We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always worked best when left to my own devices- working independently and self-directed. I made the first jump to working for myself in 1998. It was scary, leaving the secure paycheck offered with a 9-5 job but I believed in the business I’d started and was also invigorated at the idea of taking such a risk. At that time I was a single mom of a small child so the stakes were very high. But ultimately, what I told myself was “if for some reason this doesn’t work, you can always go get another job.” When thinking of it that way, the fear dissipated. I knew that, no matter what, everything would be ok.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I first got into media makeup artistry in 2010 at the suggestion of my boyfriend at the time who was a Director in the industry. I did have a degree from The Savannah College of Art & Design but in an unrelated field…however, many of the core courses I took at SCAD (Color Theory, etc.) were applicable to this new career path. Becoming an established media makeup artist was far from easy. It took about 5-6 years of struggle before exiting the roller coaster of inconsistency. It was worth it in the end but there were certainly times where I felt exhausted from scraping by month to month and taking odd jobs on the side just to cover basic bills. One thing that struggle taught me is a deep appreciation for where things stand today. I’ve been very fortunate to work on more episodes of television than I can count, tons of commercials, lots of videos (corporate, documentaries, music videos), feature films, print campaigns, and have enjoyed such a wide variety of personalities in my chair…ranging from President Jimmy Carter to Vanilla Ice to the main cast of The Walking Dead to Jeff Gordon, T-Pain, and on and on. It’s been a fascinating ride. One thing I’d want people to know that I’ve learned along the way is that you are all beautiful. I’ve worked with hundreds of faces from every walk of life and there is something beautiful about all of them. Every single one. Probably what I enjoy most about this line of work is being able to pinpoint and highlight each person’s most beautiful features, which sometimes results in a quite a transformation from how the person walks in. And this is not specific to women. Men as well can benefit from strategically applied makeup to neutralize areas of discoloration or any other number of things…which can all be accomplished without looking like there are cosmetics at play.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Near my house, we’d visit Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary and Southern Belle Farm. In Atlanta, we’d walk the beltline and visit hot spots like Ponce City Market, Atlantic Station, OFW, the Aquarium, Stone Mountain and local German restaurant, The Village Corner. Also the High Museum and the Center for Puppetry Arts. In the evening, Happy Karoake or Whole World Improv Theater or perhaps catch a Cirque du Soleil show if one is in town. In the summertime, an evening laser light show at Stone Mountain would also be ideal. Many more ideas come to mind but those are just a few possibilities.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Probably from day 1, my mom was the biggest cheerleader for success. She believed I could do anything and that I was the smartest girl in the world. She encouraged creativity and discovery, she showed by example that going against the grain is perfectly ok when you know you’re doing the right thing (or what’s right for you), and she was 100% bold with taking educated risks. She was very artistically talented and could nail anything she tried…but was very humble at the same time about her many gifts. When I first broke away from the corporate world and started my own internet business full-time at the age of 24, some family members were afraid that I would fail and thought I was foolish to take such a risk. However, mom was 100% excited about it and 100% encouraging. She did not already need me to be successful at it in order to believe in it and support the endeavor. That meant the world to me then and has always carried with me. I went on to be very successful in that business and attribute much of it to her encouragement and support from day 1. Mom passed away in 2003 but her courage, strength, adventurous spirit, and zest for learning and defying limits very much lives on and inspires daily.
1. Aiva Genys- AGPicture.com 2. Jenna Leigh Studios 3. Tanya Aloisio 4. Aaron Bowdoin- 45 Studios 5. Tom Sanders Photography 6. Aaron Bowdoin- 45 Studios 7. Antwan Flowers- 45 Studios 8. Aaron Bowdoin- 45 Studios