By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Julia Child, Richard Simmons, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulis, Anthony Hopkins, the “Good Morning America” cast and dozens more have had their makeup professionally done by Kathleen Lawrence over the past 20 years.
Growing up in Northborough, Lawrence was encouraged to go to art school. While she did not follow her parents” wishes, while a senior at Framingham State, she took a part-time job at Jordan Marsh in the cosmetics department for the holidays.
While there, she learned so much and actually brought the Revlon counter “back to life,” she said. Not long afterward, she was approached by a team member of Lancôme cosmetics and joined their company. She went on to be the manager of Lancôme and also traveled for Chanel.
“I loved going to the training. It was kind of my own art school,” Lawrence said. “What I loved was that each person that I made up, every face was different. For me, it was kind of my “a-ha” moment. When I saw how good the person felt by the way that they looked, I decided that I wanted to be a professional makeup artist.”
The love of doing makeup led Lawrence to become a licensed aesthetician. She graduated from Catherine Hines Institute in Boston first in her class. A friend employed in the television industry suggested that she do makeup for television.
“I contacted someone my friend knew at a booking agency and she was fabulous, just pure wisdom of how to do makeup for television. She trained me and taught me everything that she knew, although, in the end, we did become competitors,” Lawrence said.
She flourished in the industry and more and more people started requesting her to do their makeup before appearances. Initially, she worked primarily for Channel 5 in Boston (WCVB). While working on a commercial for the National Fire Protection Agency, an “extra” was needed in the background. Lawrence was quickly thrust into that role with a yellow, flame-retardant outfit.
“While we were there, the producer said to me that there was a call requesting someone to go to New York to do the makeup for Good Morning America and travel with the show,” she recalled. “Here I am, in this flame retardant outfit, still thinking this was some
kind of a joke and now the Good Morning America job comes my way. It turned out to be a real job. I left a couple of days later to train in New York.”
She went on the road with Good Morning America's Charlie Gibson to Spain for 10 days in 1992. Her husband, Steve, went along.
She has an album of photos taken with many notable personalities, including Senator Barney Frank, Placido Domingo, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the cast of the Cosby Show, and Cokie Roberts. She has wonderful memories of time spent with each of these celebrities. She even received a presidential pin given to her by George H.W. Bush that she will forever treasure.
“I think what I realized most about this profession is that people who are famous are just regular people,” she said. “I help the men and women look their best in front of the cameras.”
Today, Lawrence does personal makeup for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and other occasions. She recently did a “Behind the Scenes” program at the Westborough Senior Center where she did a makeup demonstration and answered questions.
She can be reached at [email protected].