Name: Susan “Suze Makeup” Heydt
Book Title: Making Up America: Memoirs of a Celebrity Makeup Artist
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What is your book about? Making Up America is about the humanizing of celebrities through a celebrity makeup artist’s experience amidst all the power and glamour of Washington, D.C. with this town’s power-hungry politicians, Hollywood A-listers, sports heroes, and megawatt musicians.
What inspired you to write your book? Censorship from the First Lady’s press secretary.
Can you describe your writing process? On my days off, after eating breakfast, getting the kids to school and walking the dog, I proceed to my regular writing station at my desk with my laptop in the home office. Most often, I write until lunch. When the words are flowing, I get right back to writing after a quick break until carpool pickup. I never write anywhere else. On the other hand, I’m taking notes anywhere and anytime from other books and articles that I read every day.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today? While going for my PhD in Counseling Psychology at Boston College, a professor suggested that students “do” what we enjoyed as a kid. How did we play? At 12 years old, I was doing makeup. With this revelation, I completed my Masters degree, reunited with my college sweetheart, moved to the Washington, D.C. area, got married, and had kids. Once they were in school, I connected with an agent.
Can you describe a typical day in your life? As an artist, studio owner, wife, and mother, there are no typical days. Part of the fun is going with the flow of what you might be doing the next day or week.
What do you most enjoy about what you do? For me, I receive the most satisfaction connecting with diverse people with an array of interests. When I get a smile or a hug after doing someone’s makeup or grooming, I know I’ve made a difference in how people feel about themselves.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? In terms of writing, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (aka “The Book Doctors”) have been an integral part of my journey. The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is my go-to source. Thank goodness for all their knowledge and experience in the ever-changing world of publishing.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? Although I work in the face of power and glamour, I wasn’t always so confident around people. I was a very shy kid. Once in junior high school, a science teacher misunderstood why I couldn’t pick a lab partner. Because I was too scared to ask the only remaining boys, I just froze. The teacher took me out in the hall and told me that anyone of them would be thrilled to have a cheerleader as their partner. Tears ran down my face as the embarrassment and humiliation rose. Just because I could get up in front of the whole school to cheer on our sports teams did not mean that I was able to pick a partner in the intimacy of the classroom. From then on, I realized people might take my shyness the wrong way and I’d better be open to connecting with others no matter how difficult the task.
What’s next for you? Next up for me is telling my story through historical fiction.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Thank you for letting me share my experience with the Nonfiction Authors Association.