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Conversations with the Inspiring Ashley LaHood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley LaHood.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
One day, I found myself in a transitional point of life. I had just finished working as an after school program coordinator for Pre-K through 7th graders and I was open and excited to see what was next in life. I applied to other non-profit jobs, and doors kept shutting, which seemed confusing at the time as that is what I was “qualified” for. While that was happening I kept having this thought surface… “What about makeup? You have always wanted to try it and see if it worked out.”, I reached out to a photograpgher friend and offered my services, explaining I was going to see if this makeup thing could happen. She put me in touch with one of her friends, I did a test shoot with another photographer friend, and it began snowballing. The next thing I knew, I was putting together a more complete kit, creating a website, business card, and applying to retail positions to get my hands on as many faces as possible. I literally jumped one day and haven’t looked back.

Prior to this, makeup had always been a hobby. Whether it was sitting and doing my own makeup, rand friends, or good friends’ weddings, makeup was somehow always part of my life. It was and still is something I really enjoy sharing with others. Nothing is better than convincing a good friend she “needs” that perfect red lip.

Currently, I find myself  building a business, portfolio, clientele and support system. I am primarily doing bridal during this season, while also working as a freelance artist with a few different makeup brands. I continue to strive to do makeup applications in a variety of settings: studio, lifestyle, on location or collaborative shoots are all part of my life in some way.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Giving beauty and confidence to people is the driving force behind every makeup application I perform. I want people to feel both physically and internally beautiful when I leave. It is this that has kept me grounded when discouragements arise. I have to remember this because it can be easy to believe that I am not good enough, talented enough or working hard enough at certain points. Having a focus and purpose has really helped me stay grounded. It reminds me that the journey has barely begun and I have my whole life ahead of me to keep pursuing makeup artistry. I don’t have to be the best or most busy person there is, I just need to keep giving people beauty and confidence.

The best advice I have thus far is to be professional, personable and willing. Be professional in how you interact with other people in the industry, as well as your clients. Professionalism encompasses so many things, and it is the most important part of any career. Be personable with every person you come in contact with. Make it about the other person, not yourself. And be willing to grow, pursue opportunities that are scary, and to learn. There are so many other people who have gone before me in this. Those are the people I want to learn from. Learn from the people who are wiser, and ahead of you in life.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into your business story. Tell us more about the business.
If I had to describe my style, I would say I am best at “elevated, natural” looks. My approach is not changing, but enhance and showcase. I also believe this sets me apart from others and is the thing I am most proud of. I ask my clients questions that help me understand who they are, how they live their lives and I always attempt to find the one aspect of themselves they love. This is what I build and create from. I want whomever I work with to feel confident in one’s own skin. My goal is to always showcase the person. The makeup I apply should simply enhance who one already is. Every person who leaves from my chair should feel like the best version of oneself, if not, I have not done my job well.

Currently, I find myself booking lots of bridal clients. However, I love all aspects of makeup artistry. Lifestyle shoots, personal clients, makeup lessons and studio work are all ways I spend my time. If makeup can be used, then I will gladly say yes.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
I do believe women have so much to offer. I also believe that as we look for opportunities, we will find them as women. I see and know so many women in a variety of settings working hard, leading, and pushing forward in their careers. I don’t believe there to be any one specific way, opportunity or industry that women are better suited for than others. I do believe that changing our mindsets to opportunity is a fantastic starting place. Looking at what is currently in front of us, and going pressing into the challenge and moment in front of you is crucial. Say yes, to that opportunity. Say yes to the thing you might not feel qualified for, and go for it without looking back. The challenges might be there, but they don’t have to hold you back. We can see them and choose to see the challenge(s) as opportunities to change both ourselves and our world around us.

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Image Credit:
Aimee Mazzenga, Matthew Bowie, Louie Arbellera, Edgar Torres, Justin Butzen, Geneva Boyett, Sally O’Donnell

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