The End of an Era: Montclair State’s Makeup Artistry Certificate Program To Be Canceled

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Published November 2, 2021
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The Montclarion
Montclair State graduate Danielle Vocaturo says the program taught her how to interact with clients. Photo courtesy of Danielle Vocaturo

After several years and different teaching styles, the Makeup Artistry Certificate Program is being canceled.

The Makeup Artistry Certificate Program at Montclair State University was a small program with less than 200 students. Many didn’t know about it until they went looking for it or unless they knew someone who was already in it.

The program consisted of a few classes, and of those few, the core classes were taught mostly by the same professor, Tia Hebron. She was an original contributor to the program’s ideation, content development and course design as well as has experience in the field as a freelance makeup artist. She says that during her six-year tenure at Montclair State, she has had the opportunity to inspire both artistry and business in the cosmetic industry.

“While I am saddened by this incredible program coming to an end, I share more thoughts of pride and joy because of my students,” Hebron said. “They have moved on having gained new expertise, confidence and success.”

The university program was originally run and hosted at the Bobbi Brown cosmetic store in Downtown Montclair, but when that closed in 2019, the program shifted gears. Instead of being taught exclusively with Bobbi Brown cosmetics, it was then taught with any and all makeup products.

As for the program’s original goal, Hebron says it was more than just makeup.

“The program found its roots at the Bobbi Brown store in Montclair with the goal of promoting creatives from all walks of life to not only be exceptional makeup artists, but to transcend their craft and become cultural historians, business executives and social entrepreneurs in a flourishing industry,” Hebron said.

The Makeup Artistry Certificate Program consisted of only six courses. They focused on skincare, application and diversity — as it relates to working on different types of people. In classes held before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, students worked on models or brought in friends to learn how to use products on older skin, paler or darker skin and oily or dry skin. Other classes taught stage makeup, cultural differences in appearance and different application types of makeup.

The program is shutting down due to the program director, Debra Otte, retiring and there being no one left to continue the program. The program was also part of the theatre and fashion departments. Although it wasn’t associated with a cosmetology school, it was meant to give the same accreditation. Upon finishing the program, Montclair State students would receive a makeup artistry certification.

Many students shared great memories of the program and are sad to see it go. Dena Montez, a senior communication studies major, is one who was deeply impacted by the program. She said the makeup program was a huge drawing point as to why she came to Montclair State. She liked that she could work on both makeup and her major at the same time.

Senior communication studies major Dena Montez was deeply impacted by the program. Photo courtesy of Dena Montez

Senior communication studies major Dena Montez was deeply impacted by the program.
Photo courtesy of Dena Montez

Though the program is coming to an end, Montez appreciates what she was able to learn from the experience.

“Overall, the program has taught me how to carry myself as a professional makeup artist,” Montez said. “I have gained friends and mentors from this program.”

Dena Montez having fun with grayscale makeup. Photo courtesy of Dena Montez

Montez having fun with grayscale makeup.
Photo courtesy of Dena Montez

Danielle Vocaturo graduated last spring with a bachelor’s in public relations but was one of the last few to remember both styles of teaching in the Bobbi Brown studio and on campus.

Vocaturo has used the skills in her life outside of school now that she has graduated. She currently works at a salon and also does some freelance makeup on the side.

“Most importantly, [the program] taught me key elements on how to interact with clients on a more professional scale,” Vocaturo said. “Before taking classes in the makeup program, I was freelancing and doing family and friends, which didn’t necessarily require me to speak or act very professionally. This program taught me the proper etiquette when taking new clients.”

Vocaturo showing off an '80s inspired look. Photo courtesy of Danielle Vocaturo

Vocaturo shows off an ’80s inspired look.
Photo courtesy of Danielle Vocaturo

Programs like this help students improve upon their other interests rather than just academics. The ending of the Makeup Artistry Certificate Program at Montclair State is certainly upsetting, but will not put an end to the creativity of Montclair State students.

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