Paramita Academy of Make-up goes global
The New Creative
by Cassandra Bernard
In a world full of YouTube tutorials there is no shortage of beauty trends going viral, but Jessica Simmonds, owner of Paramita Academy of Make-up has expanded her business across the globe. Simmonds became a professional makeup artist fifteen years ago when she opened Paramita, the first and only makeup school in Prince Edward Island.
Inspired by Kevyn Aucoin, one of Hollywood’s first make-up artists, she had studied at Delamar Academy of Makeup in London, England, when she was 19 years old. “He had this book with all celebrities. He passed away, but because of him I became a makeup artist,” she says. She returned to the Island and started to get high-profile clients right away. “I did some work for Chef Michael Smith for the Food Network and Peter Mansbridge,” Simmonds says. She has also done work for stars such as Ellen Page, and most recently Tourism PEI.
After working for a few years, she received a letter from a woman in British Columbia. “Just a mom in BC and her daughter was one of my first students. She wanted her daughter to be a make-up artist, so I started the process of opening up a school,” she explains.
Her first location was at the Atlantic Technology Centre. In 2005, she opened her second location in Toronto. “I had a student ask me why don’t I expand and grow Paramita around the world,” she says. Since then, Paramita has expanded to Dubai, Medicine Hat, Ottawa, Buffalo and Rochester. Each location is managed by successful Paramita graduates. Simmonds now rents space at Holland College where she offers two courses per year and offers private makeup lessons.
Simmonds says her school differs from others out there. “It’s a shorter amount of time because most of the work you’re going to do as a makeup artist is out in the field. It’s not going to be at school doing models faces day after day.”
Paramita teaches different styles of makeup including bridal, fashion and special effects, but as far as trends go, Simmonds says the basics don’t change. “People want to look like they have no makeup on, [when] they have makeup on. They want to be glowing and natural.”
Simmonds has plans to expand even more in places such as India and Egypt, but for now she is thrilled to be back in Prince Edward Island with her children after living in Toronto for 11 years.
In Sanskrit, Paramita means “having reached the goal,” and Simmonds feels she has done just that.