Rockstar of the Month: Angie Mehlhorn of Angie Mehlhorn Hair and Makeup Artistry

(Image credit: Viva Portraits)

(Image credit: Viva Portraits)

Have you ever wondered what determination and dreaming can do for your business and life? If you're anything like this month's featured #rockstar, Angie Mehlhorn, it can make the difference between slogging through your life and thriving.

Angie's passion, drive, and artistry are evident in everything she does. From her hair and makeup designs to the classes she teaches, and the way she is constantly looking to better herself and her craft. 

We hope you enjoy getting to know Angie as much as we have. And if you'd like to connect with her on the regular, you may want to consider joining the Rock It! Community. #justsaying

(Image credit: Pamela Lyn Photography)

(Image credit: Pamela Lyn Photography)

Name: Angie Mehlhorn
Business: Angie Mehlhorn Hair and Makeup Artistry
Job title: Owner/ lead artist 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business: 

My favorite part about running my own business and doing hair and makeup is having the opportunity to do something new every single day. On Monday, I may be on set keeping men from sweating and their hair in place. Tuesday, I may have a senior shoot or a maternity session to help prep for. Wednesday, I could be coloring and cutting hair pieces. And the weekends are mainly dedicated to my brides.

I love the diversity of my work, and the ability to not just commit myself to one aspect of the art.

I am a painter at heart and its not so much the beauty aspect but the textures, the colors, the uniqueness of every face that keeps me on my toes and wanting to work everyday. 

Did you always know that you wanted to be in the beauty industry, or was it something you just stepped into? 

I've known what I wanted to do from an extremely young age. If not specifically hair and makeup, I knew I wanted to make woman look and feel beautiful in an artistic way. I begged my mom to get me a Vogue subscription at the age of 6, and have read every issue cover to cover since. 

When I was old enough to attend vocational school for hair, I was all in. My parent, however, not so much. Like most parents, they thought there wasn't much money behind doing hair and were worried about my future. 

We made a deal when I was 14, I would get my work permit and work for the summer in a hair salon. I did everything from washing hair, cleaning tanning beds, and would occasionally get to watch these magical, beautiful, powerful creatures we call hairdressers work. Not only that, but I realized something powerful: women, when walking out of the salon, instantly felt better about themselves. 

I knew right then and there the job was for me. 

I attended Parkway West Vocational school from 2005-2007.

What are some of the things you've leaned — about yourself and running a business — over the course of your career? 

I started as an artist. I never expected to become a business owner, nor did I ever dream I would become my own boss. I started realizing it was becoming harder and harder to work for people for no other reason than the restrictions. I hated hearing you can only do this, or wear this, you have to apply the foundation this way. What some people forget is makeup and hair is truly an art form and I plan on using my art to its full potential.

(Image credit: Tom M. Johnson for Pittsburgh Magazine)

(Image credit: Tom M. Johnson for Pittsburgh Magazine)

Learning to run a business is new to me. I am completely self-taught, so there have definitely been some bumps in the road, but I have learned its just as important to focus on running your business, marketing, and social networking. Those things can be just as important as being the best artist you can be.

Can you share a bit about adversity and some of the challenges you've come up against in business?

There have been a lot of struggles in my life and business. I am a single mother of two, business owner, and have suffered in the past from drug addiction and depression. I remember there was a time in my life when I felt so horrible about myself that just making someone else feel good, even if it is how the look made me feel better and in terms made me a happier person.

When I started my business I was a 22 year old single mom with not a penny to start the business, just a dream. I was working in a salon and just in a rut, I could feel my creativity and potential not being used to its full potential. So I took a leap. I left the salon and worked midnight shift for four years as a waitress, interned and assisted makeup artists during the day, and raised my children.

Last year was another big leap I left my full time job waitressing and put all of my efforts into my business. Again I had no nest fund or anything like that, I did not have a partner or anyone to rely on if this failed. I had a dream, a lot of hard work, and most importantly a lot of guts. Currently I have a makeup studio located in Neville Island, we booked 38 brides this year and I have worked with multiple photographers, production companies etc. Its really surreal. 

(Image Credit: Amber Marie Photography)

(Image Credit: Amber Marie Photography)

It seems as though education and mentorship are driving forces for you. What mentors and/or teachers did you have in your life that have had a major impact?

I'm a huge believer that only through on going education can we truly grow. Whether I'm reading a business book, taking a special effects makeup class, a social media class, or watching a hair video I make sure that at least twice a week I am continuing my education in some form. 

Without my mentors I would not be where I am today. I have so many its really hard to list everyone, but I can say that I think its super important to have more then one mentor in all aspects of your life. I have mom friends who mentor me in mothering, business mentors, hair and makeup mentors, and spiritual mentors. You really need someone to go to through triumphs and failings and I try to build a solid network for that. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 10-15 years? 

As you may have noticed I am a big dreamer. I'm not afraid to write down big goals and dreams. I truly believe anything is possible through hard work, passion, and ambition. In the next 10-15 years I want to own a studio, as well as a full service salon. I want to be in the film union, and just be the best hair and makeup artist I can be. 

Any advice or words of wisdom you would give to others just starting out? 

Have guts. When you venture out on your own in business, it's super exciting and for those first few months or so you can live off the excitement. However, a few months in you may look at the numbers and think ugh, whats going on?!

Do not give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Every once in a while well need to take a step back as well, for your family, for yourself, or for personal reasons. Don't let this discourage you. Some of the greatest business owners took years and years to get where they are. 

Last but not least, my favorite saying (which may make some of you cringe), is to say yes to every opportunity. Say yes. Even if your not sure you will be able to afford it. Even if it sounds risky. Say yes to the opportunities and if you work hard. You will find a way.