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.