Graduate Success Story - Makeup Artist Jessica Thomas

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Online Makeup Academy graduate and Certified Makeup Artist Jessica Thomas is taking the steps to create her dream career; but not without working hard to establish her portfolio, education, and even building her own personal makeup brand (Bombshell Beauty)! We had the honor to meet Jessica during a visit to NYC at Nina Mua Makeup Academy (our physical NYC school), we sat down for an interview and photoshoot - where she created one of her signature makeup looks! Read below for her video + written interview, behind the scenes during our photoshoot, and the final stunning editorial beauty images!

Jessica is a true OMA Success Story; her hard work, talent, and dedication shows through in everything that she does - from studying to receiving her Physics + Electrical Engineering degree (a double major!), to following her artistic dreams and delving into professional Makeup Artistry; working at MAC Cosmetics, and creating her own makeup brand - Jessica shares with us her educational and career journey, her career milestones, and words of wisdom to inspire your own creative dreams and career success!

Online Makeup Academy: How did you find and pursue your network of creatives to collaborate with?

Jessica Thomas: I started reaching out to people within my personal network first and then branched out to using social media to find like minded creatives. From there, I would introduce myself, my brand and inquire about creative collaboration for the future. Eventually, I was able to get my name out there and be invited to participate in Ohio Fashion Week and featured as a key artist in Haute Ohio Magazine.

Online Makeup Academy: How has creating editorial beauty images changed your outlook on makeup artistry (how do you bring this inspiration to your freelance clients, etc)?

Jessica Thomas: I believe that creating editorial beauty images has taught me there is no true definition of beauty and there are no rules to makeup application. With every job, I try to push myself to take looks to the next level and continue to elevate to not only create beauty editorials but art. Just recently, I did an entire makeup look with sugar and it has been one of the most creative, fun, and interesting shoots to date.

Online Makeup Academy: How do you suggest reaching out for collaboration for other artists?

Jessica Thomas: I think stepping out of your comfort zone is key. For myself, I had to get comfortable with talking about my brand in conversation and handing out business cards as well as reaching out to  creatives I was interested in working with. Another suggestion is to also invest in your craft and yourself. I have scheduled photo shoots with photographers just to get my foot in the door and build that initial relationship for future collaboration.

Online Makeup Academy: What has your experience been launching your own cosmetics company along with being a makeup artist?

Jessica Thomas: Currently, I am still in school so I have not been able to release as many collections yet but with the collections currently on my website, I have quite a few recurring customers.  After graduation, I plan to take my cosmetic line to the next level and combine both my love for physics/ engineering with makeup artistry and create products like no other.

Online Makeup Academy: How did you begin working with MAC as a makeup artist?

Jessica Thomas: After taking the course and freelancing for a while, I decided to apply to be a MAC freelance artist in the Cleveland area. I think for myself I was very fortunate to have a great connection with my managers from the moment we met as well as having the talent that MAC requires. To anyone looking to become a MAC artist, I would suggest being your true authentic self and wear all black during the interview process!

Online Makeup Academy: What were you doing before deciding to pursue your Makeup Artistry career / education through OMA?

Jessica Thomas: Before deciding to pursue education through OMA, I was practicing on my friends, family and anyone who would let me practice on their face using different products.

Online Makeup Academy: What inspired you to break into the beauty industry?

Jessica Thomas: Ever since I could remember, I was interested in makeup. In high school, I started to wear makeup and build up my own personal makeup collection. From there, I fell in love with the process of putting on makeup and the freedom to create any look or style. As I started working on other faces besides my own, I realized that through makeup I could do so much more than create a beauty look; I had the ability to also inspire, encourage and uplift others.

Online Makeup Academy: How did you decide to pursue professional Makeup Artistry / how did you discover OMA?

Jessica Thomas: I decided to pursue professional makeup artistry because I found a genuine passion in it as well as uplifting others through my artistry. To ensure I could be the best artist I could be, I searched for a makeup course that would be able to teach me about the different aspects of the beauty industry and proper technique/etiquette for makeup artists. Luckily I found OMA while scrolling on social media and I immediately enrolled as OMA was one of the few courses that had excellent quality and flexibility.

