Local makeup artist Victoria McNair is celebrating a big win at the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) Vancouver’s Battle of the Brushes, which took place Oct. 20. McNair – one of eight makeup artists chosen to participate in Battle of the Brushes out of approximately 60 applicants – claimed the top spot in the student competition, along with $3,000. “It was definitely very surprising and very exciting,” she said. “I attended a smaller school in Calgary that doesn’t get much recognition in competitions like these, so it was exciting to go and compete with one of the best schools in Canada and some great schools from around the world, and to be able to show off my talent.” Battle of the Brushes, IMATS competition for students and recent graduates, involves creating a character that fits a chosen theme. McNair said this year’s theme, Victorian Emporium, was meant to have a “Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, steampunk feel.” McNair said she had a month to prepare a costume and character idea. Upon arriving in Vancouver, she was given three previously-unseen prosthetics to be incorporated into her character within a three-hour window. McNair chose to create a steampunk mountaineer character. “He was kind of an older, rich guy,” she said of the character. “He wasn’t too sure what he wanted to do, so he decided to become a high-altitude mountaineer and he modified all his own equipment to be able to climb mountains.” McNair’s father, Bill, served as both model and inspiration for the character. “He used to do quite a bit of mountaineering when he was younger, so we were able to pull on that and bring that into the character,” she said. While the Battle of the Brushes was the biggest stage she’s competed on, McNair is no stranger to success in these types of events. She won first place in two previous competitions hosted by One Beauty Academy in Calgary. “I was teaching myself for quite a while,” she said. “After winning those two competitions, I was awarded a scholarship to the school.” McNair completed her schooling in June. Including her self-taught days, she said, she’s been working with makeup for about five years, and with prosthetics for three years. Her win in Vancouver has elevated her profile, she said. The day after returning home, she began working as a makeup artist on a feature film. She said she is also hopeful that she’s gained exposure by competing in such a high-profile event, which was judged by many industry notables – including Ve Neill, a former judge on the Syfy competition Face Off. “It kind of brings me into the eyesight of the industry in Vancouver, and these people from places like Los Angeles and these bigger places,” McNair said. She plans to continue competing and has applied for events at IMATS Los Angeles and New York, which are slated for January and April 2019, respectively. McNair said she is already generating ideas for those competitions, but since the themes have not yet been released, nothing is set in stone.