Creativity has been a driving force in Courtnee Coolidge’s career trajectory, and this past April, it’s what earned her top honours in the Best of the Prairies fantasy makeup competition.
“It was a little bit shocking to win,” says Coolidge, Class of 2016 and 2018. “The picture I ended up submitting was actually just my practice run. I just thought I would try it out and see how it went and it ended up taking so much longer than I thought it would, but it turned out pretty well.”
The competition is usually done in person and includes aspects of both fantasy hair and makeup, but this year, organizers were forced to look for digital alternatives because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They turned to an online format, limiting entries to just makeup, inviting both professional and amateur makeup artists to participate, using themselves as models. Photos were posted on Facebook and the public was invited to vote for the top five. The winner was selected from the five finalists.
Coolidge hadn’t heard of the competition before and her mother encouraged her to participate after seeing it on Facebook.
“I’m a little bit upset,” Coolidge confesses. “I wish I would have known about the competition before because I definitely would have liked to have participated in it in person. Hopefully I get the chance.”
Her look this year was inspired both by online research and by the limited resources she had at her disposal. Coolidge had just returned home to Lashburn, Sask., after graduating from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of education, and most of her makeup was still in Edmonton waiting for transport.
“I didn’t have a lot to work with,” she explains. “I had to go with the colour palette I had with me here, which was different shades of blue. It was my biggest hurdle but also my biggest inspiration.”
Coolidge discovered her passion for makeup artistry while taking the esthetician program
at Lakeland College.
“I didn’t realize how passionate I was about makeup until I took the esthetician program,” she says. “I’m a pretty creative person and I’ve always liked to paint and draw. I just saw makeup as another part of that and I really started loving it. Our instructor brought in so many different makeup artist guests in class who really inspired me. We had a fantasy makeup competition in class and I won, that was the first time I thought it could be something I was good at. It really helped my creativity take off.”
After she completed the esthetician program, Coolidge returned to Lakeland to take the university transfer
program before transferring to the University of Alberta to finish an elementary education degree. She is looking for a teaching position in the region, where she hopes to combine her creativity with her love of working with children. She intends to continue her work at Vivid Spa in Lloydminster while teaching, as well as working as a freelance makeup artist where she does grad and wedding sessions and, her personal favourite, special effects Halloween makeup.
“I really love art,” Coolidge says. “And I’m still really passionate about esthetics and not ready to fully give it up yet.”
Photo: Courtnee' wearing her winning makeup look that won top honours at Best of the Prairies.