Online Makeup Academy: How did OMA stand apart for you?

Jessica Thomas: I was very attracted to OMA because of the quality of education the course offers. I was amazed at the range of topics/lessons covering the fundamentals such as makeup artist etiquette to classic looks such as red lip and wing liner applications.

Online Makeup Academy: What was the moment that you felt that Makeup Artistry was your calling / how did you feel after you received your professional education?

Jessica Thomas: I think there were a series of moments where I was not able to stop thinking about the next look I wanted to create and then one day I just told myself that I was going to give it my all and try to pursue makeup artistry. After I received I my professional education, I was extremely excited and proud; I hung up my certification in my studio and added it onto my website.

Online Makeup Academy: What is your biggest achievement in the beauty industry so far? What are your continued goals/dreams?

Jessica Thomas: My biggest achievement in the beauty industry thus far has been able to take Sir John’s masterclass in Chicago. He is one of my biggest inspirations and I am a huge Beyonce fan so it was such a great opportunity learning from him and listening to his experiences in the industry. A goal I have for the future would be to work at NYFW as a makeup artist.

Online Makeup Academy: Do you agree that online education can be as valuable as offline courses?

Jessica Thomas: I believe online education is very valuable and I think what I loved personally about OMA was that I could refer back to the course module system while practicing my application on my model or family member.

Online Makeup Academy: How has your OMA certificate helped you reach your goals/provided value for you as you pursue your careers in the beauty industry?  

Jessica Thomas: My OMA certificate has helped me feel more secure and competent in my artistry. I also think being a certified makeup artist has established credibility with my clients. I have also been able to apply for pro cards with my certification through Sigma brushes and Frends Beauty.

Follow Jessica’s work on Instagram for additional editorial beauty inspiration:


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A NOTE FROM ONLINE MAKEUP ACADEMY: The Online Makeup Academy team is honored to work with Madison King, a highschool student (and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor) to fulfill her career goals and dreams of becoming a professional Makeup Artist. Madison has excelled in her work (check out a small sample of her artistry below and be sure to follow her YouTube and Instagram for continued inspiration!). Madison has completed our Essential Makeup Artist course, and is moving on to the Advanced Makeup Artist course - read her story below on the power of makeup and how it has transformed her life:

On February 14, 2018 my world was shattered.

On that fateful day, an angry and deeply troubled 19-year-old former student whose name I shall never mention returned to my beloved high school—Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—armed with an assault rifle and smoke grenades and carried out the deadliest high school shooting in United States history, brutally murdering seventeen students and faculty members, and injuring seventeen more.


I was in a third-floor classroom at the time—Room #1255 for Creative Writing—one of the classrooms that received the brunt of the gunfire. The number of dead and injured would certainly have been higher had it not been for my incredibly brave teacher, Mrs. Stacey Lippel, who saved as many of us as she could, putting her own life on the line to do so. To this day I don’t fully remember exactly how everything played out, no doubt the result of my brain working overtime to protect me from what my eyes and ears were forced to witness. Every now and then an unwanted memory will blitz its way out of the darkness and into my conscious mind… A flicker of muzzle flash. A pool of blood. Staccato gunfire. A piercing scream.

The cries of my friends…

And then everything will just go dark and quiet.

I prefer the dark and quiet.

Unfortunately, I was unable to return to MSD as a “brick and mortar” student. I tried to go back, but the first time I heard a fire alarm I was immediately transported back to that nightmarish day. Trust me when I tell you, panic attacks and high school simply don’t mix. Now, I keep up with my studies courtesy of technology as an online student.


And while I’m still on pace to graduate on time with the rest of my classmates, I truly miss the camaraderie of the other students, along with the liveliness of the classrooms—something I didn’t ever think I’d admit to. Cinderella’s song, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” really hammered home—and I’m not even a big fan of that band!

