Get a Publicist- if your goal is to ascend from artist to brand then you need to hire a publicist who works primarily in beauty and entertainment. You will need a person or company who is committed to getting you exposed to cosmetics companies and or label heads, or the people who are in charge of socials. Buying likes and followers will not help you in the real world. You will only look like an influencer to your friends, but you will not be influential. You need to really be doing the work, and the powers that be need to be able to see that proof. A publicists can get your work in front of people who can get you brand deals or get you opportunities to work with top tier talent.
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Delbridge.
Tamara Delbridge’s work has been featured in major publications like GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and many more. For the past 20 years her work has been featured on both the silver and small screen like NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” and shows ranging from “Seven Seconds” to “Run the World”. Her film work includes “A Journal for Jordan” and “Wonder Woman 1984”. In 2020, she obtained dual licenses to practice esthetics in NY and NJ and subsequently created SkinnTone Beauty and Esthetics with plans to launch in late 2024.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew in the 70’s/80’s in a two-parent household. My father spent many years leading the kitchen at a nursing home while my mother stayed home to raise my brother, sister, and I. Cynthia (my mother) was brilliant and imaginative. She raised me to think outside of the box, to have determination and to also be a well-rounded individual. My mother was unknowingly my very first makeup client. She taught me about color theory and skin care in an unconventional way, she’d send me to the store to purchase her makeup, and if I accidentally bought back the wrong red, she would explain to me why blue reds worked better with her complexion then the pink reds.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
A desire to work in entertainment as a wardrobe stylist is what brought me to the world of makeup for print television and film. I had been working in retail at a popular store in the West Village in NYC as a salesgirl which is where I met and befriended a customer who eventually introduced me to her boss who happened to be the head of the record label she worked for.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One of the most interesting things that happened to me in my career was when I was asked to accompany and do hair and makeup for one of the hosts, Paigion Walker, who was one of the hosts of the most iconic countdown music video shows, 106 and Park to cover Rihanna’s promotional 777 tour. We traveled to 7 countries in 7 days.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’ve been working consistently as a makeup artist in entertainment, on photo shoots for television shows series and on major motion pictures for over 20 years. I’m currently lead artist on a live music news program, lead artist for Blackstone Financial group production division. The options for exciting opportunities are endless as I am a member of IATSE Local 798, the Hair and Makeup Union.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
One of the most interesting people that I have worked with is Denzel Washington. I was the Key Makeup Artist on a film he directed titled A Journal For Jordan. I will always remember sitting in on one of the production meetings with him at the helm. To hear his thoughts processes in real time was like sitting in on a Masterclass. I took away much more from him during that meeting than just scene creation. I learned how to be a master of my own craft through his unexpected tutelage.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
I draw inspiration from my late mother and from the divas of the 70’s and 80’s like Diana Ross and Donna Summer. Their self-confidence, glamour and stage presence, their natural beauty and the ways in which they morphed into beautiful goddesses is what I embody and then transfer to the women who sit in my makeup chair.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have extended many opportunities to up and coming artists to work on shoots and on set, without taking a fee from them. I know how it feels to be new in this industry and how hard it is to break in. Giving a young person that chance to work and earn fair pay in their field is the greatest gift that a person in my position could offer someone.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Get a Publicist- if your goal is to ascend from artist to brand then you need to hire a publicist who works primarily in beauty and entertainment. You will need a person or company who is committed to getting you exposed to cosmetics companies and or label heads, or the people who are in charge of socials. Buying likes and followers will not help you in the real world. You will only look like an influencer to your friends, but you will not be influential. You need to really be doing the work, and the powers that be need to be able to see that proof. A publicists can get your work in front of people who can get you brand deals or get you opportunities to work with top tier talent.
2 . To never dim your light- Always show up as our authentic self, even if it means waking up a few hours early to get your personal look together. Your clients chose you not only for your talent but also because your presence as inspirational.
3 . Don’t accept every job that comes your way — all jobs will not be good for you. Consider the content that you’ll be a part of producing. If it doesn’t resonate with your values, you must walk away from it.
4 . Understand the projects budget — an understanding of how much money is allocated for your skill in any productions budget will help you to negotiate your rate properly
5 . Put your interests above all others — Don’t work for free unless you need something from the project that is more valuable than money. Example, photos or content. If you don’t have quality content of promotional photos, then and only then should you use the barter system. Time is money, oftentimes people will ask you to work for free if they have budgetary restrictions and they’ll turn around and hire the person that they could not afford when their budget opens.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I like to think that I’ve been part of to “get paid to do you love movement”. When I was in my formative years, my guidance counselors and teachers encouraged many of us to find work and not to build careers when we graduated from high school. I created my own lane. The only people who supported my dreams to work as an artist in entertainment were my close family members, doing makeup as a career in the 90’s was unconventional and scoffed at. Today it is one of the most lucrative careers.
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
I would love to sit down with Francois Bettencourt Meyers. She’s granddaughter of the founder of L’Oréal. I’m sure that I would walk away from that meeting with priceless insight on how to successfully run a beauty empire.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram & TikTok @tamaradelbridge_mua
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Tamara Delbridge: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.