Why I became a freelance makeup artist in Erie, PA
Updated: Jan 16
Amanda Rumball, here. This is my first blog post and certainly won’t be my last so buckle up buttercup.
Kidding, but really I’ve found writing to be very therapeutic for me. If you’re reading this, thank you for getting this far. My hopes are similar to the millions of others that blog on the reg; that you find these posts amusing yet educational. Inspiring but also humorous. No better time or place to start than with why I decided to pursue my dream at the bright age of 29 in a town that’s been considered “dying” on several occasions during a global pandemic.
First and foremost, where is Erie, PA? Great question. I usually tell people that it’s that little nook in the top left corner of Pennsylvania. It’s nestled on the smallest of the great lakes in the middle of 3 larger cities; Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo. I call it a little big town because we have mostly everything larger cities do but on a smaller scale. I won’t get too deep but my relationship with my hometown has changed drastically over the years. It’s very possible that it’s just a part of growing up but I came to the realization that where you are doesn’t matter half as much as who you are with.
My inner circle has grown much smaller over the past year largely due to the natural selection of energies that radiate around me. You know those people that just feel like home? That’s my mom, Serene. If you know you know, she has always been a bright light in my life and in the life of many others. Everyone that meets her falls in love. What’s even more great is that she has been passionate about beauty since before I can remember. She began her career with Jafra, moved to Clinique, then to Lancome and ended up as a freelancer herself. It has always been a goal of mine to work with her. Get paid to paint faces and crack jokes on each other all day? Yeah, sign me up. We have had the pleasure of doing large bridal parties together and now we dedicate time each week to create content together. I would have never had these opportunities had I not moved back to Erie from Arizona.
I didn’t just get the beauty genes from my momma but from my dad’s side too. It is legitimately in my blood. My family history is rich with entrepreneurial spirit especially my great-great-great grandmother and her daughter (my great-great aunt) Clare. My great-great-great grandmother was a dermatologist in the late 1800s, whaaat?! She developed a successful cosmetic line with some scary ass ingredients, if I’m being honest, which her daughter Clare later carried in her clothing boutique. My sweet lil grandma preserved all her business materials like her dermatologist certificate, articles, marketing materials, recipes and actual physical products. This information was presented to me after I decided I would actually pursue makeup as a side hustle and I could cry when I think about it. I feel like I am honoring my ancestors and all their hard work each time I pick up a makeup brush.
In fact, my great-great aunt Clare really wanted to keep her business in Erie. Her shop was called “Shop New York with Clare”. She traveled to NYC often to source her products. She had clients from Pennsylvania all the way to Italy. I even have personal letters to Clare from Thelma Chrysler Foy, a well-known socialite and heiress of Chrysler, asking for more of her product and when she would return to New York. She was charging a pretty penny, too. In conclusion, she had the money. She had the clientele. She had the ingenuity but was very adamant about serving the folks of Erie, PA, keeping her mother’s legacy alive. It’s very similar to how I feel today. A huge part of me wants to get out and explore the world as a means of education and opportunity. The other part of me, the bigger portion, wants to pour my heart and soul into a business that is rooted in spreading self-love with its headquarters right here in Erie. Bottom line is I believe in the future of this little big town. I want to give back to the place that made me who I am today.
After obtaining a degree I have yet to use, countless jobs and several moves, I was forced to reflect on who I was or at least who the hell I wanted to be. A loaded question, yes, but simply put I was always the friend that assisted in getting everyone ready. Need your hair curled? I got you. Time to wax your eyebrows? I’m there. An opinion on which outfit you should wear? Let’s go boo, blue is your color. I never really considered makeup as a career until I worked with Clinique back in 2015. I realized I loved getting people dolled up for special occasions and that I had an eagerness to educate myself on new products and new techniques. Through my years in customer service positions, I became someone who could connect with others seamlessly. All traits a great makeup artist needs. All I needed was the belief that I could be successful. It became crystal clear that I could be paid for services I was already offering.
In February 2020, I decided to remove myself from the restaurant industry because I became that crotchety coworker that hisses each time someone asks for a glass of water. Yeah, I know, that’s intense. I honestly couldn’t take the amount of disrespect customer service employees endure. No bish, your appetizer you ordered 30 seconds ago is not ready. See? It makes my blood boil to this day. Tip your servers fat, y'all. All the while, I was applying to a billion jobs each day. I heard crickets. I had no other choice but to start. Start by putting myself out there and actually referring to myself as the bad bish I know I am and was meant to be. I am a freelance makeup artist. I am a business owner. I am an independent beauty consultant. I am a creative, a content creator, a socialite who loves to network. I am approachable. Seriously, the amount of times I’m asked questions in stores that I do not work in that only an employee would know is insane. I don’t know where the bagels are man, but check aisle 3! Most importantly, I am a lover of looking good. Beauty is way more than skin deep, yes, but I want the outside to reflect the inside. I am dedicated to helping others feel the same way. While this year has been trying for us all, I made the best decision of my life. I have never felt more aligned with myself than I do today. My work is all I think about, well besides food. It’s the reason I get out of bed every damn day. Ugh so cringey, but true!
I always effed up the conclusion in English class, but I’m going to give it my best. Sorry, Mrs. Trocki. Here are the key takeaways. My decision to listen to myself and follow my dream as a freelance makeup artist was validated even further despite the additional challenges business owners faced this year. It also validated my decision to return to Erie. There are good people here who want to contribute to a genuine, collaborative community. The final message from your new go-to glam expert has been my life motto for quite some time, better late than never baby. YOLO. Live, laugh, love. (That one is for you Ern) It always seems impossible until it’s done. (That is legitimately tatted on my left foot via spring break 2011) Write the book. Book the trip. Move back in with your parents and start your career as a makeup artist in your hometown that has very little opportunity. You won’t regret it! When you're ready to get glam, my makeup chair is always open. Hope to see you soon.