I am a British born Australian Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist, who has been living and working in Sydney for the last 13 years. I very recently moved to Los Angeles (middle of June 2016) to live & work for 3 years.
Extremely experienced and fantastic with clients, my rich experience spans from live and reality television, drama, to print & motion commercial, publicity and editorial.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA ?
I moved to Los Angeles for a number of reasons – expansive opportunities, the amazing energy of the city, I felt the universe was kind of directing me here, to be nearer my family, the climate…but the most compelling driving force was to lift my game, to work among the very best in the industry, to grow and excel and become amongst the very best in the world. LA is such a central hive of creative production, I really feel once you make it big here, the possibilities are endless.
What do you miss most from home?
My family! - it goes without saying, they are always dear to my heart and I try to chat to them at least once a week. I’ve not lived in England for almost 14 years now, so I don’t necessarily ‘miss’ certain things like Heinz Baked Beans, but I have a great fondness and love of the heritage, beautiful green landscape, proximity to Europe… and of course Marks & Spencers and Boots! The exceptional choice and quality of these stores & their home brands (especially relating to skincare and cosmetics) is fantastic and hard to find at such great prices either in Australia & the US.
I also definitely miss the breathtaking beaches and coastlines of Sydney and the incredible coffee so readily available everywhere Down Under. There’s such a fantastic range of fresh produce in Australian supermarkets, I never really bought organic and definitely wasn’t vegetarian – but I buy practically everything organic and vegan here in the US!
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since ? If so why ?
I first came to Los Angeles in August 2004. I only spent around 24 hours here, so I just whizzed quickly around all the real touristy things like the Sunset Strip and Chinese Theatre. It all seemed a bit bling bling, sunny bright Disney Land, but I do remember loving the vibe and energy and wishing I was here for longer.
I’ve been back a number of times since, and of course now I live here. I still feel the same energy and vibrancy, but I think what has pleasantly surprised me the most is the real sense of community here. People often refer to LA as being flakey and full of transparent, vacuous people. One thing living in a number of countries has taught me, is that you get that the world over. It doesn’t matter where you are. I’ve certainly not found that massively here so far, and have felt a real sense of belonging and many generous, open minded, warm hearted people.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus _____ (insert home town here)?
Again, I’ve not lived in the UK for a long time, but the biggest difference is definitely the weather!
Australia is much closer in climate similarities, but the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is coming from a firmly established career and working all the time (all my friends & colleagues called me a massive work a holic), to growing a business from the ground up again, going back to flat sharing from having my own place for many, many years and not having a car after always having a car – thank goodness for Uber! But building a new life in a new country is a little like building a house – you have to work hard, be patient, build the foundations, then stack the bricks, paint the windows, there’s construction delays along the way….haha
Then there’s just the practical stuff that’s different – the banking system, taxation and everyday practicalities like not being able to find your favorite hair brands & products. But this stretches you to go out and learn different ways of doing things and test out new products!
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
Those who know me well know my other obsession, alongside all things makeup & hair, is coffee. The Paramount Coffee Project (PCP) down in Fairfax village has the best coffee, with super nice homemade Almond milk. If coffee isn’t your thing, I recently had a work meeting in this cool hideaway bar/restaurant, Ysabel’s (also on Fairfax). So hard to spot from the outside, but such a great cosy/glam spot to catch up with people.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here ?
Do your research. Talk to people who have done it already. Do a few trips back and forth to see if you like it other than just a holiday, live here for a month or so. Establish what you will need to start your particular career and life in the USA. And really think if you’re prepared to do what it takes. Start building your contacts and networks. Ensure you have enough financial funds – then probably at least triple the amount you think you’ll need.
Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom - what is the best piece of advice you've been given ?
Stay strong & keep going! You have to be on the ground here to really get established, so trips back and forth once you’ve made the final big move aren’t always helpful. Also network, network & network. Accept things will be different and learn to adapt, love the differences, and be flexible to a different culture - as a quote I once read “you have to let go of what was & look at the possibility of what can be”.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you ? Are you working on anything at the moment ? ( insert website/Twitter /blog etc here)
Since arriving I’ve worked on a variety of projects – editorial, e com, music videos, commercial, corporate, red carpet. I’m super excited to have been selected to work on a key makeup & hair styling team for the upcoming SAG Awards at the end of January. I’m always looking for new opportunities, so if you’d like to work with me, you can contact me via Instagram (cat_sherwin), Facebook or through my website www.catsherwin.com.
Also, there are number of articles about me to be found at the following link, if you’d like to dig a little deeper.