A couple of months ago, I was introduced to Jessica Belknap at the 1 year anniversary party for the Portland Wedding Lounge. I learned that we have a shared philosophy of environmental consciousness. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to get to know Jessica as well as learn about the service she provides for clients. After a few email exchanges, we scheduled a coffee date. I had a blast meeting with her. She is kind, down-to-earth and easy to talk to. I enjoyed listening to her telling me her story. Jessica is a very talented makeup artist. I was impressed with her professionalism, her wealth of experience and training and her mission for her clients. This blog feature will give you a glimpse into Jessica and her services. I would highly encourage you to check out her website for more detailed information about her philosphy, gallery and services. Drum roll please…WedPortland is excited to highlight Jessica Belknap!
Describe the service you provide and why you love what you do.
I am a freelance makeup artist who specializes in “green”, beauty makeup for HD video, print/editorial work, and weddings. What defines “green” makeup? In order for a product to be considered for my “green” makeup kit it must fit some combination of these requirements: all-natural, non-toxic, vegan, and/or organic.
I love my job for three reasons: 1) I am my own boss. I do not work for, or represent, any one cosmetics line, so I am able to use products from multiple lines, and only the best products from each line, while still using products that are safe for myself, my clients and the planet. 2) I never have two days in a row that are alike. One day I may be doing makeup for a television commercial and a photo shoot, and the next day I may be somewhere like the Oregon Coast, or Mt. Hood, doing makeup for a wedding party. Each day in my career brings a new challenge and new adventure. 3) I meet intelligent, interesting, and inspiring people every single day, and I am fortunate enough to have one-on-one time to talk with them. When a client sits on my chair (they can be there anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours) I am given an opportunity to meet someone new, and learn about them. I consider every person who sits in my chair to be a friend and a teacher.
Briefly share your industry experience.
I have done theater makeup for nearly ten years and have been a full-time, freelance makeup artist for four years. I started as a freelance artist after graduating from collage and after two years of assisting, and studying under some of the Northwest’s leading artists. I have had the privilege to work under, and have been trained by Green Beauty Team founder, (and my green beauty guru) Kristen Arnett (NY, NY), in fashion, beauty and editorial makeup.
Share your favorite client moment.
It is difficult to pick just one, but here is one that comes to mind:
Immediately after the ceremony of a high end wedding, on a family ranch, in Southern Oregon, I was approached by the groom of the bride, who’s makeup I had just completed before the ceremony. He was a tall, professional baseball player, with a huge smile and misty remnants of tears clinging to his lashes, left over from the ceremony. He approached me and asked if I was the makeup artist who had done his wife’s makeup. I said, “yes”. He then reached out and gave me a big bear hug and said, “thank you for making (bride’s name) look like the best version of herself, and for making her feel as beautiful as I know she is”.
I will never forget that moment.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Oooo… Tough one. If I have to choose one, It would probably be the ability to fly.
What is your favorite book/movie/tv show?
Book: Harry Potter Series or Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Movie: I have a lot, to name a few (I can’t just pick one!): The Devil Wears Prada, Almost Famous, 500 days of Summer, & Julie and Julia
TV Show: The Big Bang Theory or Friends
What do you do for fun?
Cooking and baking for friends and family and taking ballet or Pilates classes. I also love spending time with my pets. We have a dog, Mia, and a cat, Charlotte.
If you won a million dollars, how would you spend it?
My husband, Jesse, and I would buy small, nice house with a large yard (for an organic garden and room to build a makeup studio). I would also buy a new, fully electric car, and pay off Jesse’s student loans. If anything were left over, we may take a vacation to Europe or put it into savings (depending on how responsible we are feeling that week)
What brought you to the Portland area?
I grew up in Tualatin. My Dad’s family actually came to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. We have been here a long time. There is actually a street in Eastern Oregon named Belknap Street, after an ancestor of mine.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I have been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old. Is that interesting? Also, I can’t wink.
What is your favorite piece of clothing? Why?
Oooo… I go through phases. Right now, I would have to say my Banana Republic blue and white jersey wrap dress. It is ridiculously flattering. Every time I wear it people ask me if I have lost weight. Haha! So, that is nice! I do love cardigans though. Ask anyone who sees me on a regular basis and I bet they would agree, I am probably wearing a cardigan 80% of the time when the weather is below 80.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Oprah. She is an intelligent,strong women, a excellent business woman, a great teacher, and a humanitarian.
Favorite local restaurant and/or happy hour.
Eleni’s Estiatorio in Sellwood, Oregon. Simply delicious. You must go. It is perfect for special occasions, date nights, or Happy hour. Once you go here you won’t want to eat anywhere else. They are only open for dinner though.
Best way for potential clients to contact you or view your work.
My website: www.jessicabelknap.com or my professional FB page: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.belknap.makeup.artist
Anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?
I am a Green makeup artist. This means that I primarily use products that fit all or one of these categories: all-natural, organic, vegan, and non-toxic. I also offer green makeup education and personal shopping/training as well as my artistry services.
I do still have a kit of “traditional” name-brand makeup, and do use it for certain projects, but more and more, the demand for safe cosmetics is pressuring companies to create high-quality products, that perform just as well as the brands professional artists have used for years. I do not use “green” products that do not perform as well, or better, than the standard industry products. Over the past few years, this search for photo-quality, all-natural makeup has become easier. The demand for safe cosmetics in the fashion and wedding industry has given rise to many wonderful new professional-quality, safe, all-natural makeup lines that are outperforming their traditional department store counterparts, while still being conscientious of the impact they have on our clients and the environment.