A CREATIVE CHILD FINDS A CANVAS IN THE MIRROR
Jasmine Bailey–Barfuss is originally from the small city of Perth, located in Western Australia. She and her four siblings grew up in the isolated suburb known as Quinns Rocks. Remote and picturesque, the tiny suburb was surrounded on three sides by sand dunes where wild horses, emus and blue-tongued lizards roamed freely. For the most part, though, the family centered their lives on the fourth side, in the sparkling waters of Quinns Beach.
“Growing up, I was always more artistic than anything else, though I loved netball and basketball and snorkeling at the beach. As a small kid I drew for hours, created dolls out of paper and scraps of fabric, and snuck off with my mum’s makeup more than once where I secretly painted my face (and destroyed her blue and green 1980’s eyeshadows.) But I never knew there was such a thing as a ‘Makeup Artist’ until my first day at university in America, years later.
“I had always been drawn like an unstable magnet to makeup and did mighty battle with the green monster when my younger sister got a real makeup palette one year for christmas when we were children (after I’d excitedly unwrapped and feverishly ‘yippeed!’ over what turned out to be a fake plastic one that didn’t even work, cruel world…) And by the time I was finally allowed to ‘legally’ wear it at around age fifteen, I often spent hours recreating my face, making up for lost time; experimenting. I loved that I could literally make my tom-boyish face a blank canvas with concealer, foundation and powder; and then create whatever face I wanted on top of that – and I tried about every look possible with the limited tools I had, some more successfully than others. Every morning before school was essentially an hour of pure creativity as I did my makeup and hair.
My friends and family teased me constantly over how long it took me to get ready, or how much ‘spackfiller’ I had applied that day, but I loved it. It had become a creative passion of mine.
She recalls the time when an older childhood friend – who was also her father’s secretary and subsequently worked at the kitchen table for the home-based accountancy practice throughout much of Jasmine’s high school years – “one time smudged a chunk of charcoal from the pot-belly fireplace very slowly and deliberately down my cheek when I was almost finished with my makeup one morning, laughing at me, laughing at the fury suddenly filling my eyes over something as silly as makeup (Aussies are a bunch of wicked, evil teasers) – she’d messed up my masterpiece with no time for a proper fix and she knew it. We’re talking a major cheek-fix involving multiple layers of makeup and edge-blending with only ten seconds to spare!” Bailey-Barfuss joked.
But no amount of teasing would subvert her growing interest. She continued exploring and learning.
“Let me just say that the day I discovered eyelash curlers changed my life — and my downward-shaped eyes — forever! I mean, this — the artistic quest to make myself ‘pretty’ — was exciting stuff to a creative (and not to mention hormonal) teenage girl.”
Today it’s clear we’ve all benefited from her lifelong love of makeup, as she admittedly “learned a lot during those years of self-experimentation.”
COLLEGE IN THE STATES TAKES HER BACK TO HER MAKEUP ROOTS
It’s hard to imagine growing up in a tiny, obscure town—that sounds like the kind of place many of us might stay forever—to grow up and go on to live, find love and fulfill one’s dreams halfway around the world. That is until you factor in the power and momentum in taking a leap of faith…
“So, remember that first day of freshman year at that big American university I mentioned? Well, I was seventeen and my mum and dad were helping me pay for my books at the university bookstore — a one-time offer before they officially ‘set me free’ to be responsible for my own life — when the cashier helping us said she recognized our accents and recognized us! It turned out she’d lived in Perth as a missionary years before; and that she wasn’t actually a career cashier, she just helped the bookstore during those busy days at the beginning of each semester.
She was actually a costume designer and makeup artist, a fact that my young mind found very intriguing.
“Her name was Lindey Crow, and, learning that I was an artist of sorts (I planned to study acting, art and journalism at school), she called me the following week at my dorm and asked if I’d like to be her makeup assistant on an historical film. Essentially, she needed a makeup grunt to help dirty up a bunch of old men’s gnarly feet and make them look like they’d wandered the desert their whole lives.
“And it was awesome! I couldn’t believe that people actually made a living doing makeup; and, long story short, trusting in my artistic instincts and ability to pick things up quickly, she essentially apprenticed me from that young age. Schooled with makeup classes at the university and practicing on friends, family and myself, I learned fast and was soon getting calls to head small projects myself.”
Some of Jasmine’s makeup experiments from those early days, circa 1998-2001. Makeup and photos by Jasmine. Models: anyone brave and willing.
At twenty-years-old I was having to skip school in order to work on films; or skip the film jobs in order to go to school to learn how to work on films—which I was already getting paid to do. So I chose to leave university and by twenty-two I’d put makeup on two Academy Award winners.
“It was pretty exciting stuff. And all because we went through that one particular check-out line at the bookstore, freshman year.
“Lindey Crow utterly changed the course of my life.”
MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, STRENGTHEN HER SPIRIT
Family life for Bailey-Barfuss is complex and challenging, yet rich and oh-so-amazing. She is married to graphic designer Nick Barfuss, User Interface Designer for Covet Fashion. The couple has two children, both of whom have a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy known as Rigid Spine Muscular Dystrophy.
“This is a disease that presents at birth, which means that we are now fourteen years into this often heart-wrenching journey,” she reflects. “And boy, sometimes I don’t know if I have any more tears left.
“The disease is so rare that it took five years to diagnose my son. We learned that it was a genetic disease that both my husband and myself gave to him, and I was eight months pregnant with my daughter at the time.
“I could tell within two weeks of her birth that she had it too.”
STRONG IN SPIRIT, BEAUTIFIED BY GRACE
…It was at this point in getting to know Jasmine that I shed my “fair and unbiased” hat (if only to scratch my head…ahem!) Though I’ve heard of family struggles all my life, I was overwhelmed at the utter appreciation Jasmine had for every twist and turn she’d come across along the way. How did she do it? How did she juggle the demands of her family and her work…while still putting on that transcendent smile everyday?
“I am very fortunate to be able to work remotely at the moment, although sitting at my desk all day drawing on my computer does rather cause one’s butt-size to swell somewhat,” she joked. “My new nickname in our home is Big Mama J (thank you Covet Fashion).”
This is one tenacious woman.
“Designing hair and makeup for Covet Fashion really is kind of the ideal job for me at the moment, other than the butt-size issue of course, because I can work from the bedside of my children’s hospital beds if needed. It actually helps the time pass in an otherwise stressful situation, more so than trying to read or just sitting, worrying and growing new grays.
“My kids are often in the hospital for weeks at a time. In fact, between the two of them, they have been hospitalized eighteen times over the past two years, which is kind of nuts, yes.”
She added that this “also makes working sixteen hour days on film sets, or even going into the Covet offices each day, a bit tricky.
Covet really is the perfect blend of both my traditional art and makeup skills in a way that is extremely flexible.
“Really, how lucky am I, given our unique family situation? I feel very grateful for this opportunity — especially since right now it is helping us save money to build a completely accessible home for our children.”
THE PERFECT PLACE, THE PERFECT FACE
Wowed by her resolve, I had a gap yet to fill: How, exactly, did she get to Covet Fashion?
In the world of makeup, it’s all about who you know and remaining fresh in their minds so they think of you when that next project arises…Then it’s about always finding a way to say yes to that project. As soon as you start saying no, people stop calling very quickly.
So who did she know in connection to Covet Fashion?
“Well,” she said, “My husband… I never imagined my husband working on a project that would get me excited in girly ways. His forte is nerd-game design and he’s awesome at it.
“I first heard about the game from him before it was called Covet Fashion, back when it was just a brilliant game idea in its infancy; and, the potential of such a game immediately grabbed my attention.
“I instantly imagined all these awesome ways to do the makeup that would completely fulfill girlish desires, like being able to break it down in the most customizable ways. (Wouldn’t that have been awesome?)
“And when he mentioned one day that they were going to hire a bunch of contractors to start getting the clothing drawn, I thought, “I could do that.” I’d used photoshop for years editing my professional photography. I was even hired to edit other’s photography; and although editing photos is different than painting in photoshop, I knew I could do it.
“My husband was a little hesitant putting my name forward initially because of the situation with our children, and how difficult it had become in recent years to be one hundred percent reliable or make plans in advance because they do often fall sick at the most inconvenient times.
“But I bargained. I said, ‘At least put my name forward to do an art test and we can take it from there. They may not even want me.’
“He reluctantly agreed and I did the art test—which was a learning curve, but I learned the technique quickly—and soon the company called and offered me a three month contract. Before I said yes, I let them know that there may be times when I needed to work from home or the hospital because of the kids; but that I was a hard worker, I learn quickly, I have a good eye and will always get the job done.
“They took a chance on me which soon evolved into me designing the hair and makeup because of my experience in that arena.
“Unfortunately, my husband was right, because by the end of my third contract renewal, I was burnt out from juggling it all. I did not yet know how to get a good balance, which is something you must learn when working from home otherwise it can feel very quickly like your whole life is work deadlines, office politics and nothing else. So I left the game. It’s around this time that you see the hair and makeup art changing in the game with other artists taking over – that was hard for me to see because I was such an eye-twitching perfectionist. I tell you, it was so hard to let go, but I had to do it.
“But now, after a year of rest and many lessons learned, I’m back and better at balancing my work schedule, and I couldn’t be happier.”
As a player, I’ll speak for us collectively and say, “Neither could we! We love our new and improved hair and makeup; but, more so, we love you, Jasmine.”
Please join us for
Beautiful Spirit, Beautiful Face
Part II & III
We’ll learn about her dual roles within Covet Fashion—as a contractor and, subsequently, as an avid player!