Mandy’s about making movies
Mandy Cummins wears the labels mum, musician, make-up artist, and wife proudly.
Mandy has always had a love of arts being a visual artist (“I draw and paint”) and has now branched out into making her love of colours a career – as a make-up artist. She said make-up for her was another form of paint as she would watch her mother “dolling up” when she was a girl.
She started to practice at age 18 when her girlfriends asked for her help on their nights out.
Mandy was born in Denver, Colorado, to Patrick Hoyos and Ruth King and came to Barbados when she was three.
A past student of Harrison College, she nurtured her love of music there, having been around a dad who was in a band, and after hearing a lot of classic rock and pop, folk and Broadway music.
“I’ve been singing since I could talk, I think,” she said. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing. My dad played guitar and I grew up singing with him. He taught me to harmonise. At HC I was in the gospel choir which fuelled my love for harmony and singing even more. I took piano lessons for two years with Janice Millington, who was also instrumental in my live for music.
“When I met my husband (Alex Cummins) nine years ago he began to teach me to play the guitar. My dad had tried but wasn’t a very good teacher though he plays very well,” she said laughing.
But Mandy doesn’t consider music to be her main career.
“That said, I always knew it would figure heavily throughout my entire life. It’s is something I love and am good at, I truly enjoy singing but I like doing music at my own pace and on my own terms. Make-up on the other hand, I can do no matter who’s calling the shots . . . . I’m pickier when it comes to music.
“Don’t get me wrong, I take great pride in my make-up skills and I do my absolute best in any given situation . . . but there are certain genres and types of music that I just don’t like performing. Therefore I chose make-up as my steady profession and music is something I do, like I said, on my own terms.”
Mandy also has skills in songwriting, something that was put on hold after having her daughter and while she was working as acting cultural officer for literary arts at the National Cultural Foundation.
“I draw inspiration for the human experience . . . . My favourite part of the process is when I get a few verses and a chorus down and it starts to take shape rather than just being jumbled words all over my notebook . . . . I like to take my time with songwriting.”
Mandy has performed at private gigs and on the Honey Jazz stage. She and husband Alex have also played together in a group called Garage Band.
Juggling a hectic schedule is “definitely a challenge,” she said.
“Children and family demand your time and so does being an entrepreneur. I get less sleep than most would think is normal. But I’m not afraid of hard work. I organise my time and prioritise. I’ve also learned that when it comes to spending time with my family quality is more important than quantity. So even if it’s just an hour, I try to find an hour where I put the cell phones away, shut the computer down, and give my daughter and my husband my undivided attention.”
Mandy has put her pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at UWI Cave Hill on hold, as she tries to get her business established.
The completely self-taught make-up artist’s company About Face has been featured in many local and regional magazines and she sees herself someday creating her own line of make-up. She also plans to attend school to learn special effects make-up.
The good in her pursuits, both music and make-up, far outweighed the bad, she asserted. “My biggest personal challenge has been to accept for myself that what I do and what have chosen as my personal career paths are no less valid than anyone else’s just because I’m in the arts. It’s a hard lesson to learn but one that once it is learnt is invaluable. I value my work and I know my worth as an artist now. I didn’t before.”
Mandy says what she wants at the end of her day is to be “a successful business woman, artist, and the best mother and wife I can be. It’s definitely going to be an ongoing challenge”.
She advises women who want to be entrepreneurs to “have a vision for what you want your business to be and the standards you want to hold it to. Be patient and diligent. Don’t take no for an answer. Always be willing to learn”.
Is there anything you would do differently if you had a chance, she was asked.
“I would have educated myself about business earlier. Yes, it’s nice to have the set salary but I found that life stifling and I always ended up coming back to make-up and having to start again almost from scratch. I would have stuck with it. But all in all I’m glad even for the bad times and the challenges because they made me as fearless as I am today and much wiser.”