s, I had a “crossroads moment” & someone asked me to start a makeup business with them. It had never dawned on me to do makeup as a career, I just did it my entire life because I was passionate about it! I decided I would go for it on my own & go all the way- not as a hobby, but as a serious career doing celebrities, editorials, campaign ads – I wanted the big guns! I prayed & stayed the course, even as a single mom, I worked every single day at getting my name out there, working every job that came my way (no matter the pay or client), I was obsessed. It took a few years of some struggle, but my hard core determination never faltered. I began my career in 2004 & I’ve been a full-time makeup artist ever since!

Has it been a smooth road?
My biggest struggle was getting my name out there & getting in front of the right people so they’d hire me. I didn’t know any other makeup artists & never assisted anyone so I started with NO help. I would cold-call photographers & productions companies & offer my work, I joined networking groups & showed up to every event I was invited to. There was no social media, no way to get exposure other than just showing up to events & trying to meet all the right people. Artists now have it so much easier in that respect- I worked SO hard for my exposure!

My advice to anyone beginning a career is DON’T STOP. If you know in your gut, you are meant for a particular calling & have a passion for it, put on horse-blinders & work every single day at it. There is something you can do every day to practice, get exposure, meet people, do whatever it takes to live the life you want. Live it now like you already have it. Start today & DON’T STOP!

We’d love to hear more about Allison Pynn, Makeup Artist.
I do makeup/hairstyling for TV/Print/Video production. I come on set with my makeup kit, meet with the art director, photographer or producer to discuss the look I need to create. In the timeframe, I’m given (sometimes 1 hour, sometimes only 20 min.), I create the look on the talent, test it for approval & then, I stay on set throughout the shoot for touch-ups & often redo the makeup/hair to create more looks. I also act as an assistant to the talent & do whatever I can to help a shoot run smoothly. I see myself as a member of the team – jumping in anywhere I can to help (whether it’s holding a reflector, grabbing a drink for someone, & have even jumped in front of the camera to fill in as talent if needed!)

The makeup style I’m known for is GLAM. Usually a variation of soft glam to full smoky eyes & big hair – I love it!

I think what sets me apart from other artists (aside from my makeup style) is my attitude & willingness to be a team player. I love having fun while I’m working too- this is such a fun job!

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I grew up in a rather tense household – an environment where I became really good at assessing the room & everyone in it so I knew what people needed. This has helped me tremendously in being able to be a team player at work. A lot of people in this industry can be very sensitive & I can very easily pick up on what people need & help often before they even ask. I listen, know when to appropriately joke, start a fun conversation, grab something before it falls, make people feel comfortable & help people feel their best.

I also used to work in retail & bartend. I can get along with ANYONE, steam clothes & help style wardrobe on set – big assets to my job!

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Amy Schumer photo by Paul Mobley, Headshot of Allison Pynn by Lance Eldert

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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