Graduate Spotlight: Claire Doyle



“Never stop researching and never stop networking.”
– Claire Doyle

MUD: Where were you born?
Claire: I was born in Los Angeles, California.

MUD: What was it like growing up for you?
Claire: I’m the youngest of three. My parents are immigrants from South Africa. My father is a physician and plastic surgeon. My mother is an artist.  I kind of felt make up was a funny combination of both of their careers together: reconstructing faces and dabbling with art.

MUD: What was your first experience with make-up in your life?
Claire: Probably when I was a teenager. In my grade school through teenage years, I was a ballerina and I was involved in theater.  I used to always do make-up for our shows and I remember people saying, “Oh I like how you did yours, can you do mine, too?”  So I carried that Caboodle around with all my make-up supplies and we did each other’s make-up.

 MUD: How did you choose MUD as a make up school?
Claire: I was in my 2nd year of college at Emmerson College in Boston. I took a make-up class for fun and really enjoyed it so during my summer break, I wanted to use the time to pursue the make-up education further.  I researched schools at the time and there were only three then: Joe Blasco, Make Up Designory and Westmore Academy.  Maurice Stein, the owner of Cinema Secrets, was a patient of my father’s and he said to him, “Oh my daughter’s interested in make-up, which school do you recommend?” So Maurice was the one who actually suggested looking into MUD. I was just drawn to the curriculum and I think it was also about how the schedule worked out during my summer vacation! So all the cards were in the right place and that’s why I ended up choosing MUD.

MUD: What was your first big break?
Claire: I don’t know because it feels like it keeps happening! I was just so excited to get my first job out of MUD and it was with another make-up artist. It was a three picture deal. She did the first picture and then she jumped ship to go do something else. I was left hanging with 2 low budget movies back-to-back and I just thought, “Wow what a great start!” I want to say my first big break in my make-up career was not actually doing make-up. It was being the production assistant on the first 3 Pirates of the Caribbean movies but that was about a year and half already into my career! Even more recently, I went to the Super Bowl and I did the first live commercial ever for the Super Bowl! Like I said, I feel like these keep happening.

MUD: What was the biggest challenge working on the live Super Bowl commercial?
Claire: I feel like I had the most challenging element because we were filming live and I couldn’t go in for touch ups! Of course, it was a very emotional commercial and the talent was bawling non-stop. One woman was crying for twenty minutes straight and I had no monitor to look at what they filming.  So that was a challenge of placing trust to ride it out for what it was. Afterwards, I got to run and give tissues when they called cut.

MUD: What has been the secret to having such a strong career?
Claire: I think it’s never giving up. There was a quote I was going to share with the students that I read recently in a book that has more to do with general business but it applies: “You aren’t finished when you are defeated. You are finished when you decide to quit.”  I was adaptable with the industry. I’m going into my 17th year of my career now. And if you think about it, when I started there was no Facebook, no Myspace, and no Instagram. I worked through 2 strikes — we had an actor’s strike and a writer’s strike, and I’m still doing what I’m doing. You know, with every challenge that comes with our industry, it really comes back to you. Just don’t give up. If it’s something you know you’re supposed to do and you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.

MUD: What is your advice for people starting out?
Claire: Get organized. Stay motivated any which way you can whether that’s being around good people or reading books. Also just enjoy your own life and avoid getting work burnout. This is supposed to just be a part of your life, not entirely who you are.

Any final thoughts?
Claire: Never stop researching and never stop networking.


Interview by Bob Mitsch

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