Before that horrible Valentine’s Day event, I was just a normal teenage girl, trying to figure out this crazy thing called life. Dealing with the ups and downs of boys, and friends, and relationships, and acne, and diets and… The list goes on.

Navigating the ladders and pitfalls of social media, filled with trolls and bullies and all sorts of emojis, from smiley faces to poop faces and everything in between. And above all else, wondering just what it was I wanted to do for a living when I got older.

But now, everything was different. I felt like there was no longer any joy in my life, and that there might never be any joy again. Mind you, I wasn’t considering checking out of this world—I just wasn’t considering anything at all. I was just, well, existing.

Then I remembered one of the things that I truly loved. Something I had a genuine passion for. Something I could spend hours learning about, and even more hours actually doing. Makeup.


Now before you label me as shallow, please understand I’m not suggesting thinking about lipstick and mascara and eye shadow suddenly made all my bad memories disappear. I wish it were that simple. But it doesn’t work like that.

For me, makeup is a wonderful distraction. A vacation of sorts from real life.

A total escape. You see, when I look at a face, I see the ultimate blank canvas—a blank canvas that can become anything. The same way a sculptor views a block of clay, or a chef views an empty pan, that’s exactly how I feel when I see a person’s face.

I don’t see it as it is—I see it for what it can become. More importanly, I see what it can become with my own two hands and my own creativity.

Makeup is my outlet. My one true happy place. And as I’ve learned in the time since that terrible happening, makeup is my coping mechanism. It helps me be me.

When I’m creating, my mind is cleansed of the dark memories and instantly replenished with bright realities. I’m suddenly fully present in what I’m doing, and I feel good about the process, and ultimately I feel good about myself. I’m not dwelling in the past anymore. I’m moving forward.

So that got me thinking… Thinking of the future, something I was unable to do for a long time after the shooting.

And for the first time in what seemed like forever, I smiled. I smiled because I realized that I had found my career path, and to my amazement, it could actually be intertwined with what brings me true happiness.

They say if you do something you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. So I decided to embark on a journey to become a professional makeup artist.

The first step in that journey was the Online Makeup Academy, a technological vehicle that I knew could take me exactly where I wanted to go—and maybe even further than I ever imagined going! They have a number of courses to choose from, and fantastic instructors that have achieved what I hope to someday—a mastery of the artistry of makeup.

I’ll never forget what happened in school that day; but I know that I have to keep on living, and keep my mind busy with the things that embrace the sunlight and shut out the darkness. So if makeup is the route to that destination, then I intend to follow it as far as it will take me. And if all else fails, well, at least I’ll learn the secret to impeccable blending and to creating the smokiest of eyes.


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Hi everyone! My name is Krystalee, I’m 33 years old and live in NYC. I truly want to thank the Online Makeup Academy for helping me become a professional in the field I love. For reference, I am an OMA graduate who has completed their Master Makeup Artist course. As someone who has received many PRO cards from all of my favorite brands after earning my certificate through OMA, I was asked to create a guest blog post to share my tips and tricks with all of you!

Today we’re going to discuss how I received my Makeup Pro discount cards. I’m excited to share these tips and tricks that I’ve found to successfully apply and receive PRO cards from several of the desired makeup companies (MAC, Nars, Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown and more!).

First, I’m going to list a few items you must have before even applying to become a PRO member:

A. Your own professional website. This website must:

  • Include your professional work (portfolio), with at least 5 photos of your own makeup work.

  • is a great platform to create your website (see: for additional tips), and it’s free!

  • Make sure your website includes your name. (Mine says Krystalee Perez Certified Professional Makeup Artist).


B. Composite card:


C. Client contract no more than 6 months old:

  • When working with clients for professional artistry services, it is recommended to always have a contract. You can draft a professional contract and have your client sign before completing services. Make sure the contract includes: agreement of services, rate, date, you and your client’s names and signatures. A client contract is important to show that you are a working professional makeup artist (or if you are working in the editorial field, this will be a call sheet). This document also protects you and your client, and is always great to have!

