By Michelle Maslanka • Producer
Welcome back to our blog series “Industry Insights”, where we interview members of the production world that we have had the opportunity to collaborate with! This week, we are featuring a Chicago-based makeup artist with a passion for the craft. Meet Nini Jenkins!
Nini is a freelance makeup artist in the Chicagoland area, but a native of the Eastern European country of Georgia, a small country located between Russia and Turkey. She grew up in the capital, Tbilisi, and attended the Academy of Art there, majoring in Art History. She credits her love of art as an influencer of her career choice. Nini moved to America twelve years ago, and immediately fell in love with the States. Currently, she lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her wonderful husband and two children. She does freelance makeup for a living, specializing in production work, as well as bridal, fashion and editorial.
MS: How did you get started in the makeup industry?
Several years ago, I was working in the corporate world, and my colleague, Yolanda, was a part-time makeup artist. She was nice enough to share her tips and tricks about makeup. Soon after, I enrolled myself into three months of intensive courses at the Make Up First® School of Makeup Artistry in Chicago. This is how my journey into the world of makeup began. (I would like to mention how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend that school and study under the owner and instructor Jill Glaser. Her mentorship was very influential on me and she continues to show her support).
MS: What is your favorite part about being a makeup artist?
My favorite part about being a makeup artist is when my services make people happy. I love seeing smiles on my clients' faces and it makes me feel complete to see how confident and beautiful they feel at that moment. I am very grateful to be part of such a rewarding experience.
MS: Have you worked with any notable clientele?
I loved being part of the photoshoot for Red Eye Magazine where I was honored to do makeup for WNBA player Elena Delle Done. She is such an amazing athlete and wonderful person.
MS: Going into a production, what type of information is beneficial for the makeup artist to know?
When I get an inquiry from a production company regarding makeup services, it is beneficial to know what type of gig it is. Who is the client, location, half or full day services, and how many talents per day will be needing makeup. Having everything clarified ahead of time makes it easier for everyone to be on the same page and have a successful work day.
MS: What has proven most challenging thus far about your job?
The most challenging part about being a freelance makeup artist is having consistent work. It is a very competitive field. Everyone is trying to get gigs. There are a good amount of jobs, but you have to prove you are the best and that you exceed the client's expectations.
MS: What types of projects do you enjoy working on the most?
My favorite projects are creative editorial photoshoots. I also very much enjoy working on sets for commercials and video shoots.
MS: Who or what inspires your work?
I get inspired by many things. I love art and music. Listening to classical music and opera. Also, a good book can be a source of inspiration. I found inspiration last November when I attended a five-day class in Portland taught by legendary makeup artists such as Reggie Wells, Sandy Linter, Roshar, Stephen Dimmick and many others. Listening and learning from them was absolutely amazing.
MS: What is your advice for someone interested in getting into the makeup industry, especially for production?
If any makeup artists are interested in getting into a production environment, my advice would be always show up early, look and act professional, stand by and be ready to jump in and fix whatever needs to be fixed, and always be on top of your game.
MS: What is your personal mantra?
Treat others how you want to be treated. I think if we all do that, the world will be a much better place.
MS: What are some of your favorite movies?
My favorite movies that I can think of right now would be Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Pianist, and Dogville. My favorite TV show is Black Mirror.
MS: Can you give us a fun fact about yourself?*
I am not very good at talking about myself but I would say that a fun fact about me is that I secretly steal my kids treats without them knowing, and I hate when my dentist puts cotton rolls in my mouth :)
*I dug up another fun fact in talking with Nini: she knows three languages: Georgian, her native language, Russian, and English!
Check out Nini's work with us in this 30-second spot for Darvin Clearance & Outlet Center, just one of the handful of projects her handiwork can be seen!