Sherry Japhet is a skilled makeup artist. Having worked for 20 years in the business, her services are highly sought on television sets and photo shoots. Thus, when one of Japhet’s customers, First Lady Lori Otter, recently asked via a third party if Japhet could apply makeup for an upcoming television appearance, Japhet said she would “be more than happy to do it but [the first lady’s] husband vetoed a bill to make it legal for me or any other makeup artist or stylist to do so.”

For many years, Japhet and other professional makeup artists have offered their services to performers at movie and TV shoots, at beauty pageants and weddings. Politicians have also used makeup artists to look their best in campaign ads and during televised debates. But, late last year, the Idaho State Board of Cosmetology sent out inspectors and began to crack down on the practice of unauthorized makeupery.

State law says such services must be rendered in licensed salons, at a fixed address. Further, to perform services outside of such venues, for pay, would be illegal. A bill to fix the problem and allow unlicensed makeup artists to continue to practice their trade passed the Legislature overwhelmingly — but the bill fell victim to Lori Otter’s husband’s veto stamp. The governor’s veto leaves countless makeup artists in a lurch, unable to legally practice their trade in Idaho.

So Japhet politely turned away the request to perform her services for Mrs. Otter and said if she’s in need of prettification, “she will have to go to a salon or do it herself.”

Japhet and other makeup artists had appealed to the Otters to help them with their plight. The governor was asked to sign the legislation so these successful entrepreneurs could continue to work in the state, as they are allowed to do in other states, without a license and without harassment by the government. Makeup artists also asked for meetings with the governor and were turned down. And, Mrs. Otter was also asked to weigh in, as a past client who has benefited from onsite makeup work, but such requests were met with silence.

In fairness, the governor didn’t necessarily take issue with the vetoed legislation’s licensure exemption for makeup artists. They would have been allowed to remain unlicensed and offer their services at offsite events. Otter objected to several other elements of the bill. But what frustrated the measure’s protagonists was the state’s directed efforts to go after people in a legitimate, successful business and that the Otter administration did nothing to work with lawmakers to solve this problem during the last legislative session, even though opportunities abounded to do so.

Japhet and her fellow artists remain hopeful that the 2018 Legislature will send Otter another bill, one that again exempts her and her colleagues from having to go through a state regulatory scheme in order to practice their trade. In the meantime, Japhet is making sure state officials, who have previously benefited from her services, understand that it’s their own laws that are making it impossible for her to provide the services she once offered. Politicians should live by the same rules as the rest of us, and now they have to.

It’s an inconvenience for Lori Otter to not be able to hire her own makeup artist. However, her inconvenience pales in comparison to the economic damage suffered by makeup artists now enjoined from working in their own profession at the hands of the governor, her husband.

Join the discussion

comments