We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle deMilt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This balance has evolved so much over the years. I started working in a salon when I was 15. Since it wasn’t just an after school job, and it was something I was passionate about, I wanted to work as much as they let me. This meant skipping school events, and I even stopped playing school sports. As I got older, I worked on commision there, so I worked a lot. Plus, I wanted to grow and expand my clientele. I missed all kinds of life events that I look back on now and sometimes wish I had taken the time to do. In my 20’s I had moved to LA to pursue the film industry. As a freelance artist you never know when the next job will come, so you say yes to EVERYTHING that is offered. I was lucky to have a decent career and worked all the time. So when my 30th birthday rolled around, I looked back at my 20’s and realized a had really not done much besided work, and go home to NY for any vacation time. I didn’t do a lot of the stuff other people in LA were doing in their 20’s. Which had its pros and cons. I decided then that I wanted to balance better. I luckily came upon a show that had much better hours than some previous shows I had worked on. I also have since shifted my career goals a bit.
Now, especially after being home during the pandemic, I have so much more appreciation for down time and only giving my time to things I really want to give it to.
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.
My career has conitnued to morphe and evolve over the years. I started in a salon as an assistant, to becoming a hair stylist, to moving to LA and working as a makeup artist in tv/film, to now mixing my tv work with a focus on mens grooming. For me, I feel that having a solid training in both makeup and hair has set me apart and helped my success. I’m excited for the life opportunities my career path could take me. I have been super lucky to travel the world doing my craft, amd I hope to continue to have more opportunities like that. Also, last year, a personal moment of feeling proud was getting my first Emmy nomination. I got to where I am today by being persistant and trying to conciously work in a way (and with others) in a way I can be proud of. Integrity and determination also play a big part. Sometimes I feel like it’s been easy because it’s just kind of flowed, and I’ve been in the right place at the right time for certain opportunities. But then there is moments that I reflect on what was involved in the hustle when I started a rememebre how much drive it took to continue on.
I learned along the way to have to accept that not everyone will like you or reciprocate thre respect you show them, and how in those moments you have to make a concious choice on how to move forward and be ok with it. You have to choose how you want to navigate yourself and your career and be open to the shifts that may come along with it.
I want people to know that if you have something you want to do, you have to just do it. Not everyone will understand your dreams (I got some flack in high school when people found out I was joining the cosmetology program, as they didn’t think it was for the “smart kids.”) Those who love you will support you anyway.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a pretty low key person and not big on the go-out scene. So if I had friends visiting LA it would be to places like Venice Beach for a bike ride or to Malibu for the stunning coastal views (El Matidor Beach is always a crowd pleaser.). Depending on the time of year I’m always looking for street festivals like the Abbot Kinney Festival or Chinese New Year in Chinatown. I also love to stroll Olvera Street for lunch and shopping year round. It’s especially fun around the Muertos Artwalk.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family has been my solid base from day one. My parents and sister have got many phone calls over the years when I’ve been down or discouraged and they have been my number one cheerleaders from the very start. I was lucky that they always supported whatever dreams I had. When I decided I didn’t want to attend college and instead pursue a career in my field they didn’t skip a beat. My mom got online and researched courses and schools and apartments across the country to help me further my training and get my feet on the ground. My dad spent a lot of super early mornings on the phone with me the first few yeasr I lived in LA talking to me and helping calm my nerves on my way to jobs (and he also busted out maps a few times and was my personal over the phone navigator. Haha). There has also been countless artists throughout my career that have helped educate me and/or passed job opportunities my way. From the women in my salon in my teenage years to many many makeup artists here in LA.
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