Makeup artist changed law to help artists find work

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s entertainment industries are always growing — from movies to magazines to runway shows.

Makeup brushes. (KOIN) 

One makeup artist even changed Oregon law to make it cheaper and easier for hair and makeup artists to find work and succeed. 

Celena Rubin got her first makeup kit for her 9th birthday and as a theater kid through college, she was always fascinated with the makeup. 

She became a makeup artist in Los Angeles for years, freelancing for celebrities and working for ABC News for years. In 2011, she and her family moved to Oregon.

“I moved up here from LA thinking I could work as a makeup artist and our family depended on it and I had a dream of opening a makeup school and I couldn’t do it,” Rubin said. “It was illegal for me to work.”

Celena Rubin puts makeup on a woman at Art of Makeup. (KOIN) 

State law required hair and makeup artists, who were getting paid, to get extensive training to earn a license. 

“You’re forced to go to an aesthetics school to learn skills you’re not going to use and you don’t learn the skills you do use,” she said. 

She said those classes taught how to do waxing, facials and touch-ups but not much about makeup. 

“If you want to work in film, you’re not going to learn anything you need to know,” she said. 

The requirements could take six months, cost up to $20,000 and were a burden for specialized artists working on TV or movie sets, runway shows or bridal shoots, rather than in a salon.

“If somebody complained to health and licensing about them then they could have their career taken away from them,” Rubin said. “They could be fined, they could pay a fee or go to aesthetics school and getting their license and I was like oh, ‘I can do something about this.'”

In 2013, Rubin took her concerns to Salem and teamed up with lawmakers to create an exemption to the law allowing artists to keep working without a cosmetology license.

Celena Rubin: I fought the law … and I won! 

“I went there on a whim just thinking I’ll try this out and three months later it was passed,” she said. “After years and years of Oregon having this rule.”

In 2017, Rubin opened her makeup school in Lake Oswego. At The Art of Makeup she focuses on special effects and passing on her lifelong passion to anyone who wants to learn.

More about The Art of Makeup school 

“If you just go after whatever you want, you visualize it and you hold steady to it and don’t doubt yourself, you can do it,” she said. 

Rubin’s school is for anyone looking to have fun or start a new career. There are summer camps and workshops with special guests.

KOIN 6 News anchor Jennifer Hoff’s series, Women Crush Wednesday, highlights women who are crushing it. Who do you know breaking the glass ceilings, inspiring others, doing good?  Send a message to Jennifer Hoff.

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