Day 140 - Jason (1st person I approached)
May 20, 2014 - Jason was coming out of a local beauty school pulling a telltale suitcase behind him. He agreed to speak with me and we made our way to an outdoor table and sat down to chat.
Jason was born in Calgary, Alberta but grew up in the small town, Olds, which is north of Calgary. He has three sisters, one older and two younger.
“We moved around a fair bit. Not for any particular reason, we just did. A few years in one house and then we’d move again. I went to a few different schools, but we always lived in Olds,” said Jason.
“In high school I felt like a bit of an outsider. I didn’t try to fit in or be one of the popular kids. I had a small group of friends and kept to myself,” he said.
“Looking back though, I’m glad I grew up in a small town. I appreciate that it wasn’t big city life and I think my experience was better, small town living compared to growing up in a big city.” While in school, Jason also worked part time jobs.
“I worked in a few different places. I had a job at a hay processing plant where they would dry hay, and then bale it for shipping to other destinations. After I graduated from school, I continued working odd jobs,” said Jason.
When he was 19 years old, Jason got a job as a bartender.
“I worked in a pub style bar that was a night club on weekends. I made good money and enjoyed doing that. I stayed working there in Olds, for almost eleven years,” he said.
“Then I started to think it was time to do something with my life. To get a job that I could grow with. Having three sisters, I had always been aware of make-up. I also enjoyed Halloween and costume makeup. I decided to move to Vancouver and go to school. I applied to a local make-up school. I want to be a special effects makeup artist in film and television.”
Jason had applied some five years ago and got accepted. He came to Vancouver but soon realized that living on the west coast was more expensive than he had thought.
“I lived in Langley for a while and tried to make things work, but in reality, I just couldn’t afford it. I went back to Olds and started working again. Once I had enough money saved, I applied and got accepted again to makeup school. This time I have the funds to support myself while I complete the year long course. I worked hard and saved and now I’m in school full time,” said Jason.
“I really like Vancouver, but it’s still really expensive. And the taxes - 12% here in BC (British Columbia) whereas we only pay 5% in Alberta. But the weather is better and it’s so beautiful here.”
Jason had originally intended to stay in Vancouver after completing his course.
“I’m not sure now. I might head back to Alberta and try to get work . There is a thriving film industry in Calgary now too. I still have all summer to go, and I’m starting to network here, so we’ll see,” said Jason. I asked him how it felt to be one of only a few men in a school where students are for the most part, predominantly women.
“There are definitely very successful men in the special effects makeup industry in film and television. But yeah, there aren’t that many in my class. And certainly even fewer that like me, are straight. I’m really enjoying the class, and I’m learning a lot.” #notastranger