Plainfield Makeup Artist Makes Good; Business Caters to Celebrities, Brides-to-Be
Paula Heckenast quit her job to commit to her business, City Lights Makeup, full time.
Six years later, what started as a side business is now her full-time job, and she’s become a sought-after makeup artist for celebrities and brides-to-be alike.
“I do on-location makeup for just about everything,” said Heckenast. “I would say weddings are a huge part of my business, but we [also] service socialites and celebrities.”
Heckenast’s portfolio includes celebrities Vivica A. Fox, Stan Lee, Laura Vandevoort and Stedman Graham.
Heckenast stumbled into the business partly by accident when the sister of her then-boyfriend asked her for a ride to a makeup school orientation.
“I decided to sign up too,” the 26-year-old said. “I had always loved doing makeup.”
Heckenast, who lives in Plainfield with her 6-year-old daughter, soon found she’d discovered her calling.
In 2012, she quit her job to pursue her business full time. Since then, Heckenast has been named Bride’s Choice for 2013 by Wedding Wire and dubbed one of the top 5 makeup artists in Chicago by Refinery 29 style website.
She’s also partnered with hair stylist Kate Whelan to offer full-service hair and makeup, and worked on photo shoots for Smashbox Cosmetics, Loreal Professionnel and Cover Girl.
But Heckenast said her job is not as glamorous as it sounds.
“It’s a lot of hours in front of the computer,” said Heckenast, who explained it takes hard work and patience to build up a portfolio. “You have to do a lot of free things to get your name out there,” she added.
Heckenast said she’s willing to travel to wherever she’s needed, from photo shoots to wedding venues.
“The celebrity thing is more of a status thing, but the weddings are more spiritually rewarding because you’re making people feel good about themselves,” she said. “I just love to wow people … and when people love the way they look.”
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