We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Bouley-Gemmell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In my life, taking a risk begins with the simplicity of desire. What is it I desire? How do I want to feel? Early in life, the feeling I found myself endlessly chasing was a type of euphoria. This idea of “euphoric fun” inspired all of my desires and soon every risk I took mirrored that objective. Risk taking became so second nature because I found whenever I took a risk is when I felt most free, and when I had the most fun. So eventually, risk became less of a daunting choice of facing the unknown, and more of a comfort of possibilities for creativity. With this mentality I began to chase each opportunity with the idea that “this is what I want to do, so I’m simply going to do it.” From the outside perhaps packing my bags and moving to LA without a job or family to stay with was viewed as a big risk, but in my mind it was a decision that would bring more unknowns and exciting experiences that would only add to the fullness of my life. Fear was never part of my vocabulary and this is true even today.
Before I entered the work force, my rawest form of risk had always been traveling. I took daring detours and fearless leaps into the unknown every chance I could get. At a young age I travelled to isolated areas and lived abroad in foreign countries for months on end without any plan or landing pad, and it brought me some of the most incredible adventures of a lifetime. It was from these risks abroad that I came to value the idea of chance and was soon able to apply it to my own career as I began searching for my purpose in life. Taking risks abroad taught me to value the unknown, and I always put a priority into enjoying what I was doing. In my career my risk was simply a desire to see if I could. What is on the other side of could is a vast playground of possibilities and serendipity. Risk has always led me to the most rewarding, magical experiences full of colorful characters and interesting plots and above anything else…it was my story. A fabulous story. When the notion of make up artistry was presented I was in college in Northern California as a business major. I had never planned to pursue a career as a makeup artist, but I had an undeniable inkling that I felt connected to the arts, and as I became more familiar with that world the same feeling of desire began to arise and the urge to risk a business degree to jump into the unknown led me on the ride of a lifetime! As soon as I began working as a makeup artist I was in awe at how quickly I discovered the same kind of euphoria I had felt when I was traveling, and soon I was obsessed with how fulfilling it was to create characters for storylines. Not only was it fun, but it was engaging, it was personal. My curiosity was a validated as one door of opportunity opened after the other and I soon cultivated a passion that led me one step at a time down the yellow brick road into the wonderland of movies, television, and storytelling. To be an intricate part of the story was what I thrived on, and I made sure to never approach a job with any fear. With a career in the arts the opportunities are endless as long as you stay aligned with your desires. I have never done anything anyone told me to do, I have never taken the logical path. My directions come from within and as long as I listen, a new adventure always awaits. My make up artistry career has blown me away taking me from one amazing adventure after the next. I have gotten to work with some of the industry’s most talented storytellers, from Ridley Scott to Zack Snyder, and my gratitude for this industry and the experiences in it is infinite.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe what really sets me a part is my personable nature and ability to connect with whomever is in my make up chair. I like to see myself as a Lucille ball type personality combined with the listening skills of Oprah Winfrey, all with access to a plethora of make up brushes.
I am most proud of the connections I have made along the way and the friendships I have formed while working on set. Being a make up artist has allowed me to connect with other creatives and be fully immersed in a world of incredible make believe.
My biggest lesson has always been do not give into fear. A career in the entertainment industry is filled with unknowns, and the smartest thing a person can do is face each unknown fearlessly. Art is interpretive, and perspective based, so when approaching any job I listen, observe, and most importantly follow my gut to create the perfect look.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is a city filled with such rich art so I would begin our trip with a visit to the Van Gough pop up exhibit, followed by brunch and mimosas at Redbird. After brunch, a walk through Echo Park Lake with cups of Philz coffee in our hand makes for the perfect stroll. To wrap up the day, we’d venture to the Pantages theater for a night show, and after end the night with a delicious dinner next door at Katsuya.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A big part of my expanding career was when I met and worked for these amazing individuals and mentors. Toby Keith, Scott Gemmell, Kendall Henry, Adriana Henry, Dian Coble, Suzy Carlson, Matt Cullen, Goldie, Sahvannah Rae, Tony Kaye and Zack Snyder. It was from these contacts that one door opened after the other. I also want to shoutout my husband of 15 years and my children Aiden and Austin Gemmell for allowing me the flexibility to stay engaged with my career. I also want to thank my mother and father for allowing me to be limitless. Lastly, all the creatives I met along the way who have helped shaped who I am as an artist.