I was doing makeup and hair for a shoot for Sea Ray boats in the Florida Keys and encountered one of the craziest experiences I have had with a makeup assistant, to date.
It’s often hard to find reliable makeup assistants in this industry. Most either don’t want to put in the work to learn or are simply in it for what they perceive to be the “glitz and glam” of what I do. For this reason, I am always hesitant to bring new people into the mix.
Unfortunately, I had to book an assistant at the last minute. The marketing people realized that I couldn’t be on two boats at the same time and requested that I book an assistant for touch ups. It was literally less than a week to go and the budget wasn’t that high for the assistant, so it was probably going to be someone who just really wanted a free vacation to the Keys. Since it was just touch ups that were needed, I decided to ask my personal trainer if she would assist me on this gig. We had known each other for a while, she loved makeup, ran her own business (seemingly professional) and could go at this short of a notice. We got along well and since we had to travel 6 hours in a car together and share a hotel room, that was important. In this business, it’s not always about skill necessarily, but also being able to work well with others. Trust is huge.
We were up super early the first day in Marathon Key. Call time was in the darkness, in hopes that we would catch the golden hour of sunrise in the shots. I started makeup and hair pretty early and got the talent ready in time to board the boat. We each got on our respective boats and I had put together a spare separate fully stocked kit for touch ups since she didn’t have her own.
Come to find out, this was a pretty extensive shoot, as it was not just photo stills, they were also recording video from a helicopter from above. The talent was actually going to be driving the yacht at various times during the day.
Unfortunately when the talent started to drive the boat, we were all told to go below deck to hide out of the line of sight. This was the worst place to be on the boat, especially when the talent was crashing the boat into the wake created by the helicopter above. I started to feel a little queasy. When we were finally cleared to come back above, I started to get that watery mouth that is usually followed by vomit. I quickly swallowed the bile down, trying to avoid throwing up, but like a scene from “Bridesmaids”, I went running for the back of the boat. I knew I wasn’t going make it, so I grabbed a towel and proceeded to vomit into the towel. The Marketing Director saw me and she instantly had to vomit as well.
Things started to go downhill, when she started trying to “order” me around, like she was my superior. I quickly put her in her place and in front of the crew. I won’t embarrass anyone, but I won’t take that kind of behavior either. I started to get the feeling that we were going to have issues. After the first day wrapped, we went to have dinner with my boyfriend at the time’s parents. She was trying to rush me at dinner because she had heard that the crew was trying to get together for happy hour and she was trying to meet them. I told her that we were not to fraternize with the crew in that manner. She looked very disappointed, especially when I told her that I also had to do laundry to get rid of the smell of vomit from my clothing that day. I would need the apron for the following day.
Day two wrapped and the crew were eating dinner together in the conference room at the hotel. One of the ladies came to our table and asked my assistant if she had gotten a chance to “smoke” with one of the guys on the crew. I was horrified when I realized they were talking about marijuana and not cigarettes. I’m not conservative by any means, but we are at work and this is a client. I turned to her, clearly upset by what had just happened. I asked her what world she lived in where she thought it was okay to smoke marijuana at the job. She just looked at me with attitude and rolled her eyes. Steam came from my ears and I was pissed. She walked to the bar and I followed her. At this point, I realized I was going to have to babysit her to make sure she didn’t do anything else to embarrass me or potentially cost me this client going forward.
She sat next to one of the younger guys on the crew and immediately began chatting it up with him. She was flirting, even though her boyfriend was at her house back home, watching her child. The tv was on and one of the ladies on the television had a horrendous makeup job and I made a comment as to how bad it was. The guy agreed and asked how I would fix that. She cut me off as I was going to answer and started speaking as if she was the foremost expert on makeup in her reply. I was shocked. I started texting my best friend back home, who was a wardrobe stylist and also in the industry, about what was going on. She could sense the trouble brewing as well. He then when on to ask how we booked the gig with Sea Ray and, she cut me off again and proceeded to say that we were booked through “our agency ” and kept talking about what we did. I sat there incredulous. When did she suddenly get signed by an agency? So I clarified and told him that my agency had booked me, realized that I couldn’t be on both boats simultaneously and asked if I could bring an assistant. I had to put her in her place again. It was then that I realized how truly crazy she was. Eventually he stepped away and I let her have it. I asked her when she suddenly felt it was appropriate to smoke weed with the crew. When she thought it was okay to continually talk over me. When she suddenly got signed with an agency. She turned to me and in all seriousness, stated that we did the same job this weekend. I looked at her and asked if she thought she was now a professional makeup artist. She replied that she had done the same job I had done this weekend. I asked her how she felt that was the case, as she didn’t even have her own makeup kit. She just stared at me with attitude and a look that screamed that I was being ridiculous.
I was floored. That’s when she turned ghetto. I started to walk to the car and she followed me talking a bunch of crap. She started to charge at me and only backed off when two of the marketing guys walked up on us. They told me what a great job that I did that weekend and I made a pointed effort to hug both of them and tell them that I loved working the Sea Ray crew, for her benefit, as well.
I went back to my room to pack my things, so I could stay with my boyfriend’s parents and let her have the hotel room. Once I got everything in my car, I walked to the back dock where the crew were hanging out. She was there, trying to schmooze it up with the crew. I quietly pulled the marketing woman in charge aside and apologized to her for my assistant’s behavior. That I had been made aware of her unprofessional behavior and that neither my agency or I condoned that type of behavior.
On my long drive home, I had to call my agent and let her know what happened. They were extremely understanding and agreed that I had handled it appropriately. From then on, every assistant going forward, signed a contract with a non-compete and a morals and ethics clause.
“Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy.” Capt Jack Sparrow so aptly put it.
And so yet another episode finished in the life of The Traveling Makeup Artist. I couldn’t make this stuff up, even if I tried.