We spoke to Jenny Gray, a make-up artist who teaches Aberdeen Academy of Beauty Therapy masterclasses, about how the pandemic has affected her beauty training program.
What’s your role in the Aberdeen Academy of Beauty Therapy?
Jenny: I’m a resident tutor for makeup. From learning to do your own makeup to becoming a professional.
How long have you been in the industry for?
Jenny: just over 4 years starting off part time
When did you discover your passion for beauty?
Jenny: Ironically, I was actually wanting to do beauty when I left school, but I was so unsure and ended up in oil and gas for 10 years. I have always been passionate about makeup and friends would often tell me “You need to it! You need to just go for it!” but by that time I was in full-time employment so to start a whole new career again felt really daunting. It wasn’t until years down the line that I was sitting in my office job, watching the clock and I thought ‘Is this it? Is this all I’m ever going to be doing?’. I decided I would only regret it if I didn’t try and started working at the weekends and quite quickly started working in the wedding industry and now owning my own salon and teaching others.
How has beauty training been affected by lockdown?
Jenny: It’s majorly affected it; we can’t provide the face to face tutoring like we had planned. We were just launching our new professional MUA course, which was meant to be October 2020 but with continued restrictions it obviously pressed the pause button and made us rethink how we can still offer training to our students. Now we are offering courses online and, it is working quite well. In a way it opens the beauty industry to those who felt they could never do it before as with it being online it is a lot more flexible.
Our courses are pre-recorded so people can watch at their leisure, which I think is such a great offering as it means that people are able to dip in and out, rewind or refresh their memory- especially if they are busy with work or children or other commitments.
Do you think the training process will return to normal after lockdown or do you think the pandemic has changed the industry forever in some ways.
I think in some ways it probably has changed it to some extent. For example, I can’t see us working without the enhanced PPE we are working with currently, but I don’t see this as a bad thing as a lot of beauty treatments require close contact. I think it’ll be a long time until salons and training return to “pre covid normal” but I really hope it does return as close to normal as it can soon. Personally, I miss the excitement and relaxation of going to your hairdressers, beautician or makeup artist or them coming to you. It should feel like a luxury, a teat, “you time”.
And weddings!! Being a Bridal Makeup Artist, being in that environment and atmosphere on the morning of the wedding- everyone’s so excited and happy, it is such a privilege to be a part of that. It is really missed, but I’m keeping positive that we will get back to that normality soon.
How do services like BeautyBooker help training providers during the pandemic?
They help immensely because BeautyBooker might be tapping into audiences that we might not necessarily have. It covers a wide range of ages as well, from young people just out of school through to people almost retirement age who are wanting to switch up their career. For Jenny Gray Studios, I might be marketing to only one age group or location whereas BeautyBooker is covering all ages and all areas. And the booking side of BeautyBooker is a huge help too. Managing that by yourself is quite difficult but services like BeautyBooker give you support and it’s nice to know that someone else is taking care of that side of things for you.. So thank you Beauty Booker. ❤️
Jenny was a joy to speak to and had a lot of valuable things to say. It’s great to hear that beauty training is an option for anyone considering it. You can book her AABT masterclasses on the BeautyBooker training website.
Written by: Kirstin Brown
Instagram: Thrifty Mango