YEDaily: Ally Zwonok

Ally Zwonok is an award-winning make-up artist and President of Alter Ego Cosmetics. Specializing in airbrush make-up and organic spray tans, Ally has acquired an elite following in the Montreal area and has worked with distinguished celebrities including Martin Sheen, Jill Zarin (Real Housewives of New York), Shawn Desman, Nikki Yanofsky, Simple Plan and Jesse Jackson, to name a few…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
I run an elite mobile beauty service that includes airbrush makeup and organic spray tans. We provide the luxury of having the finest beauty service for brides, television projects, fashion and commercial campaigns. 

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I fell in love with makeup artistry as a teen and wondered how I could turn this passion into a career. I decided to enroll in InterDec’s Artistic Makeup program. Shortly after graduating I realized the cosmetic retail business wasn’t for me. My dream wasn’t to be the counter manager, it was to be the best makeup artist in the city. I left retail and started my own freelance business. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I love that I don’t have a routine; I’ll be at a spray tan party Tuesday, filming a commercial on a ranch Wednesday, and Thursday I’m running around backstage for a concert! It’s a crazy schedule and I love it. I get to work with different people and make them feel confident about themselves every single day. 

The most challenging part?
Organizing and managing an erratic work schedule; three weddings in three locations before 3pm can get tricky! 

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
I’d like to have built a strong brand, travel more and have my own TV segments.   

What does success look like to you?
Success to me is surpassing my own goals. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Having my work published for the first time, which was in QUO Magazine, and my first celebrity: Shawn Desman! I’ll also never forget Martin Sheen convincing me that he is the best looking man and there is nothing I can possibly do to make him look better! I then sat him down, powdered him up and filled in his eyebrows! 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Understand that it takes several years and a lot of determination to get to the top. Don’t be afraid to take a risk – I worked for free for a year with a few makeup brushes in hand not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Believe in yourself, wake up saying “I love my job! I love my job!” …and actually mean it! 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Over the years Ally Zwonok makeup has supported many different charities and has donated beauty services for several events: West Island Palliative Care, Sinai Hospital, and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I also work with Free The Children, an extraordinary charity. They host an annual event called ‘WeDay’, which inspires youth to lead in local and global changes. It is so important to let the younger generations know that they are the future and they can change the world. April 29, 2013, National in Ottawa will be my fifth WeDay! 

As of January 2013, we have launched “The Golden Pledge,” which is a promise to quit the use of UV tanning beds and protect the skin you’re in. 1$ of each organic spray tan will be donated to The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation. 

What is Notable to you?
Achieving your dreams by staying true to who you are. 

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, I’m addicted to Instagram! @AllyZwonok.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I used to work as a personal trainer, being physically active has always been important to me. It helps me focus and keeps me energized!