When models hit the runway during New York Fashion Week from Sept. 7 to 14, some of them had New Albany resident Emily Blum to thank for their makeup.
Blum, 19, is serving as a makeup assistant to makeup artist James Vincent, whose work includes makeup artistry for film, theatre, television, editorial, runway and celebrity work.
Although she received her first makeup kit as a 5-year-old, Blum said, her passion for makeup began in middle school, when she turned to the practice as a creative and emotional outlet during a period in which she was bullied.
"It tuned out everything, and I just focused on myself for 30 minutes every day," Blum said.
She realized then she had found her calling.
"I just felt like that was what I wanted to do, and I wanted to make other people feel beautiful and to boost their self-esteem," she said.
Two weeks after graduating from New Albany High School in 2016, Blum traveled to New York to attend the Make Up For Ever Academy. She studied makeup application for fashion shows, editorials, prosthetics and special effects, she said.
She graduated in June after a six-month education. During her time there, she formed a professional relationship with Vincent, who visited the academy as a speaker.
While preparing a client or herself could take up to an hour, Blum said, she had to work more quickly during fashion week, spending 15 to 20 minutes on each model. The streamlined process required self-discipline and the ability to work well under pressure, she said.
"It's a very intense atmosphere," she said.
While Blum has traveled to New York to expand her skills, occasionally she still hones her talents at home.
Blum's father, Robert Blum, said his daughter practices her special-effects makeup skills on him.
"It's a lot of fun," he said.
His daughter's bullying was torturous for him to watch as a parent, but the experience ultimately led to her finding her creative outlet, Blum said.
"This is just another facet of her personality that she expresses," he said.
Blum said she wants to build a clientele in Columbus and hopefully supplement her income by working on fashion shows and music videos while visiting bigger cities.
Although makeup is an art, Blum said, the practice is not about perfection but rather about creating concepts and emotions.
"You can create some kind of story with each look," she said.