With a blush brush in hand, lively chatter on her lips and a professional lamp illuminating her work, CSB sophomore Rachel VonBank is helping on-campus women enhance their natural and inner beauty with the help of a little makeup and a lot of passion.
Stepping into Vonbank’s dorm room is like stepping into a studio fit for a professional makeup artist. Trays of colorful, shimmery eye shadows cover the desk. Dozens of brushes sit ready to serve. Dozens of lipsticks and tubes of mascara are divided in a large plastic organizer. Moisturizers and disinfectant solutions line the side table.
What may be considered a quick part of many women’s morning routine is a career path for VonBank. With experience ranging in fashion to theater, a personal YouTube channel featuring videos with over 7,900 views and recent recognition as the grand prize winner in a Facebook contest searching for talented makeup artistry, VonBank is on the road to a very successful career as a makeup artist.
VonBank began experimenting with makeup when she was in eighth grade. Her mom began to work as sales representative for Mary Kay cosmetics, which filled the VonBank household with plenty of colorful products to experiment with. Her passion sparked.
“It’s walking art,” VonBank said.
Although her passion for makeup grew in her high school years, when VonBank enrolled at CSB/SJU, she chose to pursue a nursing major. She knew she wanted to help people and make them feel good, and nursing was a way to fulfill that desire. When she noticed her attention in nursing classes wavering because she wanted to get home and watch just one more makeup tutorial video on YouTube, VonBank knew it was time to make a change.
“I feel like I’m helping people in this way too. To have someone look in the mirror and just say ‘Oh my gosh!’ that is the most rewarding thing. I’ve had people cry because they’re so excited which is really cool,” she said.
With a Global Business Leadership major declared, VonBank began to build her image and career as an aspiring makeup artist. She took to a forum where she frequently learned about new techniques or products in the industry: YouTube.
“I’m self-taught. Lots of practice…and not getting homework done because I’m up until 3 a.m. watching YouTube videos,” she said.
The “Rachel VonBank” channel on YouTube features videos created and edited by VonBank, including topics such as “How to Depot MAC Eyeshadows” and “Long Lasting Curls,” total over 7,900 views.
In addition to running a YouTube account and personal website, working towards a degree in Global Business and working in the costume shop of the CSB theater department, VonBank also finds time to build her career with freelance work—around campus, at photo shoots, for senior pictures and big events, such as prom. CSB sophomore Bailey Weirens gave a glowing review on VonBank’s work.
“My makeup for senior prom turned out phenomenal…Rachel is a wonderful makeup artist with a touch of her own personality put into every person she works on. I had endless compliments on my look that day and I owe it all to Rachel,” Weirens said.
VonBank has also taken to using her talent for “walking art” to the stage—using makeup to transform people to entirely new characters. CSB senior Erin Wissler experienced this while working with VonBank on a theater production.
“Rachel did my stage makeup for the performance “The Bad Seed.” This included transforming my 22-year-old self into a 40-something 1950s era housewife. She used old age makeup to add years to my face…the difference was unbelievable…I would absolutely recommend her to anyone looking for a night out or a night in the spotlight,” Wissler said.
VonBank’s talent of transformation was recently recognized as part of a Facebook contest sponsored by J&L Makeup Artistry of Oklahoma.
VonBank submitted a photo of her work on herself during the Halloween season when she transformed her face into a “half skeleton.” Its eerie and striking craftsmanship impressed 328 people enough to “like” her photo (a plurality of 181 votes to second place), a first place ranking and the accompanying prize of a new set of brushes to add to her previous total of 85.
VonBank’s future looks bright, or colorful rather, as she plans to use her degree to continue to freelance and run her own small business. The theme remains constant in her immediate and reaching goals: helping women showcase their inner confidence with a little help from the walking art that is makeup.
“Sometimes people need to see how beautiful they can be on the outside to reflect how beautiful they are on the inside.”