Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Steele.
Melanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I lucked into an apprenticeship at Santa Fe opera my final year of college by way of an accidental meeting. I met people there that continued to hire me and teach me the things that I needed to know. They also gave me my first opportunities to design Opera’s, theater, television, film, and private clients.
I have been fortunate enough to work all over the United States as well as in other countries. My home base was Austin, Texas for almost 15 years, although I traveled to do many of my jobs as well as working in Austin. For a year, I traveled with the tour of the Lion King.
I moved to Atlanta in 2014 to be with my now-husband. People here were nice enough to give me an opportunity to work at many companies as well as in film and television. I feel lucky to have worked in most of the major venues here in this city and I work regularly as the department head for Wigs and makeup At the fabulous Fox Theater.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I feel like I have been extremely lucky. I definitely have not gotten into this career by the way that most other people have. I have usually managed to do things on my own terms in my own time. Fortunately, there have always been wonderful people willing to help me on my journey. The road hasn’t always been smooth. But when you’re trying to do something that you love and you’re passionate about it it doesn’t always go smoothly.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I own my own stock of Wigs. I think that frequently sets me apart from others. I also do both makeup and wigs and feel equally strong in both. That’s unusual in that a lot of people tend to specialize in one or the other. I guess the thing I’ve done the most of it in my life is designing for Opera companies. I love it so much because you get to come together with a different group of people each time and create something completely new. Every time is like a family reunion. There are always people that you have had fabulous experiences with previously and become friends with.
I have also done a lot of musical theater. I worked for many years as a local doing Wigs and sometimes make up in Austin, Texas and then was able to start here at the Fox just prior to making my official move. Now I am the department head there which gives me a wonderful opportunity to give a hand up And maybe a little mentorship to others in the wig and makeup field.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was extremely outgoing. I wasn’t always the best student unless it was art-related or People related. I feel like those qualities lend well to what I do now. I did get in trouble for talking a lot in class. I really was always more interested in people than the lesson at hand. I also was known to be doing someone’s hair or makeup either in the bathroom or sometimes right there in class. In high school one time, I was fixing my own makeup in class. I remember my teacher stopped mid-lesson and said, “Melanie it’s not like you’re going to be making a living putting make up on someday you need to pay attention“. I guess she was wrong about that. My grandmother was a makeup artist working for Estee Lauder as I was growing up. Some of my first memories are of going to visit her at work and seeing all of the beautiful colors and the elegant women working there in the make up department. I was very close to my grandmother and I feel as though she would be extremely proud of the career that I have now.
- Email: Makeupmel1@aol.com
- Facebook: Steele beauty