D. Business card:

  • Design your professional business card; include your name, title, contact information (similar to the composite card above, but smaller with less imagery). You can order a very small amount of cards if you’re just starting. A card is always great to have for networking!

E. Makeup Certificate:

  • A certificate of completion from the makeup school you have attended, confirming you are a certified professional Makeup Artist.

F. Government Issued Photo ID

  • To document that it is really you applying for the PRO card!

Every document above should be saved as a PDF when submitting to the companies, always keep your application professionally formatted and easy to review.

Individual Brand Tips + Tricks (from experience in receiving my PRO cards!):

Mac Pro Membership: For me, this was actually one of the easiest to apply for. I chose to snapshot my website and send a copy of my OMA certification along with the 65.00 payment. Please see the snapshot below as an example:

Then within an hour or two I was notified that I had been accepted as a PRO member and I should receive my card in 3-4 weeks.

Bobbie Brown Pro: I filled out the application scanned it in an email and sent it with a copy of my ID and my composite card (you could also use a business card). Please see my composite card as an example above.

Nars Pro Member: I needed my professional website ( and a photo ID.

Urban Decay Pro: I sent in a photo of my composite card and my professional website.                         

For those who are wondering, I’ve applied to every makeup company and have been approved for most PRO cards with all the documents listed above. With all of the proper information showing proof that you are a certified professional Makeup Artist, qualified to work in the industry, receiving your PRO cards is guaranteed!


Another outside of the box tip: Don’t be afraid to send in your information with a small paragraph stating you want to promote their product and sometimes brands might take that into consideration, too Always provide your social media accounts - create a separate business makeup page.

My makeup Instagram:

I hope this has taken a bit of the mystery out of PRO card applications and has encouraged everyone reading that you too can receive your PRO cards from all of the brands you love as a Certified Professional Makeup Artist! Good luck to everyone!



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Polina P is a professional freelance Makeup Artist, working with private clients in Baltimore, Maryland USA. Polina shares her talents worldwide through her social media platforms in creative makeup, featuring one of a kind eye and lip pairings to complete inspirational beauty looks for her 60k+ followers on Instagram + YouTube. She never repeats her creative looks and always shares mini-tutorials on how to achieve these captivating techniques with her followers. Polina is truly a master in detailed, wearable, yet intriguing bold beauty looks, but is also a highly sought after freelance Makeup Artist with a focus in stunning soft, natural, and perfect bridal makeup looks for her lucky clients!

Polina first began her Makeup Artist training through a Master Class with the world famous Makeup By Mario, notably known for celebrity clientele, including a favorite amongst beauty influencers, Kim Kardashian. She started her YouTube + Instagram pages to begin sharing her stunning artistry - this is how we had the pleasure to connect with her. Polina reviewed our Essential Makeup Artist kit and went on to completing our Makeup Artist course, earning her second certification with us at the Online Makeup Academy.

We loved Polina’s work and continued a collaboration where Polina was featured as our guest blogger, writing many of our top articles (check out more of the blog page for some amazing professional tips on brushes, makeup application, and more - all written by Polina exclusively for the Online Makeup Academy!).

As she continues to build her brand as a beauty influencer others have also taken notice, she also partners with Cargo Cosmetics as a Beauty Ambassador, and many other brands look to her for collaboration.  

Check out Polina’s video below of our (original) Essential makeup kit review and Essential Makeup Artist course review, some of our favorite makeup looks by her, and be sure to follow her YouTube channel and Instagram @makeupbypolinap for more inspiration, tips, and tricks.


We love Polina’s educational story, and hope it will inspire others to reach for the stars!

Remember, creating an Instagram (and/or YouTube) focused business page where you can consistently share content, professional style images, and can provide a unique point of view to your followers will be the best form of promotion that you can build in this current digital age of social media. Focus on building your own individual brand identity, sharing your view and techniques as you begin to build your career - this will help lead you towards the path for continued success (and you will connect with a great community of like minded artists along the way)!