Earlier this year, February 21st to be exact, I was the participant and 1st place winner of a city wide makeup competition at a small beauty expo for hair and makeup in Chicago. The young women who hosted the expo,did such an amazing job with creating a really great event. An event that brought talented women from all over the city together in one venue to display their talents, and give them a chance to network with one another. There were hair stylists doing hair, there were beauty and apparel vendors, live makeup demonstrations. There was music, photos booths, drinks and the venue was decorated so nicely. Then there was a makeup competition, in which I was going to compete in alongside other girls who were local makeup artists as well. We were going to compete in front of an audience of young women from the city, who could potentially be new clients, if they liked our work. So it was giving us some really good promotion. Overall, it was great thing to have been a part of , and I'm so thankful to have had the experience. However, it wasn't until I ended up winning the competition, that I realized that regardless of the experience I had that night at the expo, I would probably never do another competition again and here's why.
I entered the competition through word of mouth from a friend who knew about the event and that they were hosting a makeup competition for local MUAs to participate in. She suggested that I enter. It would be a great way to get my name out there and to show my talent. It sounded like a good idea, so I agreed to enter and thought nothing else of it. It wasn't until I received an email from the hosts of the competition, saying that I had been chosen to participate, that things kind of got real for me. My first reaction of course was excitement. Then that quickly changed to shock because I'm like, "..they thought I was good enough to participate in their competition?" While of course I do think that I do good work, I never considered it "competition worthy". That's when the feelings of excitement and shock quickly switched to those of doubt and fear. I realized it was a competition with people whom I had never met or even heard of. It was being judged by other makeup artists in Chicago who were really good, and I knew that there was possibility that I could actually lose the competition. I then became nervous and wondered why the hell I was even putting myself through this torture of emotion. I would talk to my boyfriend about the feelings I was having, and of course he would reassure me that I'd be fine because I was "good". But the doubt had completely taken over me and I was not trying to hear what he was talking about. The truth was, I was scared of losing and no reassurance could take that feeling away.
The day of the competition had arrived and I got myself and my model ready to head to the venue. We arrived and as the time of the competition came around I told myself I was going to do my thing and whatever happened, happened. They started the competition and I began working on her face, taking my time, thinking that I had plenty of time to create this flawless face. But, in what seemed like only 5 minutes, I was being told "20 MINUTES LEFT" by one of the judges.
WHETTTT?!!?! So of course I had to rush the rest of the face, and that's one thing I HATE having to do. We all know with anything in life, nothing rushed looks good. I basically just told myself that I would focus on making sure her eyes popped with some color and giving her a cute nude lip and that's all I would have time to do. Surely, just as they stated the competition ended 20 minutes later. There were 3 of us competing and maybe 3 or 4 judges who were all known MUAs in the Chicago area. They made their decisions of who they liked by whispering to one another, and getting all up and close in the faces of our models to examine our work. They then announced that there was a TIE! It was between myself and another young lady who's model was wearing a gorgeous, dark burgundy matte lip. Unfortunately for the 3rd girl, just like that she was eliminated, no explanation or anything for her. It was crazy. It was now up to the audience of girls who had anxiously been watching the competition , to decide who's models makeup they liked most. One hand went over the other models head, and there was applause. I got nervous. Then the hand went over my models head and there was some applause but wait....... it was louder. The audience had clearly made their choice, and there it was, by vote of the audience, I had won the competition. It was all over, and I WAS THE WINNER! All the feelings I had prior to the competition were now null and void and out the window because I had won! The other young lady came over to congratulate me and I accepted the flowers and the MAC gift card from the host. My friends who were there to show their support (Tashi, Laura and Briana and my model Tempestt), all came over to say congrats, take my picture and celebrate my win with me.
However after the moment of the win, being celebrated, being given the prizes, bragging rights, and having this big victory over those other girls, it was a VERY empty moment for me. I realized that I am NOT a competitive person. I honestly didn't like the feeling of competing against those girls and being given all this recognition when I knew that WE ALL had done our best and gone through a lot to put ourselves and our work out there to be critiqued. I didn't like the feeling of being considered the best of something that in my opinion, all 3 of us were equally just as good at. I had been given "bragging rights" but who was I going to brag to? To me winning was only good for that moment and once it was over I had to think to myself, "So now what Kiara?" You won, so now what?" I knew that there was really nothing that winning this competition was going to give me that I didn't already have. I saw the disappointment in the face of the young lady who had been eliminated first, and I went over to make sure I let her know that even though she hadn't won she still did a great job! So did the young lady who I was tied up against. I just knew all to well that feeling of not thinking you're good enough because you're not being celebrated, given a big opportunity or having a winning moment. I knew about doubting yourself and your work because it 's being judged and critiqued by
people who didn't have to put in any work at all. But I had to learn that, that does NOT mean you aren't good at what you do. As long as you're doing what you love and being happy as hell doing it, nothing else matters! I decided to become a makeup artist because I genuinely enjoy making women look and feel their best and creating super cute looks on my clients. I don't do it to compete with anyone or to make other makeup artists feel like their work isn't good compared to mine because that takes the joy out of why I do it. I think every artist has skill and technique that other artists won't have and that's what makes every artist unique. We are all talented in our own right! Often times some clients will say "You do a way better job ...." , and while I do love that some people feel that way about my work, I know that there is always going to be someone who is better and more talented than I am, so it's important to always remain humble. There is room for improvement in all of us. And even though the competition was just friendly and it wasn't a super huge deal, I knew that winning was only a source of validation and I didn't need or want that from anyone. All the feelings and emotion I took myself through over competing weren't even necessary because I genuinely love doing makeup and when you do something with good intention, even if I had lost I would've been OK. The REAL win in my mind is that I have a steady and loyal clientele, and that I am able to do what I love on a regular basis! I believe in staying in my own lane, doing my own thing and trying not to be worried about what anyone else is doing. I know that what is for me will always be for me and what's for someone else will always be for them. Yes, winning the competition was a great experience, but it taught me a great lesson about myself. I don't desire to be validated by a competition, or by anyone for that matter. I'm happy with doing what I love to do. Anyone else who is also doing the same, and is blessed enough to be following their dreams has already won, no competitions needed.
"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." - Arthur Ashe
Until the next post….
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(¸.• ´ (¸.• ´ .• ´ ¸¸. •¨¯` •.*~* Kiara