I might not have a mansion on the coast of Newport overlooking the ocean, nor do I have a Pulitzer prize or have my work grace the cover of vogue (yet) but to some my story seems like a local success. I was born in Escuintla, Guatemala, the dirt poor part and even saying it was ‘dirt poor’ may be an overstatement. Nonetheless, Guatemala is where my journey started. Soon, after I was born, my birth mother relinquished me and I was adopted and brought to the USA by a kind-hearted couple living in Warwick, RI. Growing up, I found a love for painting, drawing, and anything to do with ‘Art’.
As a little girl, I would hear ‘your so creative and talented’ or ‘your such a great artist’ which the more I heard it the less it meant to me. ‘Art’ was never presented to me as something I could grow up and pursue as a career. Having my art work picked to represent the local elementary school was no big deal compared to getting a 100% on a spelling test. In my young mind, it was no big feat to be ‘talented’ as an artist, so I had to find something else I was ‘good’ at, but, that’s only because of what outside influences bestowed upon me. As for influences or mentors, I did not have anyone, the only successful artists that I heard of were Picasso and Monet. I did not appreciate or relate to either of their styles so I came to a dead end as far as looking up to anybody for inspiration. As I grew into my teens, I discovered an artistry that I never knew existed; makeup artistry! I became obsessed with all things makeup artistry related and started to dream of becoming a famous makeup artist living in New York city.
At the end of high school, I was convinced by a lot of factors that my dream could never happen and it faded into the background and shifted to attending college and someday working in corporate America as some executive or manager. I don’t regret getting my Bachelors of Science nor do I regret the professional office experiences I have received working for major companies, but at the end of the day, it did not matter, because I ended right back where I left my dream as a little girl, as an artist, a creative, a professional makeup artist. I do not have any set days off, but I do make spending time with my family a priority. Otherwise, you will find me spending all of my free-time immersed in the presence of makeup, applying makeup to clients or at photoshoots collaborating with other local artists for magazine submissions. It’s true when they say, “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life’ because I could get up at 3 am every day and go to bed at 11 pm and do it all over again the next week with no complaints! I love my craft but all of it would not have been made possible without the immense support from my husband, without his encouragement I would still be miserable at a desk in an office. Fast forward to today, here I am, a passionate and self-taught professional makeup artist specializing in bridal, production, boudoir, and creative editorial makeup and I LOVE it!
*This was an exert taken from my interview with Boston Voyager magazine, full interview here: http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/life-work-jenna-mcelroy/
Awards and honorable mentions
*Award winning of 'Best of the Knot 2018' and 'best of the knot 2019' hair and makeup in Rhode Island.
*As seen in Boston Voyager Magazine!
* Makeup Artist for The Amme Collection runway show at the Society Fashion week during New York Fashion week September 2018, NYC, NY.
*Hair and makeup for Sam Adams summer campaign shoot
*Featured makeup artist vendor in 'Newport Weddings' magazine
Jenna attended the 2 day Yvonne Macinnis Creative Bootcamp in NYC, NY. This advanced bootcamp was designed for professional makeup artists looking to further their training and technique in runway/fashion makeup. This 2 day intense workshop was hosted at Makeup Forever Academy in New York, NY.