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Ciara O Toole on making my dream come true

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to complete the full-time makeup artistry course at Portobello Institute but the feedback from our students is always positive and they thoroughly enjoy their year. This week we caught up with one of our recent students Ciara O’Toole to chat about her course and life as a makeup artist. Through hard work and determination Ciara was fortunate to secure a job before she even finished her course in May. Wow!

From the age of thirteen the passion to become a makeup artist started to play on Ciara’s mind and how she could possibly make this her dream job. “I found myself becoming totally obsessed with makeup. I started to consider it as a career when I was sixteen and I completed a 4 week course with a cosmetic brand and I loved it. I was buzzing to go back each week and I knew then that makeup artistry was what I had to do”.

My advice to anybody looking to do a course in makeup artistry is to really research every course before you pick one and see exactly what qualifications you will gain. I chose Portobello Institute after attending an open day.  I also spoke with a past graduate.  One of the main reasons I chose Portobello was because they run ITEC courses which are recognised Internationally in 44 countries.

From day one of the course to now I have grown so much both personally and professionally. I am confident and proud with any makeup applications I do. Throughout the course at Portobello Institute I was given a lot of opportunities from my tutors and from other artists for work experience and jobs meaning I had to completely step outside of my comfort zone - now every opportunity excites me.

My favourite part of the course was most definitely working on glam makeup and bridal makeup. I also loved editorial and photographic makeup. I didn't think going into the course that I would have such a strong interest in bridal makeup but I quickly realised it is such beautiful makeup to create.

Thinking of alternative careers in her teens, Teaching was a second option after makeup and something that has been on her mind throughout her year training at Portobello Institute. With her new-found skills Ciara hopes to move into makeup training further down the line, empowering others with her love and enviable passion for makeup artistry. “I think passion and creativity make a good makeup artist. Makeup is something you really have to be passionate about to be successful and I’d love to tutor and share my skills with others”.

So who does Ciara look to for inspiration. “My main influences are Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick, Jamie Genevieve, Amber Dean, Leah Carmichael and Pat McGrath”. Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick is part of Kat Von D's artistry collective team. Kelseyanna always creates such flawless and breath-taking editorial makeovers. She brings texture, depth, and art to every face in such a striking way.

Jeanette Cronin is an Irish artist that I aspire to, she recently opened up an academy in cork. The reason I love Jeanette's work is because she always creates such flawless full glam makeovers with such incredible detail.

Skip to 9 months later from when Ciara first stepped through the doors at Portobello Institute and her dream of working as a makeup artist has come true. “I was very lucky to get a job on a makeup counter while still in college. In my course I  learned everything about working on a counter and about link selling so I was ready to put it all into practice.”

Working on a makeup counter Ciara gets to experience first-hand what emerging trends are happening in makeup and her top favourite is lip gloss. “Last year it was all about matte but this year it's gloss and I love it. Pink eye-shadow and a bushy brow a close second favourite. My favourite editorial trend is glossy lids.

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