By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Having experimented with the possibilities of cosmetics as a hobby since she was about 11 years old, Camryn Sullivan, a sophomore at Dassel-Cokato High School, had the opportunity to express her passion and demonstrate her abilities during a cosmetology event at the 2017 Ridgewater College Skills Fest in Willmar Feb. 9.
Participating students were instructed to prepare their model for either prom or a wedding, and had one hour and 15 minutes to complete the look. Contestants had to supply their own makeup, hair tools, dress, shoes, and accessories.
“The only thing that’s supplied for you is basically lighting and a chair,” said Sullivan.
Working up to the last minute on her model, DC sophomore Alayna Olson, and watching the other models do their walk around the room for the judges, Sullivan’s instant thought was “Oh dear, I just lost.”
As Olson did her walk, however, Sullivan heard the other contestants make more encouraging remarks such as, “Oh my god, who did her makeup? I need to meet her.”
“It was such a shock,” remembered Sullivan, “I do it on myself all the time, and I do it occasionally for cheerleading. I do it on other people sometimes, but I never thought it would actually have that big of an impact, and that what I was doing was actually right,” she said, explaining her lessons with makeup have either been self-taught or come from YouTube.
All of those hours learning in front of a mirror seem to have paid off as Sullivan (and Olson) received third place at the Skills Fest.
“We were so shocked; we didn’t actually think we were going to place. We were just there for fun,” Sullivan stated, remembering how DC High School’s FACS teacher, Lisa Danielson, was also “freaking out.”
“Yeah, I was really, really shocked, because everybody else in there looked so good. Everybody’s [entry] could have been first-place worthy,” said Sullivan. “I’m honored to be in the top three.”
With cosmetology being one of the only events where contestants need a second person, Sullivan stated that her success would not have been possible without Olson.
“She could have walked up on the stage with no makeup and could have won. She’s so gorgeous,” she said.
In addition to the end result, contestants were also judged for how they interact with their models throughout the prep process, during which Olson continuously asked questions about what was being applied to her face and why Sullivan chose to use it.
“It totally improved our score,” said Sullivan.
Olson was later asked to be the subject of a photography student’s modeling project.
“Without [Olson] it wouldn’t have been possible, and with her natural beauty, it totally enhanced it,” said Sullivan. “There’s no way I could have done it without her.”
While the next Skills Fest is a little less than a year away, Olson and Sullivan have already decided to attend the event as a team again and have already started looking for ideas for next year’s look.
“One of our goals for the summer is just to keep going faster and faster and faster,” said Sullivan, “so we can have time to do more lengthy looks and stuff like that.”
When it comes down to the purpose of makeup, however, Sullivan said the amount of time it takes to create the look matters little to the personal result and reflection of its wearer.
“A lot of people think that makeup is just a way to put on a different face for people you want to impress, but really it’s just the opposite,” Sullivan stated. “You want to feel your best you, and that’s how it is. Don’t wear makeup; yes, wear makeup; go glam every day; anything. Just be you.”
“Being in small-town Dassel-Cokato, you don’t see full glam looks very often unless it’s prom, and even then not everybody wants to take that step to just enhance themselves as much as they could,” she added. “I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s just so many endless opportunities in makeup. It’s just so fun, I wouldn’t trade [it] for anything. It’s an outlet [for me] to just put on different face and conquer the world.
“Throw on some good makeup, throw on some sweats, some trap music, and you’re good for the day. Conquer your problems; you’re good.”