Teen Vogue: Fashion at Work: Inside Jobs

Teen Vogue
Published: 2007

Kayleen McAdams, Hollywood Makeup Artist

I come from a teeny–tiny town in Canada. Beauty just isn’t really something people do there,” notes Los Angeles makeup artist Kayleen McAdams, 25. Therefore, with the decidedly proper industries of law, medicine, or banking in mind, Kayleen went to college to study psychology. It took a visit to her sister, actress Rachel McAdams, on a film set in South Carolina for Kayleen to recognize her true passion. “I was supposed to be visiting Rachel, but I spent all my time in the makeup trailer instead,” she recalls. “Seeing that it could actually be a career inspired me to try it out.”

After college, Kayleen volunteered at a salon, helping the in–house makeup artist during the wedding season. “I’ve found that all the bridal work has been great preparation for my work in Hollywood,” she says, laughing. “I was dealing with stressed–out people all the time!” With the solid foundation she gained at the salon (“I mastered the basics: how to apply concealer, tweeze brows, and curl lashes!”), Kayleen packed her bags and moved to Toronto, where she studied cosmetology.

A chance encounter with makeup superstar and Dior international celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff helped open doors to even more new opportunities: “She’s been so supportive, helping me meet people—all while teaching me amazing tricks.” Kayleen’s advice for burgeoning beauty pros? “Take in as much as you can,” she says. “Work at a beauty counter, or go online and look at the work of artists you admire. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are always open to helping those who are passionate.”

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