The makeup of a business

Senior Maddee Whitehead looks forward to a future in the makeup business.


Maddie Whitehead ’17, a freelance makeup artist, uses her Instagram to promote her abilities. In this look, she is made up to look like a mermaid for Halloween, and she will have two clients makeup to do for the holiday. See more of her work on her Instagram, @mwhiteheadmua

Isabelle Robles, Digital Editor-in-Chief

For many high school seniors, senior photos are an integral part of remembering their year. However, with the large variety of photographers and the styles they possess, choosing a photographer can be overwhelming. This is why senior Maddee Whitehead jumped at the opportunity of being a spokesmodel for Image Bearer Photography, a relatively new photography studio in the area.

Last January, Amber Forrostro reached out to Whitehead and other seniors to represent her company, Image Bearer Photography, by participating in themed promotional shoots every month. Upon Amber’s request, Whitehead started doing the makeup for the senior spokesmodels in the winter of her junior year until this fall. This sparked a business from what was before only a fun hobby.

“I’ve always loved makeup and I have purchased a lot of it and I decided I could turn it into a little business because I love doing it on my friends as a hobby,” she said. “The photographer that I took my senior pictures with needed a makeup artist, so I decided [to try] out airbrush makeup.”

Airbrush is thin lightweight liquid foundation formula that is often used for photography. It creates an even, natural coat and prevents a white flash-back look when photographed, as opposed to a liquid or powder foundation.

After creating a business proposal and website, Whitehead began working as the makeup artist for Image Bearer in July. Once given a client, Whitehead begins her work over text a week before the sit-down consultation. This way, she can prepare and comprise an individualized look.

“We go on Pinterest together and send pictures of what they’re thinking so I can bring all the products to specialize their look,” she said. “Not all people wear the same amount of makeup and are as comfortable in it.”

Whitehead believes that makeup is done best when it fits the character of the person wearing it.

“[When I am doing their makeup] I have them check it like ten times throughout to make sure they like it because [senior photos shoots are] a very personal thing and you want to look good for it.”

Whitehead does not plan on pursuing esthetician school, where students attend in order to get certification to work at a salon, but will continue doing makeup for Image Bearer as she attends the University of Iowa.

There’s always new stuff. I’m like, ‘I need it all!’’”

— Maddee Whitehead '17

“I’d love to keep doing this throughout college. As long as I have time for it and [people] keep demanding it I’ll keep doing it, but it’s not going to be what my job is until the day I die.”

Either way, Whitehead’s love for makeup is something she can’t help.

“My mom always yells at me when I get packages from different websites. She’s like, ‘You have so much!’ But there’s always new stuff. I’m like, ‘I need it all!’’’ Whitehead laughed.

Aside from consultations, Whitehead experiments with special effect makeup for fun. She has created Halloween-inspired looks ranging from mermaids to grotesque clowns. 

“It’s the only art I’m good at. I can’t draw or paint or sculpt, but I like doing fun things with makeup and taking lots of selfies,” she said with a laugh.