Since graduating from the Makeup Artistry Program in 2006 & the Hair Art Design Program in 2010, Katie Sullivan has been an instructor for the school, has worked with over 50 stylists and has done various local, national and international collaborations throughout the years. Katie is an incredibly accomplished makeup artist and we are so proud of how far she has come. Today we have had the pleasure to interview her and ask about her experience in the industry, as well as her most recent success of being a Semi-Finalist for the Makeup category for Contessa 2020. 


Katie Sullivan

Photography by Denis Duquette

Where were you born and raised? 

I was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and I’ve loved art and fashion for as long as I can remember. It was that passion that drew me to Vancouver to pursue a career in Cosmetology in 2005. I had spent the summer prior to moving to Vancouver in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on a 12-week summer camp job teaching kids ages 6-16 basic art (and crafts). Prior to leaving Newfoundland I had started the process of looking into reputable Makeup/ Hair/ Fashion schools out west and decided one evening while perched up in a tiny cabin in the woods that I would apply to JCI.  I packed up my things at the end of the 12 weeks and left-right from Massachusetts to fly to BC with nothing more than 2 pieces of hot pink luggage and a very ambitious dream. I think it’s important to note that this wasn’t the very best idea in hindsight… I didn’t even have an apartment and stayed at a hostel across from the school for a week. NOT fabulous but definitely a hilarious memory.

What inspired you to pursue a career in Makeup? Was it something you always wanted to do?

If you were to ask my friends in elementary school and Junior high (I won’t say how long ago) they would confirm that makeup has always been a passion of mine as they often lent their faces to many “creative” looks. I would say I was WAY ahead of my time! In general, art has always been my passion. All forms of art, not necessarily just makeup. I took advanced placement art courses in high school and they built a really strong foundation for understanding the fundamentals of creating great artwork. However, I wouldn’t say I was passionate about paint and paper. I knew I wanted to enter into a career that allowed me to be true to my creative self and naturally, makeup allowed me to be a little more expressive and working with people vs canvas was a much enticing notion.

Makeup Katie Sullivan

Makeup: Katie Sullivan, Hair: Ali Pike, Atlantic Hairstylist of the year Contessa 2019, Photography: Denis Duquette

What was your experience with JCI Institute? 

JCI is a family. The mentoring, training and every experience shaped who I am as an artist today. JCI is so much more than a school. Every single person is truly invested in your success and development and every teacher is a master in their field, actively working in the industry. When I was first starting out I remember looking at some of my instructors and thinking “I’m never going to get to this place or get these opportunities” but with their support and reach it wasn’t long before I was taking jobs on myself and even being offered work through the sch