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Nila Haran is a self-taught International Make-up/Hair Artist who founded Beauty by Nila Cosmetics. Specializing in Indian, South-Indian, and Sri Lankan bridal make-up, she was ranked #1 in Toronto at the Wedding Industry Expert Awards.
Since the young age of 16, Nila enjoyed experimenting with make-up. However, having grown up in a fairly traditional family, she never saw it as a viable career option. Hence she completed her bachelor’s degree in cognitive science and did her post-graduate specialization in autism & behaviour science. To her surprise, she received great encouragement from her family and friends to pursue her hobby as a make-up artist. With this encouragement she launched her brand as “Beauty by Nila” in her second year of undergrad.
Becoming a full time make-up artist was nowhere near her radar at the time. Her pivotal moment came when she began to pile up with so many make-up inquiries that it became difficult to juggle her day time work with her passion for cosmetology. It was at this point that she fully dove into her business. “It definitely wasn’t easy,” she says. Being a self-taught artist, Nila had minimal mentorship, essentially being on her own. With trial and error she created her own shades while also facing the challenge of finding products with tones that suited deeper complexions creating that “no-make-up” look.
“My parents and husband were incredibly supportive, but I did face a lot of criticism when I decided to go full time with makeup artistry. I had extended family tell me that I was wasting my education, and that there was no security in working for myself, etc. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I knew where my heart was and I would rather say I tried and failed, rather than not try at all.”- Nila Haran
Nila says, “Being a makeup artist, every day is different”, which is one of her favourite parts of her job. On Mondays and Thursdays, she does admin work; dealing with inquiries and contracts. On Tuesdays, she conducts all her meetings and trials. On Wednesdays, she spends her time getting sarees pleated and brushes washed. On this day she also gets a bit of time to herself, so she reads and binge watches her favourite shows. Then on Thursdays, alongside further admin work, she gets her make-up kits ready for the weekend. Friday to Sunday during wedding season, she’s usually at the bride’s house at 3:45 am. Throughout these days, she also balances her studio appointments in between her bridal client needs as she travels back and forth. On these days, her day ends between 6pm and 11pm.
When asked what motivates her, Nila says “Seeing the smile on someone’s face at the end of a makeover when they confidently look in the mirror, and see the beauty from within shine just as bright outside.” She loves knowing that she’s making a difference in the way beauty is perceived and being able to meet so many incredible people, always in their most happiest points in their lives. That happiness and energy is contagious, she says.
“To this day I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am an entrepreneur. To me, I do what I love, and give it 100% and get paid for it – and that’s that. The best advice I can give to those aspiring to be a make-up artist or any artist, is to practice your craft – no amount of reading or watching videos is going to give you the experience of actually doing the work. And don’t put yourself out there as a professional until you have enough experience to call yourself that. The saddest thing these days, that I see and hear from clients is about up and coming artists who put themselves out there as professionals whose work is yet to reflect the obvious talent they have. Let yourself learn, and let people know that you are still learning – so your mistakes won’t effect the future you’re aiming towards.”- Nila Haran
At the moment, Nila is working on lipsticks, glosses, and highlighters in her cosmetics line that she launched this past Spring. She is planning to expand her line to eye shadows, foundations and other products catered towards the rainbow of complexions of the South Asian/Sri Lankan community. To see more of her work as well as her beauty line, you can visit her website at http://www.beautybynila.com.
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Co-Executive Editors: Stefi Anthonipillai & Narmitha Kanagaratnam