We had the good fortune of connecting with Meghann Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meghann, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Several years ago my best friend, Kelsey Contois-Husch, and I were working a lot on projects and events outside of our regular Cirque du Soleil jobs, and we needed large crews for wigs, makeup, and hair. The makeup and hair part was fairly easy to find, but finding artists that were proficient in wigs and makeup was more difficult. So, we decided to start teaching classes on wig dressing, wig making, makeup, and a whole spectrum of classes in between! The Academy of Makeup and Wig Design was born and its been a wonderful ride so far. It has grown and is still fun, is something I am deeply passionate about, and continue to look forward to teaching and sharing!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I often get asked how I got to where I am. It has been such an interesting road, full of bends and twists, a few turns, a bit of luck, and A LOT of hard work and determination. When I began in undergrad at the University of Houston, I was a performer. I worked in wigs for Theatre Under the Stars to earn extra money (and LOVED it), as well as working in costume rentals and also for the local Costume/Theatrical store in Houston, Frankel’s. Then I went to Los Angeles to attend the Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts. I knew I wanted to do makeup for film/T.V./Theatre and this was the place to learn those specific skills. I am still friends with some of my classmates almost 20 years later! Gathering all of these skills really helped me to be well rounded, capable, confident, empathetic, and…… ready for the Circus. I lived in L.A. for about 5 years. I really love L.A. It feels like a lost home I once lived in and feel absolutely comfortable there among the glittering history of Hollywood and the feeling of standing on a precipice of hope for what could happen. It’s magical! I moved back to Houston to work on my Masters Degree in Costume History and Design.
Almost a year in I met my future boss for Cirque du Soleil and a month after meeting him, he offered me a Wig Tech position for Cirque du Soleil’s “KA”, the resident show at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. I almost didn’t go!! I was happy to be home near family again, but this really was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed over, so I said yes and moved across the country again, this time to Vegas. What a serendipitous decision that was! I worked for “KA” for 11.5 years, designed shows, directed large crews for events, made wonderful friends that are my second family, became a mom, created a business, and so much more. I am a very ambitious and tenacious person, and Vegas absolutely was a great fit. There is so much to do that if you stay focused you can grow and thrive.
I decided to move back to Houston to continue my school here, closer to family so my son can be close to them growing up. I still have my connection to Cirque, now as a vendor wig maker, and am close to my friends there and around the country. I have my Academy, I work at the Houston Ballet and am looking forward to live shows again. It is a joy that I cannot fully express. Just the smell of backstage at the Wortham makes me happy! There have been challenges along the way, but if you pause, breathe, don’t react out of emotion, make lots of lists, and have a PLAN, you can do anything. I’m living proof. I’m lucky to do what I love, but also I didn’t give the world the chance to tell me no. 😉
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston has changed so much since I’ve been away! I moved back right before the pandemic, so my exploring was limited. However, I always tell people to check out the Museum district, NASA, The Heights, and have all the seafood, BBQ, and Tex Mex you can! I have also been discovering all the different parks around the city since I have a toddler and he LOVES to play outside. There are some really outstanding parks, Levy Park, being the best so far.
Make sure you check out 19th street in the Heights (as well as all the new places like Melange Creperie on 6th)- its such a cool area!
Chuy’s has the best creamy jalepeno sauce, and Half Priced Books is the best store in the country.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shout out to Kelsey Contois-Husch. She is the other half of my business, my right arm, my bestie; she has amazing insight, her attention to detail is phenomenal, is obscenely talented, and makes the world a brighter place to live. She is now a creative consultant for the Academy of Makeup & Wig Design instead of apart of the day to day workings, and that is a vital position which keeps me sane. She deserves everything wonderful! I also want to give a shoutout to all of the wonderful and unbelievably talented artists we have worked with over the years. From photographers, Makeup Artists, Hair Artists, Wiggies, Costume Designers, Producers, Artistic Directors, Performers and more- they have been spectacular. They make our piece of the collaborative process easier and more lovely. Thank you!
Instagram: @academymwd @meghannm_makeupandwigs
Shane O’Neal of SON Studios Jerry Metellus Lei Rivera