Trinity Fashion Society, led by Chair Anna O’Connell, bagged guest speaker Ciara Allen for a night of insights into the Irish beauty industry. Anyone interested in getting a taste of the fashion world was welcome at yesterday’s event, which included a prosecco reception and finger-food from Nando’s.
Ciara Allen, whose work has been published in The Hollywood Reporter, Irish Tatler and Image Magazine, to name a few, graced the Global Room stage and poured her knowledge into a room full of eager ears. Her bright orange hair is as blazing as her personality and “don’t take it personally and don’t ever give up” was the main message of the night. Allen is like the older sister every young fashionista wants. This is the premise of her hotly anticipated book How To Succeed in the Beauty Business – “I’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to”.
Allen’s journey hasn’t been easy: “In my first two to three years I barely made any money and took some jobs that weren’t me just to pay bills, but I never lost sight of the goal.”
Her new book is a handbook of how to really succeed in the beauty industry, which has its ups and downs. For her first few years as a makeup artist, Allen patiently chased big Irish magazines, taking rejection gracefully and never giving up. She is an advocate for perseverance, firmly believing that no matter how bad things seem you must keep on fighting.
Allen recounts that “four years ago I was struggling to get any make-up work, to pay my bills and to stay optimistic that it would one day get better. I went for a full-time office job because everything felt so hopeless. Luckily I didn’t get it, because if I had I have no idea where I would have ended up”. The aim of her book is to help aspiring artists overcome the harder aspects of breaking into the industry and to deal with self-doubt.
Images of perfection surround us either through advertisements or social media. Allen explains that part of the role of a makeup artist is to help clients who are unhappy with their own appearance: “They’ll say they hate the makeup, but it’s not you, it’s them. They’re hurting and all you can do is try and build them back up.”
After an in-depth insight into life in the beauty world, Allen opened the floor up to questions, of which there were many. Her biggest piece of advice on how to start out in the beauty industry is to never be afraid of asking for advice and remember that if someone doesn’t like your work, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have talent.
So, what’s next? “I would really love people to buy my book”, Allen laughed, before turning the question to all of us in the audience. “What would you like to do? No matter how ridiculous it seems, go do that!”