Alexis may ride into work on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know beauty. On the contrary, she’s a trained makeup artist who has been honing her craft for over 10 years. “It’s one of the things that most surprises people about me,” she admits. “I get off my bike, take off my boots —and put my heels on.”
Alexis has always been a bit of an anomaly. As a former team captain for sports such as volleyball and soccer, as well as someone who excelled at track and field, she never tried to downplay her love of makeup. “I’d be on the soccer field and I’d still have my lip gloss on,” she recalls.
But as much as she loves everything related to beauty, Alexis never thought about a career in the field until a chance meeting. During high school, she worked part-time at kiosks in SickKids Hospital and Toronto General Hospital, and she decided to offer mini makeovers to those who were interested. It was then that she met a makeup artist who worked on movie sets; she told Alexis she had a knack for it. “Within three months of doing her makeup, I was enrolled at Complections International [in Toronto], where I went to beauty school.”
When plans to do makeup in the movie business didn’t pan out, Alexis started freelancing and eventually found herself as a — newly minted — cosmetics manager at Shoppers Drug Mart. That was just four years ago.
Since her early days with the company, Alexis says she’s grown both personally and professionally. “I do a lot of makeovers at this location because of my makeup-artist background and a lot of the people who come in love it,” she says. “I know a lot of my customers by first name, and they’ll call up whenever they have a special event to go to and I take care of them.”
Customers don’t just stop in for Alexis’ beauty skills—they also appreciate her modest approach. “Sometimes it can be intimidating to get a makeover, so you have to break down the barriers. Everyone who walks into the store— male or female, young or old — is welcomed with a huge smile. We’re never aggressive or on anyone’s heels.”
Impromptu lessons in skincare have also helped Alexis win customers over. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that skin care isn’t necessary. Often when people come in saying they’re looking for foundation or to make their cheekbones stand out more, it’s more about their skin than makeup,” she says, pointing out that a bit of exfoliation and toning can make all the difference.
Whether she’s offering up makeovers on the sales floor or maneuvering her staff’s schedules, Alexis feels in her element. When asked what she thinks the future holds for her, she says she’s sure about two things: makeup and customers. “That’s what makes my day so rewarding.”