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.

Spotlight on Makeup Artist + Influencer Svetlana Kobaliya

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Svetlana Kobaliya is a professional Makeup Artist, Hairstylist, Esthetician, and beauty influencer. She first attended college majoring in management and after graduation began work in the engineering and legal fields. Although successful in her day job, deep down she knew that she needed to follow her passion for the beauty industry. Svetlana then took a leap of faith - entering the industry in a roundabout way by applying for an administration position at a day spa (always take those first steps, no matter how far they seem from your ultimate goal, to find your way into the field you love!). It was there that she confirmed she had found herself in the right environment and was determined to continue to pursue her goals and dreams of realizing a career as an artist in the beauty industry.

Svetlana then studied to become an Esthetician, and while specializing in skin care she surrounded herself with knowledge (education is key!) in all things beauty. However, her ultimate dream was to become a Certified Makeup Artist, as her true passion was applying her artistry through makeup on herself and others. “I wanted to learn more and wanted to be validated [in my artistry], that is why I wanted to have the certification. I know that this passion for the industry will not go away for me.” The rest is history!

Through the Online Makeup Academy she was able to fulfill this dream, and add another credential to her ever growing professional resume and educational platform. She has excelled in her talents and continues to inspire others through her artistry in makeup and hair (her YouTube channel includes full makeup tutorials and hairstyling tutorials as well as reviews and inspirational content!).

In her YouTube video below Svetlana explains in detail her experience with our OMA Makeup Artist course and Pro Hairstyling course (she has both courses under her belt!). Her star continues to shine and she has become a sought after beauty influencer (for good reason!) - be sure to follow her Instagram @svetakobaliya + YouTube (video links below!)

“If you really want something, you have to help yourself achieve it. There is nothing like being surrounded by like minded people everyday and going to work doing something you love.” - Svetlana Kobaliya

Svetlana continued her education with the PRO Hairstyling course, reviewing the course kit and styles covered throughout the course!


We’ve loved working with Svetlana and are so excited to see her artistry and platform as an influencer and beauty professional soar to endless heights!



When you’re just starting your career as a makeup artist it may take you more time to finish a makeup look than if you are a skilled professional with several years of experience. This is pretty normal, as with practice you will manage to eventually create the same look in a shorter period of time and figure out ways to increase your productivity, which will quickly become your signature tricks. 

Sometimes you may need to speed up your makeup application for a client depending on the project and time restrictions; imagine the situation when your client has only 30-40 min for her makeup to be complete and she wants the same full glam look she gets from you every time with a perfect application and blending! Or maybe you have booked a bridal party of 6-8 bridesmaids who need to be ready in 5 hours. All of them! What can you do?

You have to find ways that will make your work faster, more efficient, and most importantly without sacrificing the quality. Here are a few professional and time saving tricks to help guide you and make your work more practical as you take on more clients throughout your career:

1.          Remember that if you always have everything from your kit in the same order every time you’re doing a client’s makeup it will make it easier to find a certain brush, pencil, or any other product! Organization is a huge time saver.

  • It is very convenient to have all groups of products in one plastic bag (they are sold online or as a part of a makeup case/bag). Eye shadows in one bag, bronzers, blushes, highlighters, liquid lipsticks, etc. Brushes can be conveniently placed in the brush case in a certain order that you prefer (from first application to last is a great tip!)

2.          To save time for your client to choose a product color/type (lipstick, blushes, foundations, contour, eyeshadow, etc!):

  • Depot all of your products into a palette. They are sold by different companies ( is a favorite of ours!) and you can choose the one that will work best for you. A client that sees all of the available product colors/types at once will make a decision much faster than when you have to open every individual lipstick or other products separately.

3.          Doing eye liner on a client can sometimes be the most difficult process in makeup application, even for skilled makeup artists. Find the easiest and fastest way of doing it, for you and your individual application process and technique. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a gel or liquid eye liner:

  • Eye pencils sometimes are easier and faster to apply. Even when you apply it not so evenly the first time, you can go over it with a flat synthetic brush afterwards making the line smooth and maybe even a bit smoked out. Just drag the brush with the rest of the product left on it outwards prolonging the line and you will get a nice soft wing. Perfect eye liners made with gel or liquid products are really time-consuming and need practice – therefore this trick can really save you and your precious time!

4.          If the look your client is going for is still a sharp and edgy eye liner:

  • Use tape to perfect your angles for the perfect line. Just remember to stick it couple of times on your arm to reduce the tackiness (they also make cosmetic / styling tape - which we highly recommend over traditional tape!), then attach it at the right angle kind of prolonging the lower lash line outwards and it will be much easier for you to draw a perfect wing without taking a lot of extra time for perfection when applied completely freehand. After you’re done remove the tape and apply concealer if the tape budged some of your previous application.

5.          If your client is looking for a smokey eye but you are short on time:

  • Use cream eye shadow. You can take a soft brown color or even a color with shimmer to it and apply all over the lid, blend the edges with a synthetic brush, maybe apply a tiny bit of lighter eye shadow onto the center of the eye lid to add dimension, highlight the brow bone and inner corner, and your smokey eyes are done! It will definitely take much less time than to create smokey eyes by blending all these eye shadows in the crease creating a definition and ombré effect, and achieves a very similar application when complete.

6.          Applying mascara onto the natural lashes after false lashes are applied will save you time as well.

  • You will skip the step where you apply mascara first and then apply falsies. Second, after you applied falsies you need to press natural lashes into them to make your lashes more natural looking. This way, if you apply mascara after the falsies are on you will save time twice.

7.          If for any reason you have to go darker with eye makeup and you have already finished the look:

  • To save it from eye shadow fall out use Shadow Shields. Using a tissue in this case and press it every time you apply darker eye shadow will be very inconvenient and time consuming. Also, these shields can be used as a tape for the perfect wing we were discussing about above.

8.          If your client wants a look with glitter:

  • Do not apply loose glitter as it will be all over the client’s face and it will require additional time to clean any fall out. Instead, use a pressed glitter or a glitter in a tube (like a glitter eye liner). They will apply perfectly onto the eye lid without any fall out and will stay all day and night!

9.          Good light will save you a lot of time as you will see how you apply and blend products onto a client’s face right away, without the need to ask her to come “into the light” for you to see if everything looks good.

  • The top time saving tip? Invest in a good (and portable) lighting system. Especially if you work on site and do not know what the light will be in every job that you will have.

10.      Also working in a more comfortable position means that you will save energy and will be working faster than if you would need to bend all the time to the client’s face, you will soon get tired and even exhausted, your back will hurt, your hands may get shaky and makeup application can turn into something really hard to accomplish.

  • Get yourself a makeup chair (we actually recommend portable chairs from Ikea or other stores as they will be more comfortable and sturdier than a traditional director’s style chair). When a client’s face is on the level of your face it will make your work more pleasant and thus much faster (and you will feel so much better at the end of the day!). Always remember to take care of yourself, too!