We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jen, how has your work-life balance changed over time?

Work life balance has definitely shifted over time! In the beginning of my career, I was taking every job available as well as working nights to support myself. I had little time or energy to take good care of myself or enjoy other hobbies. Even up until very recently, I was constantly moving, hustling and working as much as I could. As the years have gone by, I’ve grown to realize the importance of self care, downtime, and saying no to some things in order to achieve a better balance.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve come so far from where I started! There were so many challenges and of course failures, but that’s all a part of growth and for that I’m grateful. I started as an art school dropout! I attended school to study fine art but left after a year due to high tuition costs and not knowing full well what I wanted to “be when I grew up.” From there I chased down a Certification to become a makeup artist. I didn’t even know this was a career choice (pre- social media!), so there was a lot to experience and learn until I found my niche.

The last 12 years have been spent working on Commercial Sets and on Photo Shoots for advertisements. I’ve worked with brides and private clients to help them look and feel their best for whatever the event! It’s been amazing.

In light of the pandemic when all work came to a halt, I had a chance to reflect on what was important to me, my career and my life. I realized that what I really loved about my job as a makeup artist was empowering people to feel good about themselves. This is the point where I shifted most of my business online. I started offering Group Online Classes at an affordable rate ($25-$30 per class) so that people could have a fun distraction during this crazy time in our lives. I offer everything from Beginner Eye Makeup to a relaxing Spa Session, all of which are follow along structures where you’ll get pro tips and can ask your questions. I wanted to have this option for people to not only connect with friends or jump in on a group class to make new friends—but this was an excellent way to keep doing what I loved while socially connecting with people during a time when I needed it the most.

I also found myself really reconnecting to my health and wellness. I decided to get my Certification to become a Health Coach. This has now led me to getting a Certification from the Nutritional Aesthetics Association to learn more about the skin’s function and how to care for it. I can’t stop! But in all seriousness, I’ve always passionately expressed to clients how important it is to manage your overall health for the health of your skin. Now I’m able to offer Virtual Health and Wellness Coaching to address not only major health goals, but also major skin goals. This new Certification is a big step in the direction of combining my two passions to help my clients feel and look their best from the inside out.

I’m so excited to embarking on this new collaborative style of work! It has been so fulfilling and has helped me to personally set boundaries for a more balanced lifestyle.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh this is so fun to think about after a year of not doing any of these things!

I would have to take them to my family’s incredibly delicious restaurant Honey Butter Fried Chicken! This would be a first stop to grab the best fried chicken (or tofu!) and a cocktail.

From there, we’d have to hit the Art Institute or the Museum of Contemporary Art for an exhibit! If at the MCA, we’d grab a glass of wine and some snacks from their Restaurant Marisol.

Being downtown, I’d show them to Cindy’s Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association as it has the best view of Millennium Park.

I’d be sure to take them to the lake front for a beach day or long walk.
We’d hit the local farmers market to collect some delicious seasonal goodies, grab a coffee from Gaslight Coffee Roasters and have a picnic on the Logan Blvd or Humboldt park overlooking the water.

We’d have to go up north to Andersonville to hit Lost Larson for its soothing vibes, a latte or a glass of wine and incredible snacks. Walking up and down the neighborhood to hit all the best antique stores and art shops!

We’d HAVE to get brunch at Lula Cafe (been my staple the last 15 years!), and Bang Bang Pie for a slice of deliciousness.
Can you tell I love to eat?! We’d need to eat… tacos and margaritas on the rooftop at Lonesome Rose, Paulie Gees for some Detroit style pizza, Pequad’s for Chicago Style! Floriole for the perfect french lunch or pastry, Urban Belly for EVERYTHING and Dos Urban Cantina for the BEST chocolate cake and their tamal tots 🙂

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many amazing people who have supported me and my work! Of course family comes to mind. I am so grateful to have an incredible husband who not only supports what I do, but pushes me to step outside of my comfort zone. I have to extend that same sentiment to my sisters who are always sharing my work and talking me off a ledge! My older sister Rachel has been a guiding light during this pandemic! Pushing me to really look inward to find what makes me happy and fulfilled. She was even the one to suggest I look into Health Coaching, which has been a huge turning point for me.

The community (both in the makeup artist world and the Health Coaching world) is hugely important. Without community, there is no growth or challenge. Having these communities to share in conversations about standards, pricing, creativity, ideas, and so much more– is invaluable and I am forever grateful to those who stand up for what’s right and share this information so we can all flourish in our own way.

That being said, some people who have really been there for me include Kendra Richards of Heir Atelier who has been an amazing supportive friend! Many years ago she took the time to sit down (then, a stranger who randomly asked her to have coffee!) with me and chat all things makeup! She answered my questions about the industry and has since then consistently cheered me on and supported me in whatever way she can.

Nika Vaughan of Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists and owner of The Plant Salon, is another person I feel grateful to know! We’ve known each other for over a decade and she’s always been there to bounce ideas off of as well as push me to do more. Her support and knowledge is invaluable.
Of course there are countless others who I’ve met on this 15 year journey- and even though there are too many to name, I hope they know they are appreciated!

Website: www.jenbrownmakeup.com and www.jenbrownhealthcoach.com

Instagram: @jenbrownmakeup and @jenbrownhealthcoach

Facebook: @jenbrownmakeup

Youtube: www.youtube.com/jenbrownmakeup and www.youtube.com/beautybywalgreens

Image Credits
Rachel Brown Kulp Stephanie Bassos *the rest were candid, on set shots by crew members*

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.