The PEN: Misty Fox - Make Up Artist/It Girl

When it comes to Make Up artists in Toronto, no one is better than Misty Fox. Misty has worked in her field for several years and has done make up for famous bands such as Teagan and Sara, Chad Kroegar, Metric and Alice Cooper. She is also  Emily Haines personal make up artist, and has worked with stars such as Alison Brie (Mad Men and Community) Jane Eastwood, and Colin Hanks. However, what makes Misty so special is not who she has worked with, but her attitude and strong work ethic. She is driven, friendly and exceptional at what she does. I have had the pleasure of working with her for a number of spots through Big Pig and others throughout the years. I could not think of a better person who deserves her success. We are fortunate enough to hear some of her thoughts below on her career and what it takes to be successful in the industry. Enjoy. 


I began my career with the equal amounts of love, fear and commitment. When I was 27 I enrolled in make up school. At that time I had a two and a half year old daughter who was more than ready to socialize with the other youngsters at what was set to be her new daycare for the next 8 months while I took an intensive course at the School Of Make Up Art in Yorkville.

I decided to do the whole course, not just beauty and fashion subjects, but also special effects, make up for film and T.V, prosthetics and wig making. I believe whatever career you pursue in the film business, you must have a fierce conviction to your craft, this can only come from learning everything you can to begin with while also knowing you will never stop learning on the job.

My marks were great, 90’s-100 % in most subjects. The comments on my report cards, beside the more tedious tasks, were the same throughout primary school and high school reports, frustrated teachers wrote ‘Misty is very easily distracted’ It is important to know what you need to work on, and work just as hard at fixing that, as you do in fine tuning your make-up skills.

Being a make-up artist is more than doing a good make-up application. Of course you are required to apply make-up in professional and timely manner, but you are also a skincare expert, matching the right products to skin and keeping skin calm and healthy on set requires you to know how to treat and prepare your clients skin so your make-up looks the best it can.

You are also a therapist, a hype girl, a friend, a confidant, a nurse at times, you need to be there for the person you are putting make-up on, in every way. You need to be there with understanding, water, Advil  encouragement, blister blockers, pasties, everything.

That person is the most important person in your life while they are in your chair. An ego will get you nowhere in this business, and it could get you fired. You could go from running the whole make-up department on set, to assisting someone the next day so never get too big for your britches. Your duties could go from being the boss, to washing the boss’s brushes, so it is important to keep your ego in check. 

Jobs vary, the amount of jobs that are around will change from month to month, and the kind of jobs you do will be different every time, sometimes you will have a bunch of ‘bread and butter jobs’ at other times you will be so excited by the wild creativity of a project, sometimes you will see it as a job you do to pay the bills. Speaking of bills, you should probably pre-pay your bills in the summer so that during the colder months where bookings are few and far between, you are not stressed about money. I do this every year and it helps my sanity. 

You have to run your business, every day. If you don’t have a smart phone, get one, or they will give the job to the make-up artist who answers his/her emails faster than you. When a producer is crewing up for a shoot he wants to confirm people, fast. Try not to be afraid to talk about money, I found this very hard at the start. Even though you should expect to start on low-to-no-budget jobs, you should keep in mind that your training and skill is worth something to the team and set yourself a moderate day rate and ask for it. As your experience increases, so will your day rate. 

If you want to fast track it in this industry, be the best, be open to learning, be the cleanest, the tidiest, the most organized, gossip free, make-up artist. Wear nice tidy clothes and don’t be in anyone’s face, be who you are, but on your best behaviour. A film set is like a big machine, if you aren’t making the part you are in charge of work, it could cascade in to a bigger problem for other departments. Keep your eyes on set, your mind on the job and your jokes clean. 

Be someone people want around, and will book again. Someone once said to me, ‘loads of people can do a decent make-up job, we hire the people we want to be around’  A set, especially a film set, is a little family. Sometimes you will see the crew more than your own friends and family. This is what is great about this industry. For me, having no family here in Canada, I relish in this environment. I kid you not, you will feel real love the people you spent 30 days with, standing in the rain next to some dilapidated prison while making movie magic. 

This is one of the most fun, stimulating, ever changing careers, you can pick your hours and your holidays, you get to be creative and business minded at the same time. 

I recommend this job, and I recommend taking it very seriously.

Photograph courtesy of Shannon Echlin,

You can follow Misty on twitter @mistyfoxforever, Instagram/mistyfox, Facebook or on her website

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