1. Getting to go shopping at Sephora is like reaching heaven at last! While your non MUA friend is clueless about foundation, you find yourself busy testing out all the latest Urban Decay products. The store resembles a fairytale in your mind, but then you get your receipt and reality hits you. Hard.
2. Meeting a really talented photographer makes you exceptionally happy because it’s an opportunity to improve your portfolio. You understand that beauty shoots are either hit or miss, and when photos come out well, you know that you’re in luck.
3. Knowing MAC Cosmetics’ history off the top of your head. Like the fact that it was started in 1984 by two Canadian stylists, Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, who wanted to create a wider range of colors, including matte shades, so their photographs would come out better. When MAC was first established they only had five stores — stores that only permitted professionals. Eventually they opened more stores and the company was bought by Estee Lauder in 1996. The company’s motto is “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes,” and they’re big into raising money for issues like AIDS.
4. Feeling jealous of everyone attending the latest IMATS show. This is the ultimate chance to pass out business cards, watch student competitions, see cool special-effects makeup and — of course — for the discounted products that aren’t even on the market yet!
5. Getting really really REALLY excited when a friend of yours gets engaged because you get to do their makeup on their big day.
6. Watching YouTube’s beauty gurus for hours is way more exciting than a Netflix binge.
7. You’ve loved certain celebrities — Cher, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Beyonce, Ke$ha, Katy Perry — just because of their makeup. These faces are more inspiring than anything else. #Seriously.
8. Secretly wishing that everyone in this world would primp like Effie in The Hunger Games. Seriously though, that kind of look is genius. WHY CAN’T WE ALL LOOK LIKE THAT EVERY DAY???
9. And even if you don’t specialize in special-effects makeup, you still find it awe-inspiring.
10. Opening up an issue of Vogue or ELLE just to look at the makeup.
11. Idolizing each makeup artist with their own makeup brand. You would would love to have your own line that’s as successful as NARS, Bobbi Brown or Kevyn Aucoin.
12. You’re pretty attached to Instagram. But it’s only because you promote yourself this way, as well as use it to follow lots of makeup artists and beauty gurus. Perhaps you even have a soft spot for @anastasiabeverlyhills because that woman totally changed eyebrows for good.
13. Feeling incredibly irritated by the way non-MUA’s put on their makeup. Nothing makes you more upset than seeing creased eyeshadow, unblended under-eye concealer, crappy eyeliner, uneven foundation or weak lipstick.
14. You want to eventually have the coolest logo — one that’s chic, yet memorable. You want your business cards to stand out — to be girly yet edgy.
15. Constantly dreaming about one day getting represented by a talent agency. Yet you also understand that it’s a rare opportunity, so working at a counter for a little while — until you’re discovered — is cool.
16. Having a favorite decade from the twentieth century simply because of the makeup that exemplified it.
17. Your most frequently asked question is, “Did you go to school or are you self-taught?”
18. Feeling merciful when people say, “I love the way you do your makeup! I want to take you home have you do my makeup every day!”
19. Always sharing random beauty tips to people you just met. Sometimes you’ll steer the conversation to tell a 20-something that they must be using an eye cream; nothing makes you feel more powerful than sharing your beauty knowledge with the world.
20. Trying out products by brands that only the industry has heard of. And true MUA’s know that Sigma Beauty, Inglot USA, Royal Langnickel, Temptu, Kenig & Alcone and Sugarpill are the best. Getting your hands on them gives you a sense of validation.
21. Your makeup collection is probably bigger than your wardrobe. This is your kit and it’s way better than your closet. Lip glosses are like shoes, eyeshadow is like jewelry and foundation is like jeans. Your face is similar to an outfit and you need the right supplies to coordinate it.
22. You love getting out of bed because you know that you have a little art project waiting for you right away.
23. Back when What Not To Wear was a thing, you anticipated watching Carmindy beautify everyone at the end of the transformation.
24. You love people-watching, while trying to figure out everyone’s best features. MAC All That Glitters would totally make that gal’s blue eyes pop!
25. You get annoyed at things as inconsequential as bad eyebrows.
26. Your friends and family question you constantly because they don’t think consider your job to be legitimate.
27. Great bone structure or naturally flirtatious eyelashes can be wholly distracting.
28. Having a slight obsession with Kim Kardashian’s genius makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. If anyone’s made contouring what it is today, we all know that it’s this guy.
29. Saving up money each month just so you can buy more makeup. You spend more money on makeup than most people do on alcohol and clothes combined. So you forgo nice dinner plans with your girls just so you can save twenty bucks for another Marc Jacobs eyeliner.
30. Being able to identify colors by name at MAC. None of the artists knew that Satin Taupe is a versatile shade for defining the eyes; you, however, did.
31. Other customers have to sit through a consultation at the makeup counter before they can buy anything. Unless you’re a makeup artist you have no clue that you need to buy Urban Decay Primer Potion.
32. Being completely in your element when working on a face, while knowing that your job is more relaxing than most.
33. Constantly trying to prove to people that makeup is art! You are a painter, and the face is your easel.